BGRR Decommissioning Continues

October 2010

BGRR Decommissioning Continues

Following completion of the removal of the Brookhaven Graphite Research Reactor graphite pile, preparations to remove the bioshield began. The 4,760-ton bioshield was designed to protect personnel from radiation emitted from the graphite pile. Constructed of concrete and steel, it is 55 feet long, 37 feet wide, and 33 feet deep. BNL will use $39 million in American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) funding to decommission the BGRR.

Robotic and remote technologies were employed to remove the neutron shields located on the north and south sides of the bioshield. The three-inch thick steel shields absorbed neutrons that escaped from the graphite pile and limited its movement during operation. In February 2011, workers concentrated on removing the northern section of the concrete roof and cutting the experimental ports. Work to remove the roof, progressing slower than expected, continued through much of the spring. In late summer, a large New Holland excavator was customized and brought in to increase the bioshield demolition pace.

The bioshield is expected to be dismantled by the end of 2011 with transportation of waste for disposal off-site continuing into 2012.