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Spent Nuclear Fuel Removed from UB Reactor

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – Eleven years after it ceased operations, the University at Buffalo has safely removed spent nuclear fuel from its research reactor on the South Campus. "The shipment of the fuel was on a need to know basis," Dupre said. "I didn't even know the time of day it was being shipped because I didn't need to."

The South Campus reactor is located within the densely populated University Heights neighborhood. Because of the secrecy, the highly sensitive and potentially dangerous removal was done without any notification to nearby residents. But Dupre said stringent security measures and secrecy are mandated by the federal government to make sure that the radioactive materials don't fall into the wrong hands.

"When the fuel was being removed from the reactor and taken outside for transportation, that was when it was most vulnerable. So, there was a need for secrecy for national security reasons," Dupre explained. "Then, ten days after it was safely delivered to its destination, we were able to make an announcement, which we did."

The reactor was used for 34 years for various university and commercial research applications. Dupre said the final decommissioning of the site will take a few more years to complete.