CB&I Wins Contract to Decommission Floating Reactor for Army

The Army has selected Chicago Bridge and Iron to decommission the barge-based Sturgis nuclear plant for $35 million.

"This award underscores CB&I's nuclear decommissioning and dismantlement expertise and builds on our history of environmental service for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers," CB&I government solutions group President Chip Ray said in a release Thursday.

Sturgis floating nuclear power plant. Source: Army Corps of EngineersThe MH-1A reactor was among a handful of nuclear plants designed under the Army Reactor Program founded in 1954 primarily to provide power to remote areas. According to the Army Corps of Engineers, the Sturgis plant last operated in 1976. It was deactivated
two years later. Its fuel was returned to the Department of Energy, and its readily removable radioactive material was moved to a disposal site. In September, the barge will be towed from the James River Reserve Fleet in Virginia to Galveston, Texas. Once CB&I removes residual radioactive waste material, the remainder of the barge will be scrapped in Brownsville, Texas. The process is expected to take about four years.

According to Rod Adams' Atomic Insights blog, the Sturgis was built from a modified World War II-era Liberty ship hull. At 10,000 kilowatts, it was the largest of the Army's reactors and provided power to the Panama Canal Zone from 1968 to 1975.

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