FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The Fayetteville City Council voted on Tuesday night to accept wastewater from the SEFOR nuclear test reactor site.
In a 5-2 vote, the council entered into an agreement with the University of Arkansas to accept the wastewater into city’s sewer system for treatment.
The U of A owns the Southwest Experimental Fast Oxide Reactor in Washington County. The 20-megawatt nuclear test reactor was built near Strickler in 1968, according to the university.
It was operated from 1969 to 1972. The reactor was shut down and its nuclear fuel removed in 1972, the university said.
The U of A took over the facility in 1975, and used it for “instrument calibration and research” until 1986.
Water with asbestos and small amounts of radioactive material has accumulated in the basement of the facility, and the Arkansas Department of Health said it’s unrestricted for proper release and disposal.
Now the city has agreed to accept and treat the water.
But there are concerns about the long term affects.
Jessie Green is the Executive Director for the White River Water Keepers. She said, “The city of Fayetteville, the wastewater treatment plant was not designed in order to treat Tritium or any kind of radio active waste. So it’s just being discharged through there in order to dilute it.”