Faculty members looking at wiring.

A large-scale reputation 

One of 31 operating research reactors in the U.S. resides at the Oregon State Radiation Center, which houses the school's classrooms, laboratories, and facilities. We're best known for our large-scale test facilities including the NuScale Power prototype, and the High Temperature Test Facility.

Whether you're interested in collaborating with our researchers, have an experiment that requires irradiation, or researching our facilities as a prospective student, you'll find the information you need here.

Research Facilities

Advanced Nuclear Systems Engineering Laboratory

The Advanced Nuclear Systems Engineering Laboratory is home to two major thermal-hydraulic test facilities—the High Temperature Test Facility (HTTF) and the Hydro-mechanical Fuel Test Facility (HMFTF). The HTTF is a 1/4 scale model of the Modular High Temperature Gas Reactor. The vessel has a ceramic lined upper head and shroud capable of operation at 850oC (well mixed helium). The design will allow for a maximum operating pressure of 1.0MPa and a maximum core ceramic temperature of 1600°C. The nominal working fluid will be helium with a core power of approximately 600 kW (note that electrical heaters are used to simulate the core power). The test facility also includes a scaled reactor cavity cooling system, a circulator and a heat sink in order to complete the cycle. The HTTF can be used to simulate a wide range of accident scenarios in gas reactors to include the depressurized conduction cooldown and pressurized conduction cooldown events. 

The HMFTF is a testing facility which will be used to produce a database of hydro-mechanical information to supplement the qualification of the prototypic ultrahigh density U-Mo Low Enriched Uranium fuel which will be implemented into the U.S. High Performance Research Reactors upon their conversion to low enriched fuel. This data in turn will be used to verify current theoretical hydro- and thermo-mechanical codes being used during safety analyses. The maximum operational pressure of the HMFTF is 600 psig with a maximum operational temperature of 450°F.

The Advanced Thermal Hydraulic Research Laboratory (ATHRL) is dedicated to investigating fundamental properties in multi-phase fluid flow and heat transfer. It currently houses the Multi-Application Small Light Water Reactor (MASLWR). 

ATHRL Test Capabilities

  • Meets NQA-1 and NQA-2 quality assurance for certification testing
  • Meets 10 CFR 50 Appendix B quality assurance for instrumentation calibration
  • Advanced analytical capability for 3-D fluid flow and heat transfer computer code
  • Multi-phase fluid flow and heat transfer measurements for process diagnostics
  • Integral system two-phase flow experiments

The High Temperature Test Facility (HTTF) is a one-quarter scale integral test facility model of the Modular High Temperature Gas Reactor. The facility is capable of operating at temperatures like those expected in a loss of forced convection cooling accident. The nominal working fluid is helium although other gases can be used. The facility is configured to simulate a variety of postulated depressurized conduction cooldown (DCC), pressurized conduction cooldown (PCC) and normal operations events.

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The Hydro-Mechanical Fuel Test Facility (HMFTF) is a large-scale thermal-hydraulic separate effects test facility located in the Advanced Nuclear Systems Engineering Laboratory (ANSEL) at Oregon State. The facility operates under an NQA-1 compliant quality assurance program and is currently listed on the Idaho National Laboratory Quality Supplier List as a level 1 supplier.

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Multi-Application Small Light Water Reactor
The Multi-Application Small Light Water Reactor (MASLWR) is a nuclear power plant test facility that is instrumental in the development of next generation commercial nuclear reactors currently seeking NRC certification. The test facility is constructed of all stainless steel components and is capable of operation at full system pressure (1500 psi) and full system temperature (600F).
All components are 1/3 scale height and 1/254.7 volume scale. The current testing program is examining methods for natural circulation startup, helical steam generator heat transfer performance, a wide range of design basis, and accident conditions. In addition, the MASLWR Test Facility is currently the focus of an international collaborative standard problem exploring the operation and safety of advanced natural circulations reactor concepts. Over 7 international organizations are involved in this standard problem at OSU.

The LIFT lab currently houses three separate facilities: the Endurance Flow Loop, Laser-Imaged Natural Circulation Facility, and the Camera-Observed and Instrumented Loop Facility. 

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The Oregon State TRIGA Reactor (OSTR) is a water-cooled research reactor which uses low-enriched uranium/zirconium-hydride fuel elements in a circular grid array. TRIGA stands for Training, Research, Isotopes, General Atomics. The reactor is used for training students, various research projects and isotope production. The reactor has a variety of irradiation facilities available. 

