Center for Energy and
Long-Term Stewardship Site Highlights
Center for Energy and Environmental Research (page 3)
Major Activities- surveillance; inspections
Site Size -72 hectares (181 acres)
Stat1/End Years- 1970/in perpetuity
Estimated Average Annual Cost FY 2000-2006-$25,000
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Center for Energy and Environmental Research ................................................ 3
National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Long-Term Stewardship Report
Center for Ene1·gy and Environmental Research
CENTER FOR ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH
Site Description and Mission
The Center for Energy and Environmental Research
(CEER), located in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico,
was established in 1957 as the Puerto Rico Nuclear
Center. It consists of four distinct sites: Mayaguez, El
Verde Research Station, and Rio Piedras, operated by
the University of Puerto Rico; as well as the Boiling
Nuclear Superheat Research Reactor operated by the
Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority. These areas
were operated under contract to the U.S. Department of
Energy (DOE) and its predecessors. The four sites total
approximately 72 hectares (181 acres). Each site's
specific location and mission is described below:
LONG-TERM STEWARDSHIP HIGHLIGHTS
Major Long-Term Stewardship Activities-
Total Site Area- 72 hectares (181 acres)
Estimated Volume of Residual Contaminants-
Long-Term Stewardship Start-End Years- 1970-in
Average Annual Long-Term Stewardship Cost FY
2000-2006 • $25,000
Landlord- U.S. Department of Energy and Puerto
Rico Electric Power Authority
The Mayaguez Site is located in western Puerto
Rico, approximately two kilometers (one mile) east of Mayaguez Bay. This site spans roughly ten
hectares (20 acres) and is situated adjacent to the University of Puerto Rico College of Agriculture and
Mechanical Arts and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Experiment Station, northeast of the Mayaguez
city limits. The Mayaguez Site is a multiple structure facility that housed the marine studies program,
the original research reactor, and associated laboratories. In 1976, reactor research activities at the site
concluded with the closure of the TRIGA Research Reactor and L-77 Training Reactor. Consequently,
the facility mission broadened to include non-nuclear energy research and technology development.
TheEl Verde Research Station encompasses approximately 63 hectares ( 156 acres), and is located in the
Luquillo Forest approximately 23 kilometers (14 miles) southeast of San Juan in northeastern Puerto
Rico. The El Verde site was an experimental research station that supported a terrestrial ecology
program between 1964 and 1976. This site performed radiological tests on the trees and vegetation in
a section of rainforest to study mineral cycling and metabolism. The site was transferred to the U.S.
Department of Agriculture in 1997. The ongoing mission of the site is non-radiological terrestrial
The Rio Piedras Site is located approximately three kilometers (two miles) south of San Juan and
consists of a Biomedical facility. A former underground diesel fuel storage tank was removed in 1994.
The primary focus of work at the Rio Piedras Site was nuclear medicine research. In 1982, the site was
transferred from DOE to the University of Puerto Rico by means of a Quit Claim Deed.
The Boiling Nuclear Superheat Research Reactor, which encompasses two hectares (five acres), is
located in Rincon, approximately 21 kilometers ( 13 miles) northwest ofMayaguez. The Boiling Nuclear
Superheat Research Reactor operated as a research reactor between 1962 and 1967. The facility was
decommissioned by 1970, and the reactor vessel and other components were entombed in place. Puerto
Rico Electric Power Authority owns the land; however, DOE is responsible for the facility.
National Defense Authorization Act (NOAA) Long-Term Stewm·dship Repol't
Boiling Nuclear Superheat
El Verde Research Station
Center for Energy and Environmental Research
Site Cleanup and Accomplishments
DOE has completed environmental restoration activities at CEER in accordance with local (Puerto Rico
Environmental Quality Board) and Federal (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act) regulations.
DOE removed the TRIGA reactor fuel and components at the Mayaguez Site from the Mayaquez site
and transferred them to Argonne National Laboratory in Idaho Falls, Idaho, in 1977. In October 1981,
the L-77 solution fuel core was removed and shipped to DOE's Y-12 Plant in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
Decommissioning of the reactor, remedial decontamination, and restoration cleanup of the facility was
completed prior to 1997. In addition, soils contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs),
underground storage tanks containing fuel oil, unknown gas cylinders, hot cells (glass windows),
asbestos, and miscellaneous laboratory chemicals were removed. The Mayaguez Site will be transferred
to the U.S. Department of Agriculture by 2000.
