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Fort Greely SM-1A Nuclear Reactor


From the information reviewed, ATSDR’s finding includes:

  1. At the time of disposal (1972), the radiological concentrations were below the federal regulatory guidelines. Although there is no current radiological sampling of the recharge well, the underlying aquifer, the Jarvis Creek, or water sampling in the vicinity of the old SM-1A reactor site, there is little likelihood that consumption of water from these sources would comprise a public health hazard because the process of radiological decay has reduced the concentrations well below the current drinking water standards. The drinking water standards are set by the EPA to ensure that anyone drinking 2 liters of water per day (about ½ gallon) would not receive an annual dose equivalent of 4 millirem per year (40 microsieverts per year).

  2. Because no recent validated groundwater or surface water exists, ATSDR is unable to determine if current conditions exist that could impact public health.


  1. Although the levels of radiological contaminants are not thought to be a health problem, and because no adequate sampling has occurred in the past 25 years, ATSDR believes that one round of confirmatory sampling should be performed. This sampling should include the recharge well at the point were it intersects the groundwater and any sludge at the bottom of the well, the aquifer down gradient from the recharge well, groundwater seeps into Jarvis Creek and Jarvis Creek itself. The radiological sampling should include tritium, gross alpha radiation and gross beta radiation using the protocols and methods as outlined in the EPA drinking water regulations (40 CFR 141. [6]) and a complete gamma radiation scan for fission products.

  2. Consideration should be given to determine the existence of any residential wells located down gradient from Ft. Greely and if wells are identified, these wells should be sampled as well.

Paul A. Charp, Ph.D.    
Senior Health Physicist    


  1. Environmental Baseline Survey for Fort Greely (1997?). Prepared by Woodward-Clyde Federal Services for the Army Corps of Engineers.

  2. SM-1A nuclear power plant final decommissioning report (1964). United States Army Engineer Power Group, Fort Belvoir, Virginia, May 1964.

  3. Impact of the SM-1A reactor and decommissioning on ground water. Fort Greely, AK. US Army Corps of Engineers. June 1, 1998.

  4. Facsimile from Mike White, US Army to Paul Charp, ATSDR. Includes comments on original draft from Ft. Greely staff. October 23, 1998.

  5. Final radiological survey of the SM-1A nuclear power plant facility and site (1973). Operations Division. United States Army Engineer Power Group, Fort Belvoir, Virginia. September 1973.

  6. US Environmental Protection Agency. Title 40 Code of Federal Regulations, Chapter 141.

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