NSCU's PULSTAR research reactor. (Photo: NCSU)
The Department of Nuclear Engineering at North Carolina State University marked the 50th anniversary in September of its PULSTAR research reactor, a milestone that was featured in the department’s fall newsletter. The nuclear reactor, located in the Burlington Laboratory on university’s north campus, has been in use since 1972 by research faculty and staff in the University of North Carolina system and other academic institutions, as well as by government agencies and companies in North Carolina and throughout the United States.
One further reason the university is celebrating this year is the infrastructure award that the PULSTAR reactor just received from the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy (NE). This financial award will help “facilitate an upgrade and enhancement to safety, operations, and utilization infrastructure.”
Nuclear Reactor Program: The PULSTAR reactor and its associated instrumentation are administered by NCSU’s Nuclear Reactor Program (NRP), which is a partner of the Nuclear Science User Facilities of Idaho National Laboratory. The NRP’s mission is “to enhance, promote, and utilize the PULSTAR research reactor and associated facilities in an exemplary manner, leading to national recognition as a premier 1-MW Nuclear Reactor Program dedicated to research, teaching, and extension.” The NRP began in 1950 with the construction of the R-1 reactor, the first academic research nuclear reactor in the world. The current director of the program is Ayman Hawari, distinguished professor of nuclear engineering.