The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers recently announced plans to tow a World War II-era Liberty ship converted to a barge-mounted nuclear reactor to Galveston from Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia to be scrapped. The barge is expected to arrive at the Malin International Shipyard in mid-December.
Following a comprehensive environmental assessment completed last April, a $34.66 million contract was signed with CB&I (Chicago Bridge and Iron) Federal Services to oversee the process of safely removing the radioactive metal from the ship and placing it in special containers for transfer to a low-level radioactive waste storage facility.
The entire process is expected to less than four years, but the details of the scrapping operation once the USS Sturgis arrives in Galveston have not been finalized, officials said.
“One of the options we are looking at is bringing the STURGIS to Brownsville for ship breaking, after all of the hazardous waste and residual radioactive waste have been removed. The other option we are looking at is removing all of the hazardous waste and residual radioactive waste and selling the STURGIS as is to a company,” Andrea Takash, Corporate Communication Representative for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Baltimore District said via email.
“For the low-level radioactive waste, the two primary disposal sites being considered are Waste Control Specialists in Andrews, Texas and Energy Solutions in Clive, Utah. We are also still pursuing the disposal of waste at the National Nuclear Security Administration in Nevada, which is a Department of Energy site,” Takash wrote.
The USS Sturgis has been in safe-mode storage undergoing detailed quarterly safety inspections for over 35 years, according to a recent environmental report.
Originally outfitted with a nuclear reactor to generate electric power for military and civilian operations in the Panama Canal Zone in the 1960s, the reactor was shut down in 1976 and fuel was removed. In 1978, the ship hull was dry docked, inspected and closed down for long-term storage.
Source: the Pasadena citizen. 20 October 2014http://www.yourhoustonnews.com/pasadena/news/nuclear-reactor-ship-headed-to-galveston-to-be-scrapped/article_767bf978-5125-556c-8a29-037f23161c5e.html