The nuclear reactor head, which is the removable cover of the reactor vessel in Unit 2 at the Zion Nuclear Power Plant, was shipped out by heavy truck last week. ZionSolutions, LLC, a subsidiary of EnergySolutions Inc., which is decommissioning the plant, shipped the reactor head to its licensed low-level waste disposal facility in Clive, Utah. The reactor head is very low-level nuclear waste and posed no threat to anyone along the route. The shipment left Zion last Thursday morning, Dec. 1. It was expected to take two weeks to reach Utah, however, Zion Solutions General Manager Patrick Daly said Tuesday, it was expected to reach Utah by Wednesday, Dec. 7. The reactor head drew much attention as it was transported with escorts on area highways. It traveled Sheridan Road into Wisconsin where it traveled on Ilighway 165, negotiating the traffic circles, to Green Bay Road to Highway 50 and finally to 1-90. The reactor head is approximately 17 feet in diameter and weighs 225,000 lbs.

It was placed in a specially designed steel shipping container, approximately 17 feet in diameter and 14 feet in height, and was transported on a superload 18-axle tractor/trailer combination rig with a push tractor to assist in ascending hills. The overweight and oversized shipment is regulated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the U.S. Department
of Transportation. It was fully permitted to meet the requirements of each state along the route to Utah. The transporter is equipped with satellite tracking equipment. Most low-level waste will be shipped by train but the reactor head was too large. “Removing the reactor head and filling the Unit 2 reactor cavity is a significant milestone in the Zion Station’s Restoration Project,” said Patrick Daly, General Manager of ZionSolutions. “Getting to this point has been a year’s effort and is significant given the numerous complex activities that had to be completed.” The reactor cavity was filled with water in preparation for dismantling. All segmentation work must take place under water for safety reasons.