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STURGIS Update, June 20, 2016

As part of our ongoing communications with the community regarding progress on the STURGIS decommissioning and dismantlement project, we wanted to provide an update regarding progress on site since we resumed work last month. Crews are back to full operations on site and just recently completed the first major lift since last year.

Crews successfully used the crane on site to lift a decommissioned storage tank from the STURGIS (see photos), which was approximately 35-tons. The lift was completed in accordance with all engineering and safety protocols and was executed without incident. The safety of our workers and the community remains the top priority for our team as we rebuild momentum on site.  

As with similar waste shipments, the decommissioned storage tank was properly packaged prior to transportation to the disposal facility. For this particular component, the item was packaged in a liner within the vessel’s containment area and then a final liner was placed around the item as it was loaded onto a flatbed truck for shipment. The item was transported to Waste Control Specialists, the selected disposal facility.  At this time, all waste shipments have been received by the disposal facility without incident.

Now that work is back underway, crews will focus next on dismantling the Reactor Containment Vessel canopy. In order to safely remove this item, it will need to be cut into multiple sections which will be removed one by one and then packaged for future recycling since the canopy contains a considerable amount of lead. This will be our major focus for the next several months.

Environmental monitoring continued throughout the temporary break in on-site work and no evidence of radioactive material or increased radiation exposure from the STURGIS has been documented outside of the reactor containment area to date.

We appreciate the continued support of our local partners and stakeholders as we carry out this project.

Click here for photos from lift.

Click here for an archive of previous stakeholder updates


The STURGIS, a former World War II Liberty Ship, was converted into the first floating nuclear power plant in the 1960s. Before being shutdown in 1976, the STURGIS’ nuclear reactor, MH-1A, was used to generate electricity for military and civilian use in the Panama Canal. It is important to note that the MH-1A reactor has no nuclear fuel or special nuclear material. The reactor was de-fueled, decontaminated for long-term storage, and sealed before being towed to the James River Reserve Fleet at Joint Base Langley Eustis, Virginia; where it was stored and maintained since 1978, except for times of periodic dry dock maintenance.

Historical videos can be found at the following YouTube links:

1) Army Nuclear Power Program: http://youtu.be/HPWDMHH4rY4 

2) STURGIS Dockside Testing Report: http://youtu.be/frtKSiZhP68

3) STURGIS Construction Report: http://youtu.be/i7t_AtWQazM

Contact Information

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Phone: 410-962-2809
E-mail: cenab-cc@usace.army.mil

Or if you have questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to us. 

Project Documents

Fact Sheets and Graphics

In this section you will find several fact sheets, plus informational materials that visually illustrate the project.