As OSU scientists make new discoveries and provide improved products for the world, the Radiation Center often plays an important role.

The radiation center was ranked in the top 10 in nation
The radiation center was ranked in the top 10 in nation

The building sits unobtrusively at the west end of campus. It looks like many a university building. But this one’s different. For one thing, the OSU Radiation Center houses a nuclear reactor.

The reactor is a source of neutrons for local and international researchers. But it also has an educational role. Each year 70 to 75 classes are taught at the Radiation Center, and many of them use the reactor.

“It’s very unusual to have a nuclear reactor on campus, but it’s quite valuable” says Steve Reese, director of the Radiation Center. “Students studying nuclear engineering or radiation health physics can learn how the reactor works in the classroom, then apply the knowledge in the laboratory.”

The center also provides training to Oregon First Responders and teaches hazardous material radiological training courses.

With its TRIGA Mark II research nuclear reactor, a gamma irradiator, gamma radiation spectrometers and germanium detectors, instruments for measurement and monitoring, and other equipment, the Radiation Center has greater combined capabilities than any other university facility in the western half of the United States, Reese says.

Research recently performed at the center or through use of the reactor includes certification testing for next generation nuclear reactors, environmental analysis related to the Hanford site, arsenic contamination studies, bandage sterilization for the Army, and prostate and lung cancer cell studies.

While most of the service performed is for university researchers or other agencies, Reese says he’s trying to greatly expand the center’s research aspect by bringing research into the Radiation Center organization itself in the areas of neutron radiography, neutron activation analysis, and radiochemistry.

In addition to its educational and research functions, the center provides outreach services, offering tours to schools and other groups.

Radiation Center website

OSU Nuclear Engineering program ranked in top 10

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