Nuclear Engineering and Science Center
This facility has a one-megawatt TRIGA swimming pool reactor that can be pulsed and a variety of other features including experimental laboratories, a large irradiation cell, beam ports, a thermal column and a pneumatic “rabbit” system. One of the best-equipped facilities of its type in the country, the Nuclear Engineering and Science Center is used in our laboratory courses as well as our research program.
The goal of the Nuclear Engineering and Science Center is to improve the health, well-being and environment of mankind through the application of nuclear technology. The Nuclear Engineering and Science Center, located near the southwest side of Easterwood Airport, provides services to researchers and/or faculty from Texas A&M University, other colleges and universities, government agencies and private industry. The center is recognized primarily for providing radioisotopes and other nuclear irradiation services for research, academic, medical and industrial applications and as a teaching and nuclear training facility.
At one end of the reactor pool is a large room that allows dry irradiation of samples up to 20 feet long.
In-core irradiation devices allow for a variety of geometries, given that the active region of the core is 15 inches long.
The radiochemistry lab has a handling cell to allow for remote handling of highly radioactive samples, a glove box for handling lower level samples in a contained environment, and several fume hoods.
The centerpiece of the Nuclear Engineering & 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.
Samples may be quickly transferred between the reactor and the counting laboratory through a pneumatic transfer system. The counting lab contains four high-purity germanium (HPGe) detectors, as well as advanced gamma spectroscopy software for trace isotope identification, which allows for analysis down to parts per million (ppm) and parts per billion (ppb).
On-site electronics and machine shops are available for custom fabrication of prototype equipment and electronics for researchers and students.