NSUF offers six reactor facilities to users whose proposals are awarded access. Each of these reactors offer unique capabilities for researchers to explore basic and applied nuclear research. 

Idaho National Laboratory: Advanced Test Reactor

The ATR is a water-cooled, high-flux test reactor, with a unique serpentine design that allows large power variations among its flux traps. The reactor’s curved fuel arrangement places fuel closer on all sides of the flux trap positions than is possible in a rectangular grid. The reactor has nine of these high-intensity neutron flux traps and 68 additional irradiation positions inside the reactor core reflector tank, each of which can contain multiple experiments. Experiment positions vary in size from 0.5" to 5.0" in diameter and all are 48" long. The peak thermal flux is 1x1015 n/cm2-sec and fast flux is 5x1014 n/cm2-sec when operating at full power of 250 MW. There is a hydraulic shuttle irradiation system, which allows experiments to be inserted and removed during reactor operation, and pressurized water reactor (PWR) loops, which enable tests to be performed at prototypical PWR operating conditions. ATR User Guide

Idaho National Laboratory: Advanced Test Reactor Critical Facility

The ATRC is a low-power version (same size and geometry) of the higher-powered ATR core. It is operated at power levels less than 5 KW with typical operating power levels of 600 W or less. ATRC is primarily used to provide data for the design and safe operation of experiments for the ATR. ATRC is also used to supply core performance data for the restart of the ATR after periodic core internals replacement. Occasionally the ATRC is used to perform low-power irradiation of experiments. ATRC User Guide

Idaho National Laboratory: The Transient Reactor Test Facility

TREAT provides transient testing of nuclear fuels. It is an air-cooled, thermal spectrum test facility specifically designed to evaluate the response of reactor fuels and structural materials to accident conditions ranging from mild upsets to severe accidents. TREAT is used to study fuel melting behavior, interactions between fuel and coolant, and the potential for propagation of failure to adjacent fuel pins. TREAT has an open core design that allows for ease of experiment instrumentation and real-time imaging of fuel motion during irradiation, which also makes TREAT an ideal platform for understanding the irradiation response of materials and fuels on a fundamental level. TREAT Capability Guide

Oak Ridge National Laboratory High Flux Isotope Reactor

HFIR is a versatile 85 MW research reactor offering the highest steady-state neutron flux in the western world. With a peak thermal flux of 2.5x1015 n/cm2-s and a peak fast flux of 1.1x1015 n/cm2-s, HFIR is able to quickly generate isotopes that require multiple neutron captures and perform materials irradiations that simulate lifetimes of power reactor use in a fraction of the time. HFIR typically operates 7 cycles per year, each cycle lasting between 23 and 26 days. Associated irradiation processing facilities include the Hydraulic Tube Facility, Pneumatic Tube Facilities for Neutron Activation Analysis (NAA), and Gamma Irradiation Facility. HFIR User Guide

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Reactor

The MITR is a 5 MW tank-type research reactor. It has three positions available for in-core fuel and materials experiments over a wide range of conditions. Water loops at pressurized water reactor/boiling water reactor (PWR/BWR) conditions, high-temperature gas reactor environments at temperatures up to 1400°C and fuel tests at light water reactor (LWR) temperatures have been operated and custom conditions can also be provided. A variety of instrumentation and support facilities are available. Fast and thermal neutron fluxes are up to 1.2e14 and 6e13 n/cm2 s, at 6 MW. The MITR has received approval from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a power increase to 6 MW which will enhance the neutron fluxes by 20%. MIT Reactor User Guide

North Carolina State University PULSTAR Reactor

The PULSTAR reactor is a 1 MW pool-type nuclear research reactor located in NCSU’s Burlington Engineering Laboratories. The reactor, one of two PULSTAR reactors built and the only one still in operation, uses 4% enriched, pin-type fuel consisting of uranium dioxide pellets in zircaloy cladding. The fuel provides response characteristics that are very similar to commercial light water power reactors. These characteristics allow teaching experiments to measure moderator temperature and power reactivity coefficients including Doppler feedback. In 2007, the PULSTAR reactor produced the most intense low-energy positron beam with the highest positron rate of any comparable facility worldwide. PULSTAR User Guide