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1950’s era reactor removed from INL research lab

Fluor Idaho crews recently removed a 1950’s era nuclear reactor used to create neutron fields that exposed materials to a radioactive environment.

Environmental Management crews demolished the legacy research reactor at the Idaho National Laboratory. They used innovative tools to break down its 4.5 foot-thick concrete shield.

The Argonne Fast Source Reactor’s operations ended in the early 1980’s. Over the years, construction of new buildings and facilities continued around the reactor.

Since the reactor was located inside the active Electron Microscopy Laboratory, the demolition required precise work to avoid interference without impacting research schedules and other ongoing laboratory operations.

“While the detailed planning and technology contributed to the achievement, the ultimate success can be found in the mutual trust and appreciation between two contractors collaborating to complete a difficult, but ultimately successful operation,” said Jack Zimmerman, manager of the DOE Idaho Operations Office EM program.

The team used a diamond wire saw to remove the structure’s shield, which was not contaminated. Crews sliced the reactor into 56 blocks, each weighing between 3,000 and 5,000 pounds. They were removed from the building with a gantry crane.

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