BGRR Cooling Fans Removed

November 1999

BGRR Cooling Fans Removed

Removal of fan assembly from the Fan House


Planning for decommissioning the Brookhaven Graphite Research Reactor (BGRR) began in 1997. While studies, characterizations, and investigations were taking place several maintenance and general cleanup activities were undertaken.

The BGRR decommissioning project was divided into seven sub-projects as a result of the BGRR Decommissioning Project Removal Action Alternatives Study, January 2000. The sub-projects were:

  • Step 1 Equipment removal and other maintenance activities
  • Step 2 Removal of the Pile Fan sump and associated piping
  • Step 3 Disposition of the above-ground air-cooling ducts
  • Step 4 Disposition of the spent fuel canal, decontamination and disposition of the Canal House
  • Step 5 Final disposition of the Instrument House and associated equipment and the below-ground air-cooling ducts
  • Step 6 Final disposition of the Reactor Building and Reactor
  • Step 7 Soil remediation work

The projects were scheduled beginning with the easiest and moved to the more difficult, and from the items taking the least time to complete to those that would require more time to plan and execute. The cooling fan removal work was completed prior to the finalization of the Removal Action Alternatives Study, however, it was included as part of sub-project Step 1.

Most of the BGRR cleanup projects took place under federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) Removal Actions. These are cleanups where known contamination is dealt with as quickly as possible to remove the potential for it to affect human health or the environment, in the absence of a Record of Decision (ROD). A ROD is a CERCLA decision document that requires more detailed and time-consuming characterization and analysis of contamination sources and possible cleanup options. The BGRR ROD was finalized in 2005.

Description of Removal Action

Dismantlement of the Brookhaven Graphite Research Reactor, which last operated in 1969, began with removal of five large cooling fans located in the Building 704 Fan House in 1999. The fans weighed more than 26,000 pounds each and had been used to pull exhaust air out of the reactor graphite pile. They were packaged and shipped from the Lab as contaminated equipment and disposed of at a permitted waste management facility.

Community Outreach

Removal Actions were "fast track" cleanups where contamination was dealt with as quickly as possible to remove the potential for contamination to affect human or environmental health. While there was no specific formal comment period required, community values and concerns were obtained in roundtable meetings held in 1999 and regular updates were provided at the monthly meetings of BNL's Community Advisory Council which had been formed in 1998 and to DOE's Brookhaven Executive Roundtable. Additional outreach events were held in February 2000 on the over-arching draft document, the Brookhaven Graphite Research Reactor Decommissioning Project Removal Action Alternatives Study, which addressed all the proposed Removal Actions associated with the BGRR. Later, information sessions and public meetings were held on the Proposed Remedial Action Plan and on the Record of Decision.

Documents / Links

BGRR Feasibility Study

BGRR Proposed Remedial Action Plan

BGRR Record of Decision