Director's Welcome

Dr. Cao

The Nuclear Reactor Lab (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 facilities in DOE’s Nuclear Science User Facilities (NSUF) program. The NRL is an interdisciplinary research facility within the university's College of Engineering whose 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.

Keep reading to find out more about how we are accomplishing these goals:



The NRL provides world-class education and training to graduate and undergraduate students in addressing the world's biggest challenges in clean energy and nuclear non-proliferation.



Collaborative research - In 2017, the United States Department of Energy designated the NRL as a partner facility of the Nuclear Science User Facilities (NSUF) program, allowing awarded researchers, often in collaboration with other laboratories and industry, to perform DOE-supporting research at the NRL at no cost to researchers. Experiments to date have largely focused on the study of in-core neutron sensors and sensor materials, which supports the development of future reactor designs.

Nuclear Engineering research – The NRL provides irradiation and measurement services in support of student and faculty research, student education, and as a service to industry.



The NRL provides high quality service utilizing its unique irradiation and testing capabilities to assist the nuclear industry in Ohio and the nation. Customers have ranged from the biggest names in industry to small high-tech companies.



A fast neuron beam is under construction through a $184,000 grant sponsored by the US Department of Energy. The upgrade will provide the very first small-sized, high-flux fast neutron beam in U.S. that will immensely help the NRL and Nuclear Engineering curriculum in terms of research capabilities and teaching, including reactor laboratory classes for students from Nuclear Engineering curriculum, routine operation and research performed by the facility users.

In the recent past, multiple grants have been received from DOE to update reactor systems, and donations have helped to upgrade equipment to support 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. Thank you for your partnership.


Lei Raymond Cao, Ph.D.

Director, The Ohio State University Nuclear Reactor Laboratory

Professor, Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering