Home > Missions > Environmental > Sturgis

STURGIS Update, September 28, 2018

The STURGIS arrived safely in the Port of Brownsville yesterday at the International Shipbreaking Limited facility where she will be dismantled for recycling. Despite the stormy weather Tuesday, the trip out of Galveston and down to the Port of Brownsville went smoothly and without any incidents. I’ve attached an aerial from her arrival provided by ISL.

STURGIS will undergo additional radiological surveys as part of ISL’s standard operating procedures to reconfirm that all of the radiological contamination has been safely removed, which will likely take a few days.

Once all of the standard procedures for the inspecting the vessel are complete, the shipbreaking will get underway. We anticipate about two months of environmental abatement (removal of asbestos, lead based paint, PCBs, etc), then the ship dismantlement will take another 4-6 months. Based on current estimates, we anticipate that we will be recycling approximately 5,500 tons of steel and other assorted metals from the ship.

We are anticipating completion of shipbreaking work in the Port of Brownsville by May 2019.

As a reminder, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and contractors will remain on site in Galveston for approximately four (4) weeks for site demobilization and final surveys of the facility to ensure no contamination is left on the dock from the project. At this time, the site in Galveston is almost fully demobilized. The radiological surveying of the dock and slip was completed already and results are pending. All of the project fencing has been removed and we anticipate removal of the final project trailers by early next week.

We again want to take this opportunity to thank the local Galveston community and our local partners and stakeholders for their support as we implemented this complex project in Galveston. The local support our team received greatly contributed to the success of this project.

We look forward to continuing to work with our partners in the Port of Brownsville and the surrounding community as we finish the last phase of the STURGIS project, her dismantling and recycling.


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

To sign up to receive email updates, please call or email us:  

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.