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DOE chooses Ohio State’s nuclear energy expertise, facilities for nationwide network

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has approved The Ohio State University Nuclear Reactor Laboratory as a Nuclear Science User Facilities (NSUF) partner. Ohio State becomes the 16th NSUF partner site, joining the likes of MIT, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, University of Michigan and Purdue University.

Operated within the Office of Nuclear Energy, NSUF offers unparalleled research opportunities for nuclear energy researchers with facilities at Idaho National Laboratory and a diverse mix of affiliated partner institutions at universities, national laboratories and industry facilities. Through a peer-reviewed proposal process, users are provided no cost access to world-class nuclear research facilities, technical expertise from experienced scientists and engineers, and assistance with experiment design, assembly, safety analysis and examination.

Ohio State's pool‑type reactor with multiple beam ports and dry tubes as irradiation facilitiesOhio State Associate Professor and Nuclear Reactor Director Raymond Cao said that Ohio State was added as a partner due to distinct features and capabilities.

“We offer the unique capability of reactor irradiations in external large-experiment dry tubes,” said Cao. “This is especially beneficial for experiments involving high-temperature irradiations of prototype instrumentation for next-generation reactors, sensors and sensor materials and optical fibers.”

Ohio State’s reactor lab also has a pool-top workbench and another adjacent work surface where researchers can set up equipment to support their instrumented experiment at a convenient location without running long wires. Cao said that four experienced staff members, of which three are senior reactor operators, can assist with equipment installation and removal and experiment design that safely meet the researchers’ needs.

The NSUF selection is just the latest indicator of Ohio State’s leadership in nuclear energy research. Over the past nine years, engineering researchers have collectively received more than $19.6 million in DOE funding to advance nuclear energy research and technologies and upgrade facilities.