A series of photos published by the Washingtonian on September 22 capture rarely seen images of Fort Belvoir’s SM-1 reactor, the U.S. Army’s first nuclear reactor and the first facility in the United States to provide nuclear-generated power to the commercial grid for a sustained period. These images may be some of the last photos of SM-1, as crews are set to begin decommissioning and dismantling the nuclear facility early next year.
Located near Alexandria, Va., SM-1 served as the Army’s primary training facility for reactor operations personnel from 1957 to 1973. In August of this year, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded a contract worth about $68 million to the joint venture APTIM AECOM Decommissioning to remove and dispose of SM-1, which was defueled and partially decommissioned after it closed in 1973.
According to the article, some items from SM-1, including a scale diorama of the plant, are set to live on at the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History in Albuquerque, N.M.