As a reminder, the SM-1A deactivated nuclear power plant on Fort Greely has been deactivated since the early 1970s. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District - a Regional Radiological Center of Expertise – and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Alaska District are working together closely with Army Garrison Alaska to implement the SM-1A decommissioning and dismantlement.
Completed in 1962, the SM-1A nuclear reactor at Fort Greely was based on the concept of the SM-1 reactor at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, a prototype for stationary medium-power plants (“SM”). The “1A” moniker designates it as the first field plant of its type. It was designed to be used as an “in-service” test facility for this type of equipment in an arctic environment with its primary mission being to supply electrical power and heating steam for the utility systems at Fort Greely. The secondary mission was to study the economics of operating a nuclear-type electrical plant compared to conventional oil-fired systems in a remote area where fuel costs are high and supply lines are unusually long.
The initial dismantlement and decommissioning of the SM-1A was completed in 1972 and involved the removal of a majority of the radioactivity from the site, including the removal of the nuclear fuel and control rods, decontamination work around the facility, radioactive waste removal, entombing and sealing certain reactor components (vapor container, waste tanks, and demineralizer room), which holds the Reactor Pressure Vessel and other reactor components and installing appropriate warning signs and monitoring devices.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers conducts annual environmental monitoring to ensure the site does not pose any hazards to the surrounding installation tenants, the community, or the environment.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is in the early planning stages working to develop the various planning documents for the final decommissioning and dismantling of the facility. The team anticipates awarding a contract for the decommissioning work as early as 2022, meaning decommissioning work on site likely will not begin until 2022 or 2023 at the earliest.
We want to take this opportunity to emphasize that safety is the team’s number one priority for this project. The safety and health of the installation, the local community and our workers are paramount to the success of our project. We will be using proven controls and precautions to address safety and other engineering details during all stages of the decommissioning of the SM-1A.
Just recently, the Baltimore District’s expert team safely completed the decommissioning of another one of the Army’s deactivated nuclear reactors – the MH-1A on the STURGIS barge in Galveston, Texas. We are excited to build on that record of success and safety as planning moves forward for the SM-1A decommissioning and dismantlement.
Additional information on the SM-1A decommissioning and dismantling project is available online at - www.nab.usace.army.mil/Missions/Environmental/SM-1A/
And, as always, feel free to e-mail any questions or concerns you may have to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at CENAB-CC@usace.army.mil.
Click here for a broad overview of the contract acquisition approaches for the decommissioning of both the SM-1A (Fort Greely) and SM-1 (Fort Belvoir, Virginia) reactors (Information in presentation is as of March 2018). All inquiries regarding contracting opportunities should be directed to Maj. Trevor Chambers via email to Trevor.L.Chambers@usace.army.mil.
Click here for the presentation given by the project team at the Fort Greely Restoration Advisory Board meeting on April 25, 2018 that included the reactor history, project status, and next steps.