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Crews from the U.S. Army Corp Engineers perform pre-demolition activities at the Livermore Pool Type Reactor at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
Crews from the U.S. Army Corp Engineers perform pre-demolition activities at the Livermore Pool Type Reactor at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

LIVERMORE, Calif. – Workers have begun activities to prepare for the demolition of a nuclear reactor at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), accomplishing one of EM’s 2020 priorities.

A team from EM, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), and the U.S. Army Corp Engineers (USACE) performed core drilling, surveying, sampling, and a study of potential demolition impacts this month.

“Hitting this significant cleanup milestone took a lot of cooperation between the NNSA, EM, and USACE teams, particularly given the challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic,” EM LLNL Federal Project Director Kevin Bazzell said. “But everyone came together with a commitment to safety, and to ensure we met EM’s commitment to start pre-work for demolition by the end of 2020.”

A view of the Livermore Pool Type Reactor, which was deactivated and decommissioned in 1981.
A view of the Livermore Pool Type Reactor, which was deactivated and decommissioned in 1981.
U.S. Army Corp Engineers crews conduct surveys within Building 280, which houses the Livermore Pool Type Reactor.
U.S. Army Corp Engineers crews conduct surveys within Building 280, which houses the Livermore Pool Type Reactor.
Workers conduct a simulated demolition as part of a study to determine potential impacts from the Livermore Pool Type Reactor demolition scheduled to begin in spring next year.
Workers conduct a simulated demolition as part of a study to determine potential impacts from the Livermore Pool Type Reactor demolition scheduled to begin in spring next year.

The Livermore Pool Type Reactor operated for more than 20 years, supporting radiation research at what was then known as the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory. The reactor was cooled and moderated with light water, and its power came from a uranium chain reaction.

The reactor was defueled and decommissioned in 1981. The remaining reactor vessel sits within a concrete-and-steel shielding structure inside Building 280.

Removal of the reactor from Building 280 is scheduled to begin in spring next year, with completion of the demolition expected in fall 2021.

“We will be removing a significant risk from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory by demolishing the Livermore Pool Type Reactor,” Bazzell said.

Following the demolition, EM will focus on tearing down Building 280 and other high-risk excess facilities at the site.

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