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Week of September 23, 2013

Regents approve renovation, name change of Ford Nuclear Reactor

As the university completes the last stage of decommissioning the Ford Nuclear Reactor, the Board of Regents Sept. 19 approved the building’s renovation.

The renovation will accommodate the expansion needs of the Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences in the College of Engineering.

The $11.4 million project includes a full renovation of the four-story, approximately 17,4000-square-foot building and construction of new space for mechanical equipment. Infill of open areas will add approximately 5,200 square feet of new space for flexible research laboratories, testing areas, offices and support spaces.

Funding will be provided from College of Engineering resources.

The university currently is engaged in the process to demonstrate the building that once housed the Ford Nuclear Reactor is at or below acceptable radioactivity levels to receive approval from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to occupy the facility for other purposes.

Since the facility no longer houses a nuclear reactor, the Board of Regents also approved the name change from the Ford Nuclear Reactor to the Nuclear Engineering Laboratories.

The Ford Motor Co., which provided the gift for the Ford Nuclear Reactor, also is supportive of the new name.

The university began the planning process necessary to decommission its Ford Nuclear Reactor in 2000. The reactor had been used for research and educational purposes, supporting a range of experiments that required materials to be irradiated.

The architectural firm SmithGroupJJR will design the project. Design work is expected to begin immediately. The construction schedule will be presented to the regents when approval is sought for the schematic design.

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