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Decontamination & Decommissioning
Nuclear Engineering Division at Argonne
Nuclear Engineering is a Division of Argonne National Laboratory (Argonne), a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) laboratory managed by The University of Chicago

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Decommissioning Projects

Chicago Pile-Five (CP-5) Facility

Current status of the project: The project was completed in 2000.

CP-5 Aerial viewThe decontamination and decommissioning (D&D) of the Argonne National Laboratory Chicago Pile-Five (CP-5) Research Reactor Facility was initiated in 1991 and completed in 2000.
The CP-5 Research Reactor Facility was used to perform a variety of Laboratory research experiments, using the reactor as a neutron source. During its lifetime, the reactor was used to irradiate over 27,000 research specimens.

The CP-5 Facility was chosen by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as the best site for a Large Scale Demonstration Project (LSDP) to select the best and most innovative “field test ready” Decommissioning technologies for demonstration in a large-scale demonstration environment. The LSDP was conducted by the Strategic Alliance for Environmental Restoration.

At the conclusion of the Independent Verification Survey (IVS), the CP-5 facility was released as an "Industrial Use Area", indicating that residual elevated activity remains in inaccessible areas. In accessible areas, however, exposure levels are at background; Radiation Work Permits (RWPs), radiation monitors, and other radiological controls are not needed to enter. The CP-5 facility (Building 330) was transferred from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Environmental Management roster to the landlord.

All accessible areas of the CP-5 facility were decontaminated to radiological background levels. The reactor vessel and internals; contaminated piping systems; and miscellaneous tanks, pumps, and associated equipment were decontaminated and/or packaged as radioactive waste. Process equipment and associated plumbing, ductwork, drain lines, etc. were dismantled; the reactor vessel internals were size-reduced in place; the reactor weight plugs and experimental equipment stored in the spent fuel poll were removed; all radioactive waste was packaged, and shipment and disposal properly documented; and a thorough survey of the facility after the removal of activated and contaminated materials were performed. CP-5 major systems removal, e.g.,

  • packaging of experimental components, fuel racks and reactor fuel weight plugs (located in the fuel pool);
  • clean out of the hot cell and storage tubes; and
  • removal of fuel pool, hot cell liner, and reactor internals,

was performed by Argonne Plant Facilities and Services (PFS) Waste Management Operations (WMO) Personnel.
The removal of the bioshield concrete, rod storage tubes, hot cell, High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) ventilation system, fuel pool transfer slot (down to 7 ft), and the final decontamination of remaining equipment, floors, walls, and ceilings were performed by Duke Engineering & Services (DE&S) of Marlborough MA, and its subcontractor, NCS Energy Services (Lombard IL), under the management of Argonne D&D Program personnel.
The final survey was performed by DE&S. The IVS was performed by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (Oak Ridge TN).

The total Project duration was 97 months. Decommissioning activities were initiated in June 1991, and the final report was issued in July 2000. The total exposure to project personnel was 146.3 person-rem, with no individual exceeding the CP-5 Project limit of 1.0 rem. The total cost of the CP-5 D&D Project, including labor, management, and waste disposal, was $29.5M. A total of 2,380,080 lb of radioactive waste, including liners, was packaged for off-site disposal at a low-level radioactive waste repository, with a total activity of 1.31 x 103 Ci. Additionally, 482,464 lb of mixed waste, including liners, with a total activity of 1.65 x 102 Ci, was packaged for disposal. In July 2000, the CP-5 facility was formally decommissioned and transferred to the landlord.

More information

For more information:

  • on the Chicago Pile-Five (CP-5) Decommissioning Project, please contact
  • on the Decommissioning Technologies demoed as a part of the Large Scale Demonstration Project (LSDP), read our Decommissioning Technologies page.
  • Download the poster "CP-5 Large Scale Demonstration Project" [ PDF (116K, 1 page)]

Visit the CP-5 Decommissioning Project Photo Gallery

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Contact person

Chris Grandy
POC for D&D Operations
Dept. Manager, Engineering Development and Applications Dept.
Argonne National Laboratory
Phone: +1 630-252-9135
Fax:   +1 630-252-7577

CP-5 D&D named among the 100 best scientific and technological accomplishements of the DOE during the past century

ARGONNE NATIONAL LABORATORY, Nuclear Engineering Division, Decontamination & Decommissioning
9700 South Cass Ave., Argonne, IL 60439-4814
A U.S. Department of Energy laboratory managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC

Last modified on October 30, 2006 3:55 PM