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January 8, 2012

NNC State hosts international nuclear reactor research workshop

Workshop attendees gather near NC State's nuclear reactor. (Photo: submitted)

Nuclear energy officials from five countries came to North Carolina State University in late October for an international workshop on nuclear research reactors.

The International Workshop on Secure Operations and Applications at Research Reactors, held Oct. 29 – Nov. 2, was hosted by NC State’s Nuclear Reactor Program. Engineers, scientists and officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency, the US National Nuclear Security Administration and the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission were among the 19 presenters and attendees.

The workshop included laboratory sessions at the PULSTAR Nuclear Research Reactor Facility on NC State’s main campus. Participants received instruction from NC State reactor staff on reactor operations, control rod calibration, neutron imaging and neutron activation analysis. Other workshop topics included nuclear security and non-proliferation, strategic planning, and enhancing the utilization of research reactors. Attendees and presenters hailed from Jordan, Indonesia, South Africa, Austria and the United States.

The event was sponsored by the international Partnership for Nuclear Security program under the auspices of the US Department of State, and in coordination with Sandia National Laboratories.

The PULSTAR reactor, completed in 1972, is the fourth nuclear fission reactor at NC State. It is used to educate nuclear engineering students, train technicians in operations and safety, and provide research services for NC State and other institutions. The reactor program is part of the Department of Nuclear Engineering at NC State.

NC State opened the nation’s first university-based research reactor in 1953, making its nuclear reactor program the oldest of its kind in the nation. The PULSTAR reactor remains one of the nation’s few on-campus nuclear reactors.

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