In 2018 and 2021, fuel failure events occurred in research reactors at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the ORNL High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) and NIST Center for Neutron Research (NCNR) Reactor, respectively. While neither event resulted in significant radiological exposure, each of the affected reactor facilities paused operations to review fuel fabrication, training, operations, quality assurance, conduct causal analyses and other activities before returning to normal operations. An earlier panel session at the 2021 ANS Winter Meeting provided an update on where the two reactor facilities stood in their recovery efforts. This session will be a panel with key representatives from ORNL, NIST, and NRC staff that will discuss the events, the associated causal analyses, corrective actions, and lessons learned since the two events before recovery of full operations in both HFIR and NCNR.


  • David H. Cook (ORNL)
  • Thomas H. Newton (NIST Center for Neutron Research)
  • Joshua Borromeo (U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission)
  • Travis L. Tate (U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission)


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