C+S April 2021 Vol. 7 Issue 4 (web)

The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), New York District, contin- ues to demonstrate its unique engineering and construction capabilities in providing tangible, real-world solutions for some of the nation’s toughest challenges. The latest example involves the Brookhaven Na- tional Laboratory. Over the years, the lab has been on a mission to remove old buildings on its property that contain legacy radioactive material that was a result of past work. Many have been removed or decommissioned so far, but one high-profile structure has remained – a tall smokestack. Now it is being safely removed by the New York District, using the latest in demolition technologies. Col. Matthew Luzzatto, Commander of the New York District said, “This project is another example of the exceptional work New York District does on a daily basis. I couldn’t be prouder of our team because they are addressing unique challenges, working closely and transparently with contractors and our partners at the Department of Energy, and ensuring safe and effective execution of the work.” To perform this work, the Army Corps is partnering with Contractor, Olgoonik-FPM Joint Venture and its sub-contractor, ICC Common- wealth, and the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Environ- mental Management, which is responsible for the environmental reme- diation of the High Flux Beam Reactor (HFBR) Stack at Brookhaven National Lab. The lab is in the Town of Brookhaven on eastern Long Island, N. Y., 60 miles east of NewYork City. Since 1947, this multipurpose research institution – known for its seven Nobel Prize-winning discoveries – has performed pioneering research in physical, biological, and environ- mental sciences, as well as in energy technologies, computation, and national security. The Lab’s 5,300-acres of property sits on the former site of the U.S. Army’s Camp Upton. Near the center of the site – standing like a bea- con – is a 320-foot tall, red-and-white concrete stack. The stack marks where the 13-acre High Flux Beam Reactor (HFBR) Complex sits that was used for research purposes up until 1996. The complex includes two research reactors – the HFBR and the Brookhaven Graphite Research Reactor (BGRR). The BGRR was decommissioned and dismantled over a decade ago; the HFBR has been similarly dismantled except for the reactor vessel, which will be removed in the future. These reactors performed outstanding work in their day. The HFBR is known for many accomplishments including being a dependable source of neutrons – the sub-atomic probes crucial to a wide array of USACE fulfills a tall order By JoAnne Castagna, Ed.D.

Col. Matthew Luzzatto, Commander, New York District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Center) reviewing the district’s dismantling of the stack at the Brookhaven National Laboratory. Photo: JoAnne Castagna, Public Affairs.

scientific research programs. It is also known for discovering new uses for radioactive isotopes for treating cancer, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, and other medical conditions. The BGRR had its share of achievements including being the world’s first reactor built solely to perform scientific research on peaceful uses of the atom after World War II. Exhaust air from these reactors was transported by lines and ducts through filters to the stack. The stack stands 320-feet tall and has a tapered cone shape; its interior base diameter is almost 27 feet and the interior top diameter is almost 19 feet. The stack was used to discharge cooling air from the BGRR and later to ventilate equipment and rooms in the HFBR and other support build- ings on the complex. This exhaust included radioactive material. This hazardous material contaminated the interior of the stack, up to three-fourths of an inch in depth. In addition, the red-and-white paint on the stack’s exterior contained asbestos and lead. Removal of the stack is one of the last remaining actions related to the cleanup plan for the complex. USACE offered the Lab and DOE a safe and efficient alternative solution to do this, using the latest demolition technology.



April 2021

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