Director's Welcome


Dr. Cao explaining experiment data.

The Nuclear Reactor Laboratory (NRL) at The Ohio State University hosts the only research reactor in the State of Ohio and one of only a handful of research reactor partner facilities in the Nuclear Science User Facilities (NSUF) program. While last year marked the 60th anniversary of the OSU Research Reactor's initial criticality, the reactor is still recognized as a unique and important facility whose capabilities are highly coveted by researchers. In fact, a new high flux fast neutron beam facility with a fully automated imaging station is now available to produce fast neutron computed tomography of additive-manufactured objects, increasing the reactor’s capabilities to support a wide-range of research.

The NRL’s mission is to serve as a premier nuclear radiation user facility for students, faculty, and external researchers while supporting the efforts of excellence in student instruction and research opportunities in nuclear science and engineering; to serve as a unique teaching facility for nuclear engineering education, outreach, and community engagement; and to remain a vital technical and physical asset to sustaining and growing irradiation service and applications in materials, medicine, manufacturing, and nuclear technology-related industries in Ohio, within the Midwest, and the Nation.

While we are continuing to provide high quality service utilizing the NRL’s unique irradiation and testing capabilities, especially in the areas of high-temperature irradiations with in-situ measurements, we are also increasing our capabilities. In addition to the new beam facility, efforts are in progress to add post irradiation examination (PIE) capabilities, and continued growth of capabilities is expected. In addition, the lab recently more than doubled the space available for reactor-based research activities, allowing more student interaction, increased utilization, and expanded capabilities.

Although we always are looking ahead to the future, we are also aware of the need to maintain our current infrastructure. The NRL is grateful to DOE for their support in updating reactor systems through multiple competitive grants. In addition, donations from our supporters have helped the NRL to outfit its new space to maximize usability for researchers and for supporting hands-on student laboratories. We appreciate the support of our partners and friends as we aim to continue to lead the way in nuclear engineering research and testing, and I am proud to provide the laboratory’s leadership through such exciting changes.


Thank you for your partnership,

Lei Raymond Cao, Ph.D.

Director, The Ohio State University Nuclear Reactor Laboratory

Professor, Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering