After a hiatus due to COVID-19, work has resumed on decommissioning and dismantlement of Fort Belvoir’s SM-1 deactivated nuclear reactor, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Baltimore District. Program Manager Brenda Barber said that USACE plans to conduct additional community outreach efforts and town hall meetings to discuss the work ahead.

“The team will begin the project efforts with four to six months of engineering and work planning. We anticipate crews mobilizing to the site at Fort Belvoir in late fall 2021,” Barber said. “The remainder of 2021 and majority of 2022 will focus on site preparation, and the early stages of decommissioning will begin in 2022 and continue for two to three years. The remainder of the contract will focus on site restoration and final documentation, with an estimated project completion in 2025.”

a scale model of the Fort Belvoir SM-1 nuclear power plant, sitting in under plastic in the reception area in this January photo.
a scale model of the Fort Belvoir SM-1 nuclear power plant, sitting in under plastic in the reception area in this January photo. (Photo Credit: Paul Lara) VIEW ORIGINAL

Barber said the decommissioning contract includes all aspects of the project, including the removal of all reactor components; transportation and disposal of material; site cleanup; and restoration. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers team will work hand in hand with the decommissioning contractor to ensure all aspects of the project are done with safety as the top priority. The USACE team overseeing the SM-1 decommissioning has a proven track record of safely carrying out a broad array of radiological projects around the world. . This includes the complete decommissioning of one of SM-1’s sister reactors - the Army’s deactivated M1-H1 nuclear reactor onboard the STURGIS vessel, which was the world’s first floating nuclear power plant.

Due to restrictions with the pandemic, Barber said the team has limited ability to host site visits, “but there is a virtual tour of the site to allow everyone to see the site firsthand. The virtual video tour is available on YouTube at http://bit.ly/SM-1_VirtualTour.

For more information, email brenda.m.barber@usace.army.mil or call 410-375-4565