Washington State University Nuclear Radiation Center

The WSU Nuclear Radiation Center, a WSU department within the Office of Research and located in the Dodgen Research Facility, is home to a variety of unique opportunities available to researchers, commercial clients, and government agencies. Completed in 1961, the Dodgen Research Facility, under operation of the department, runs and maintains the WSU Reactor, a 1 MW TRIGA® (Teaching Research Isotope production General Atomics) nuclear research reactor, gamma irradiation facilities, a mass spectrometer, an X-ray diffractometer, and an assortment of radiochemistry and neutron activation analysis laboratories.

The WSU Nuclear Radiation Center participates in quality, nationally and internationally pertinent research, isotope production, and various community education initiatives benefiting WSU, other university institutions and national and worldwide clients. The facility is utilized by a variety of fields of study including: nuclear engineering, physics, chemistry, biology, medicine, geology, environmental sciences, archaeology, geology, and traditional and nuclear forensics. We hosted the 2011 Nuclear Forensics Summer School and annually provide laboratory space and equipment for the WSU Chemistry Department Radiochemistry Lab Sections, in addition to utilization of the reactor facility.

In addition to the WSU Nuclear Radiation Center providing researchers an economical teaching and research tool, we train WSU students to become U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission licensed Reactor Operators and Senior Reactor Operators for our reactor. This requires the potential operator to become an expert in reactor theory, neutron instrumentation, neutron transport theory, electrical and pumping systems, environmental compliance, and Local/State/Federal regulations. Our Reactor Operators and Senior Reactor Operators are tour guides, operations engineers, radioactive material handlers, experiment advisors, safety compliance officers, research associates, emergency coordinators, and radiation control advisors all rolled into one.

Community outreach and education is considered one of the most powerful and influential missions of our department. That’s why we offer tours of the facility and reactor to the community, students, teachers, and professors, free of charge. We believe that education about what we do and what this facility contributes to the national and international community is paramount, and we encourage the tour participants to ask many questions. More information on how to schedule a tour can be found on the tours tab.