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The Energy Exploration (E2) Center is an innovative learning environment that offers users a hands-on opportunity to apply nuclear science and engineering principles through simulated, real-world nuclear power plant operation scenarios.

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Laboratories and other facilities

The Advanced Nuclear Instrumentation Development Laboratory (ANIDL) includes faculty and staff actively engaged in research and development activities in traditional detector design, hybrid design, light capture techniques, visible photon detection methods, neural network development, GUI development, and digital signal processing design. 

The research team at the ANIDL is capable of implementing the state-of-the-art multichannel digital spectrometers using our in-house-designed digital pulse processors. No traditional (analog) spectroscopy module has been used in the ANIDL since 2006. On-going projects at the ANIDL include actively-shielded phoswich detector for radioxenon detection and MPPC (Multi-Pixel Photon Counter) + scintillator characterization.

Red liquid in glass.

The Laboratory of Transuranic Elements is a state-of-the-art research laboratory focused on the speciation of chemistry actinides and fission products in aqueous and organic solutions and their interfaces.

Highly specialized instrumentation for visual spectroscopy (UV-Vis-NIR, Raman, FTIR), ESI-mass spectroscopy, chromatography and electrochemistry are applied for identification and quantification of studied metal species in these systems.

Interaction of lanthanide and actinide species with other ions and molecules, e.g., organic and inorganic ligands and redox active species present in solutions is investigated with the aim to optimize their yields in separation processes or predict their behavior in bio-geochemical environment. Observed characteristics are reported in terms of thermodynamic and kinetic constants for studied reactions, and used in speciation modeling.

For more information about TRUELAB, visit the Paulenova Radiochemistry Research Group.

The Radiation Center hosts three separate gamma spectroscopy facilities (or “counting labs”) for the detection and quantification of radioisotopes. These include (1) our INAA facility with four high-purity germanium (HPGe) detectors and associated signal chain electronics, each served by an automated sample changer for the efficient handling of large projects; (2) our Teaching Lab, with four HPGe workstations for student training and research activities; and (3) the “Rabbit” Lab, for the analysis of short half-life isotopes produced via the pneumatic transfer system. Over the past few years, the Radiation Center (with support from the university and external granting agencies) has invested heavily in gamma spectroscopy, up-grading older analog detector electronics to state-of-the-art digital electronics and gamma spectroscopy software. These new digital units provide improved signal processing performance, and underscore the Radiation Center’s commitment to maintaining teaching and research facilities.


Other equipment:

Keyence VHX-1000 digital microscope - for portable, high-resolution imaging with large depth-of-field and variable-angle observation.

Perkin-Elmer Model 307 Sample Oxidizer - an automatic preparation and oxidization system for both single and dual radiolabeled samples containing 3H and/or 14C for use in liquid scintillation counting.

Perkin-Elmer Tri-Carb 3180TR/SL Liquid Scintillation Analyzer -  an advanced computer-controlled bench-top super low level liquid scintillation analyzer for detecting small amounts of alpha, beta and gamma radioactivity for research and environmental monitoring. A proprietary Bismuth Germanium Oxide ( BGO ) detector guard provides extremely low backgrounds, making the instrument ideal for low level applications.

The OSU College of Engineering supports and maintains a High Performance Computing Cluster (HPCC) for research use. All servers are connected to both the primary engineering network as well as a second private high speed network for improved performance of parallel  jobs. The HPCC has the following properties: jobs as well as InfiniBand low latency high speed network connection.


  • A mix of EM64T (136 systems with 652 CPU’s) and AMD64 (47 systems with 130 CPU’s) giving a total of 782 CPU’s with a total of 2.3 TB RAM and an estimated performance of 7.414 Terra Flops
  • A mix of EM64T (159 systems with 948 CPU’s) and AMD64 (47 systems with 130 CPU’s) giving a total of 1,078 CPU’s with a total of 3.4 TB RAM and an estimated performance of 10.299 Terra Flops
  • Parallel program execution is available via the MPI (message passing interface) Library – Argonne’s mpich2
  • The server room is protected with both a UPS for short term power fluctuations and a diesel motor generator for long term power outages
  • All servers are running RedHat Enterprise Linux 4 in a Sun Grid Engine environment 
  • All servers are running RedHat Enterprise Linux 5 & 6 in both a Sun Grid Engine and Univa Grid Engine environment
  • Fortran and C programs can be compiled to run parallel

The Radioecology Research Laboratory focuses on the migration of radionuclides through environmental media, statistical approaches to remediating contaminated waste sites, and the application of scaling functions to predict radionuclide transport through the biosphere.