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UA to offer tours at defunct reactor

by Jaime Adame | January 19, 2017 at 3:15 a.m.

FAYETTEVILLE -- An open house will be held today at a shuttered nuclear reactor test site about 20 miles southwest of Fayetteville.

Public tours will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Southwest Experimental Fast Oxide Reactor, off Arkansas 265 near the Strickler community.

The University of Arkansas took ownership of the site in 1975 and is preparing a major cleanup effort after being awarded a $10.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.

The 20-megawatt reactor stopped operating in the early 1970s, with fuel and sodium removed after the plant was shut down. But a full cleanup of the site has been delayed for years, with UA and state officials citing a lack of funds.

Mike Johnson, UA's associate vice chancellor for facilities, said cleanup work will begin as soon as this month. The goal is to have the site returned to "greenfield" status, he has said, with UA applying for additional federal grant funds to finish the job.

Tours for visitors 18 years and older will last about 15 minutes, Johnson said, and cameras are allowed.

Those attending will be required to sign a liability release and are asked to wear long pants. They must also wear closed-toe shoes. Hardhats will be provided.

Metro on 01/19/2017

Print Headline: UA to offer tours at defunct reactor


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