Old Nuclear Parts Heading Down the River

Two major components of a nuclear reactor making their way down the Apalachicola River are also making a few people nervous.

The barge carrying 300-ton reactor vessel heads passed under the Robert Trammell Bridge in Blountstown Monday afternoon. The old reactor heads, which compress radioactive materials into gases, came from the Farley Nuclear Plant just north of Dothan.

Farley is shipping the old reactor heads by barge through the Intracoastal Waterway to Houston. Then they'll be trucked to Utah for disposal.

So far there have been no problems, but some people like Shelly Scroggins are still concerned the barge may have difficulty in some of the narrow sections of the Apalachicola River in Gulf County.

“Should they have an accident and crack one of those containers or punch a hole in the barge and sink the barge then the river is ruined or ear up with radiation."

“The river has not been dredged for navigation since the year 2000, that's five years ago. The shoulders have changed. The sandbars have changed. The channels have changed."

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers does have a small vessel ahead of the barge measuring the river depth, and the barge is only traveling during daylight hours and in good weather conditions.

Officials at Farley say this is the best option for transport.