AE-6/L-85 Reactor



The AE-6 was a small, low-power research reactor. The core, made up of a solution of water and uranyl sulfate as fuel within a spherical tank, was surrounded by a graphite reflector. This reactor similar core to the KEWB reactor, but it could operate at up to 2 kWt.. It was used as a neutron source for many different tests, and for reactor operator training. Atomics International supplied similar reactors to several universities, for similar purposes. The reactor operated periodically for 24 years, from November 1956 to February 1980.

Building 4093 was constructed in 1958 to house the AE-6 Reactor. The AE-6 Reactor was originally called the Water Boiler Neutron Source (WBNS) reactor. Built in 1952 the WBNS had a maximum power of 0.5 Wt. The WBNS was modified to produce a maximum power of 3 kWt and then was referred to as the AE-6 Reactor.

The NRC licensed the facility in 1972  when ownership was transferred from AEC to Rockwell.  The reactor was renamed L-85 and operated until February 1980.


D&D began in 1982 with the removal of uranyl sulfate.  In 1985, Rocketdyne conducted a final radiological survey. Soil samples showed no evidence of radioactivity due to facility operations. Oak Ridge Associated Universities conducted an independent verification survey in 1986. NRC conducted a decommissioning inspection and survey in 1987.  NRC released the site for unrestricted use and the NRC license was terminated March 1987.

The remaining building, excluding the foundation, was demolished in 1995. The sanitary leachfield for Building 4093 was removed in 1999.   Soil samples collected at the time of the removal of the septic tank confirmed that the area was free of radioactive contamination.

Historical Site Assessment - 4093