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$10M secured to complete dismantling of nuclear reactor test site owned by UA

By Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

This article was published April 4, 2018 at 11:33 a.m.


Visitors and officials from the University of Arkansas and Energy Solutions speak Jan. 19 during a tour of the shuttered SEFOR nuclear facility near Strickler in southern Washington County.

An additional $10 million in funding to clean up a nuclear reactor test site owned by the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville has been secured, two lawmakers and the UA chancellor said Wednesday.

Located about 20 miles southwest of Fayetteville, the Southwest Experimental Fast Oxide Reactor, often referred to as SEFOR, ceased operations in the early 1970s, with UA taking ownership in 1975.

A $10.5 million U.S. Department of Energy grant announced in October 2016 helped jump-start remediation of the site in rural Washington County. Thousands of pounds of low-level radioactive waste have since been trucked away to a specialized disposal facility in Utah.

Work at the site was expected to end in March unless additional funding came through.

UA Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz, U.S. Sen. John Boozman and U.S. Rep. Steve Womack said in the statement that the new funding would be used to "complete the effort to decommission and dismantle SEFOR."

“Completing the cleanup of SEFOR has been a longtime priority for the University of Arkansas, and I’ve worked to support this goal," Boozman said in a statement. "As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I have long advocated for federal funding to decommission SEFOR in a safe and responsible manner. I’m pleased to have helped secure the resources needed to finish the cleanup.”

Read Thursday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.


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