The former nuclear reactor near Genoa is nearing the end of a five-year project to remove nearly 120,000 pounds of waste from a fuel storage pool in the reactor building — where it has been stored for the past 25 years — into steel and concrete casks, where it can be held indefinitely at a much lower cost.

Though the federal government has no immediate plans to take possession of the radioactive waste, the move should cut in half the annual cost to store it and speed up the decommissioning process, expected to take another seven years.

The La Crosse Boiling Water Reactor, or LACBWR, was a 50 megawatt demonstration plant that went online in 1969 — the first in Wisconsin. Dairyland closed the plant in 1987 and began dismantling some 3 million pounds of reinforced concrete, piping and equipment, including the 300-ton reactor vessel.

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