DOE has removed contaminated material and has restored the trail in the El Verde Research Station.
At the Rio Piedras Site, underground storage tanks containing fuel oil were removed and
diesel-contaminated soil cleanup was completed. An asbestos survey and sampling of the Biomedical
Building at the site have been completed.
Center for Energy and Environmental Resear·ch
DOE has removed and disposed of non-contaminated materials at the Boiling Nuclear Superheat
Research Reactor facility. Radioactive fuel was disposed of in the continental United States. The
Boiling Nuclear Superheat Research Reactor has been entombed and all of the underground storage tanks
containing fuel oil have been removed from the site. The beta and gamma activity of the entombed
material was 53,259 curies, when the measurement was taken in 1968.
SITE-WIDE LONG-TERM STEWARDSHIP
Long-Term Stewardship Activities
Both the El Verde Research Station and the Rio Piedras Site have been transferred to the U.S. Department of
Agriculture and University of Puerto Rico, respectively, and consequently, DOE does not anticipate any longterm stewardship responsibilities. Assuming the Mayaguez Site is transferred to the U.S. Department of
Agriculture, DOE will not be responsible for long-term stewardship activities at the site.
DOE is responsible for long-term stewardship activities at the Boiling Nuclear Superheat Research Reactor.
Long-term stewardship activities include surveillance and inspection of the facility. Long-term stewardship
activities are expected to continue in perpetuity.
Access to the Boiling Nuclear Superheat Research Reactor is restricted by a locked gate, fence, and security
guard. These access restrictions are maintained
and repaired, as needed, by the Puerto Rico
Electric Power Authority. Institutional controls are
also enforced by the Puerto Rico Electric Power
Community interaction regarding the Boiling Nuclear
Authority. Because of entombed radioactive
Superheat Research Reactor facility has involved many
materials left in place, it is assumed that this area
groups, including La Liga Ecologica Puertorriquena
will remain controlled access. DOE will continue
and Frente Unido Ambiental. Copies of annual
to survey and inspect the Boiling Nuclear
inspection reports for the site are distributed to the
Superheat Research Reactor facility to ensure
public. In addition, public meetings are held to discuss
protection of human health and the environment.
survey information and future use of the facility.
DOE maintains and updates the specific records
and reports required to document long-term
stewardship activities at the Boiling Nuclear Superheat Reactor Research site. Site records are kept in permanent
storage at the DOE Oak Ridge Office and historic operation records are maintained at the site. The types of
records maintained include site characterization data, remedial action design information, the site completion
report, long-term monitoring plans, annual inspection reports, and current and historic monitoring data.
Long-term stewardship costs for the Boiling Nuclear Superheat Research Reactor are based on historic costs
incurred while conducting annual surveillance and inspection activities. These costs are approximately $25,000
Assumptions and Uncertainties
A CERCLA 120(h)(4) report has been requested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture prior to transferring the
Mayaguez Site. The site will be transferred directly to the University of Puerto Rico under provision 16l(g) of
the Atomic Energy Act. The transfer will be completed by the end of December 2000.
The Boiling Nuclear Superheat Reactor Research site is anticipated to be transferred to DOE's Grand Junction
National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Long-Term Steardship Report
Office for long-term surveillance and maintenance by the end of FY 2001.
Because of entombed radioactive materials left in place, it is assumed that the Boiling Nuclear Superheat Reactor
Research area will remain under controlled access. However, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority is
developing a museum in the reactor building, in which only certain areas will be open to the public.
All future-use decisions regarding Mayaguez, El Verde Research Station, and Rio Piedras sites are the
responsibility of the landlord organizations.
For additional information about the Center for Energy and Environmental Research site, please contact:
Mildred S. Lopez-Ferre, Program Manager
Environmental Management Program
U.S. Department of Energy, Oak Ridge Operations Office
P.O. Box 2001
Oak Ridge, TN 37830