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Does the RRR actually exist?

unitofobscurityunitofobscurity Registered User Posts: 78 Junior Member
edited September 2009 in Reed College
I know it has a webpage and a Wikipedia article with fancy pictures of Cerenkov radiation, but do students at Reed actually use the reactor all that often? It would be extremely disappointing if the Reed Research Reactor were more of a hood ornament than anything. However, after visiting Reed, I'm beginning to have my doubts. None of the staff or professors that I spoke to really knew where it was or what it was used for - although I didn't talk to anyone in Physics or chemistry, to be fair... would anyone from Reed chime in on the prominence/activity of the reactor?
Post edited by unitofobscurity on

Replies to: Does the RRR actually exist?

  • aghastaghast Registered User Posts: 162 Junior Member
    I don't know much, but I believe you take a course to get certified and once you are certified you can get a paid on campus job. Others should have more info.
  • vonlostvonlost Super Moderator Posts: 29,668 Super Moderator
    The reactor web site Reed Research Reactor indeed has some answers:

    The Reed Reactor Facility is primarily used for instruction, research, and analysis, especially trace-element analysis. Since the initial startup, the reactor, in addition to providing student research opportunities, has worked to educate the surrounding community on the principles of nuclear energy and fission-reactor operation.

    The reactor and associated facilities are used to some extent in chemistry and physics courses, but they are mostly used for research projects. The reactor is operated almost entirely by undergraduate students who are licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. This allows them to conduct their own research and to be hired by the facility to conduct irradiations for educational organizations, private research organizations, and for industrial applications.

    Research at the Reed Reactor has centered around quantitative neutron activation analysis for trace-element concentrations. To facilitate this work a multi-channel analyzer and an intrinsic germanium gamma-ray spectrometer are used. A major research area for students using the reactor is the determination of trace-element concentrations in biological and environmental samples.

    The reactor facility is available as a neutron source for industrial applications. The most frequent use in the past has been for quality control and purity testing in manufacturing and electronics industries, and for environmental monitoring of industrial effluents.


    Why do you have a reactor?
    We use the reactor as a neutron source. The fission process in uranium produces excess neutrons that we use in experiments.

    Why would someone want to get a license?
    One reason students get a license is to use it at Reed to run experiments. We need the students to run the program! Some students want the experience for future work in medicine, science, or engineering.

    What kind of students get a license at Reed?
    Most students are science majors — Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Mathematics.
This discussion has been closed.