The centerpiece of the Nuclear Science Center is a 1 megawatt TRIGA (Testing, Research, Isotopes, General Atomics) reactor, an open “swimming pool”-type research reactor cooled by natural convection providing passive and inherent safety. The core consists of cylindrical fuel elements reflected with graphite.
In this configuration, samples can be easily loaded and unloaded for long and short irradiations ranging from a few seconds to multiple days. Ample space is available on our mezzanine to provide monitoring capabilities during irradiation.
The reactor operates at a maximum steady-state power level of one megawatt (MW). At this level, the thermal neutron flux at various sample irradiation locations in the core ranges from about 1×1012 neutrons/cm2-sec to a maximum of 1.4×1013neutrons/cm2– sec. Lower flux is also possible if desired. The gamma dose on the reactor face at 1 MW is about 2×107 rad/hr.
The reactor can accommodate a variety of sample sizes and shapes for a variety of uses, including isotope production for radioactive tracers and medical applications. The open pool reactor allows flexibility for any sample.