United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

General Atomics - TRIGA Mark I

1.0 Site Identification

Type of Site: Research and Test Reactor Facility
Location: San Diego,CA
License No.: R-38
Docket No.: 50-89
License Status: SAFSTOR
Project Manager: Jim Shepherd

2.0 Site Status Summary

The main General Atomics campus is located on a 120-acre site in San Diego, California, approximately 15 miles north of downtown's San Diego International Airport, mostly via Interstate 5. GA's main facilities contain over one million square feet of engineering and test facilities, precision manufacturing installations, and advanced technology laboratories.

Areas adjacent to the TRIGA facility included a building that contained a hot cell for fuel examination and other work, and a radioactive waste tank area. These facilities were decommissioned and the NRC license terminated in 2000.

By application dated November 16, 1957, General Atomic (formerly GA Technologies Inc.) was issued Licensed R-38 for the Mark I. The prototype TRIGA (Training, Research, Isotopes, General Atomics) nuclear reactor was commissioned on General Atomics' then new site at Torre Pines Mesa (San Diego) on May 3, 1958. Known as the TRIGA Mark I reactor, it was originally licensed to operate at a power level of 10 Kilowatts (KW), but was soon upgraded to 250 kilowatts. It could also be rapidly "pulsed" to power levels of over 1000 Megawatts (MW) after which (and without any outside intervention) it would return, in a few thousandths of a second, to a safe low power as a result of the effect of the ubiquitous warm neutrons. This original TRIGA operated until 1997, when it was permanently shut down because of its age.

The licensee has dismantled the Mark I reactor to the extent possible given the storage of fuel. Decommissioning activities at General Atomics (GA) were put on hold pending the transfer of fuel to DOE, that occurred in FY 2010. GA is developing a plan and schedule to complete decommissioning of the facility.

3.0 Major Technical or Regulatory Issues

The licensee has completed all decommissioning activities prior to fuel removal from the site. Following discussions between NRC and DOE, GA and DOE, fuel transfer occurred in FY 2010.

4.0 Estimated Date For Closure

2019

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, February 20, 2014