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Research Reactor

The NRL features The Ohio State University Research Reactor (OSURR), a pool‑type reactor with multiple beam ports and dry tubes as irradiation facilities, that is utilized for a variety of instructional, research, and service activities. It is licensed to operate at thermal powers up to a maximum of 500 kilowatts, and at this maximum steady‑state power, the maximum thermal neutron flux in the central irradiation facility is approximately 1.4x1013 n/cm2/s.

The OSURR, a Materials Testing Reactor (MTR), is a unique asset to nuclear engineering research and education at the university and in the State of Ohio, and it is utilized for instructional, research, and service activities. It has multiple vertical dry tubes and beam ports that serve as irradiation facilities, and the reactor is licensed to operate at thermal powers (no electricity is produced) up to a maximum of 500 kilowatts. At the maximum power, the neutron flux in the available irradiation dry tubes are on the order of 1012-1013 n/cm2/s.

The OSURR is used for a wide range of nuclear-related research endeavors, including evaluation of material elemental constituents using neutron activation analysis (NAA) and neutron depth profiling (NDP); evaluation of radiation damage to electronic components and other materials, such as optical fibers and optical fiber-based sensors; evaluation of neutron and gamma-ray radiation sensitive detector performance; isotope production; and biomedical experiments.  

View of reactor pool from aboveView of reactor pool from above

The OSURR is not constrained by a fixed duty-cycle, allowing great flexibility in scheduling research and education activities. The reactor has multiple irradiation locations that allow instrumented experiments, enabling in-situ experiment measurements and real-time monitoring during irradiations. The non-fixed duty cycle enables researchers to perform experiments utilizing varying reactor power levels and even power transients. 

Example temperature and reactor power profile for high-temperature experimentExample temperature and reactor power profile for high-temperature experiment

A number of experimental facilities converge at the reactor core, which allows simultaneous performance of multiple experiments. These facilities include: 

  1. CIF vertical dry tube 
  2. AIF and PIF vertical dry tubes 
  3. Moveable vertical dry tubes 
  4. Beam facility 
  5. Pneumatic Transport System (PTS) / Rabbit Facility 
  6. Thermal column

A summary table listing the neutron fluxes and dose rates in the various OSURR facilities can be found here. Referenced memos are available upon request to