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Lowell Reactor

The Radiation Laboratory at Umass Lowell serves the Department of Applied Physics among others. The laboratory contains a 1 MW pool-type nuclear research reactor (UMLRR) that has been operating since 1974, a 300 kCi Co-60 gamma ray source, and a 5.5 MV Van de Graff accelerator.

First startup was January 2, 1975.  A budget for the reactor is not provided from the university or from the state; funding comes from grants and the US Department of Energy.

Availability of information

Unlike the vast majority of university research reactors, the UMass Lowell research reactor has no official homepage. In the ABC 2005 Primetime special “Radioactive Roadtrip” it was reported that staff did not respond to emails and a tour could not be arranged but that an archived version of a virtual tour could be found online. This virtual tour, however, only contained 2 (about 300 pixel wide) small pictures and was pulled from the website in 2002. This is in contrast to other reactors, many of which have large clear pictures of the reactor pool and blue glow of the core on their homepages that are more detailed than what was ever on the Radiation Laboratory site.

In the ABC report, it was also reported that an officer of the Lowell (city) police force was not aware that the reactor was still in operation at all.

Conversion to LEU

The UMass Lowell reactor has been one of the many research reactors to make the conversion from high-enriched Uranium to low-enriched Uranium as a part of anti-terrorism security measures. The used HEU fuel was reportedly shipped to the Savannah River Site. The original shipping date was June 2002 but had been postponed many times. As of present day the shipments have been made and the reactor is in operation with LEU.

The University of Massachusetts-Lowell Research Reactor (UMLRR) has been serving the university and surrounding community since 1974. The UMLRR is a one-megawatt, steady-state, pool-type reactor. It is one of three facilities within the University of Massachusetts-Lowell Radiation Laboratory, which includes various Co-60 gamma irradiators and a 5.5 MV Van de Graff accelerator.

The principal purpose of the UMLRR is to provide a multidisciplinary facility for use in nuclear-related education and research. Although the main focus of the facility is on intra-university research, use by those outside the university is fully welcomed. Industry partnerships are also highly encouraged. Used by six UML departments and in 13 courses, the UMLRR supports existing degree programs in sciences, engineering, and other disciplines. Its use fosters interdisciplinary academic activity to support faculty and student research. The UMLRR also provides irradiation services benefiting government agencies and industry, and it supports outreach activities for pre-college students that encourage interest in science and engineering careers.

The UMLRR is currently involved with various biomedical research projects including: analytical testing of medical radiation oncology devices for treating cancer, developing optimized radiation doses for routine medical product sterilization, and developing stable-isotope biomedical tracer analytical techniques for research and diagnostics.

Radiation induced cross-linked polymers are being studied for medical applications in tissue engineering and improved prostheses. Various radiation effects research projects include: radiation induced materials enhancement for commercial and military applications, radiation resistant electronics testing for commercial, military, and NASA applications, and the development and testing of spent nuclear fuel storage shipment materials for corporations serving the U.S. and international nuclear power industries.

One of the most successful endeavors at the UMLRR is the Reactor Sharing Program sponsored by the Department of Energy. This program, which started at the University in l985, has become extremely popular with area schools, grades 7 through 12. The goal of this program is two-fold: to motivate pre-college students into developing an interest in the sciences, and to promote an understanding of nuclear energy issues while expanding learning opportunities. The program is comprehensive in that it includes lectures, hands-on experiments and tours of the UMLRR. Students and teachers may also participate via interactive two-way cable and satellite television. The lectures cover topics on environmental radiation, the uses of radiation in medicine, and the potential of nuclear energy.

The Radiation Laboratory at Umass Lowell serves the Department of Applied Physics among others. The laboratory contains a 1 MW pool-type nuclear research reactor (UMLRR) that has been operating since 1974, a 300 kCi Co-60 gamma ray source, and a 5.5 MV Van de Graff accelerator.
First startup was January 2, 1975.  A budget for the reactor is not provided from the university or from the state; funding comes from grants and the US Department of Energy.
Availability of information

Unlike the vast majority of university research reactors, the UMass Lowell research reactor has no official homepage. In the ABC 2005 Primetime special “Radioactive Roadtrip” it was reported that staff did not respond to emails and a tour could not be arranged but that an archived version of a virtual tour could be found online. This virtual tour, however, only contained 2 (about 300 pixel wide) small pictures and was pulled from the website in 2002. This is in contrast to other reactors, many of which have large clear pictures of the reactor pool and blue glow of the core on their homepages that are more detailed than what was ever on the Radiation Laboratory site.
In the ABC report, it was also reported that an officer of the Lowell (city) police force was not aware that the reactor was still in operation at all.

Conversion to LEU
The UMass Lowell reactor has been one of the many research reactors to make the conversion from high-enriched Uranium to low-enriched Uranium as a part of anti-terrorism security measures. The used HEU fuel was reportedly shipped to the Savannah River Site. The original shipping date was June 2002 but had been postponed many times. As of present day the shipments have been made and the reactor is in operation with LEU.

The University of Massachusetts-Lowell Research Reactor (UMLRR) has been serving the university and surrounding community since 1974. The UMLRR is a one-megawatt, steady-state, pool-type reactor. It is one of three facilities within the University of Massachusetts-Lowell Radiation Laboratory, which includes various Co-60 gamma irradiators and a 5.5 MV Van de Graff accelerator.
The principal purpose of the UMLRR is to provide a multidisciplinary facility for use in nuclear-related education and research. Although the main focus of the facility is on intra-university research, use by those outside the university is fully welcomed. Industry partnerships are also highly encouraged. Used by six UML departments and in 13 courses, the UMLRR supports existing degree programs in sciences, engineering, and other disciplines. Its use fosters interdisciplinary academic activity to support faculty and student research. The UMLRR also provides irradiation services benefiting government agencies and industry, and it supports outreach activities for pre-college students that encourage interest in science and engineering careers.

The UMLRR is currently involved with various biomedical research projects including: analytical testing of medical radiation oncology devices for treating cancer, developing optimized radiation doses for routine medical product sterilization, and developing stable-isotope biomedical tracer analytical techniques for research and diagnostics. 

Radiation induced cross-linked polymers are being studied for medical applications in tissue engineering and improved prostheses. Various radiation effects research projects include: radiation induced materials enhancement for commercial and military applications, radiation resistant electronics testing for commercial, military, and NASA applications, and the development and testing of spent nuclear fuel storage shipment materials for corporations serving the U.S. and international nuclear power industries. 

One of the most successful endeavors at the UMLRR is the Reactor Sharing Program sponsored by the Department of Energy. This program, which started at the University in l985, has become extremely popular with area schools, grades 7 through 12. The goal of this program is two-fold: to motivate pre-college students into developing an interest in the sciences, and to promote an understanding of nuclear energy issues while expanding learning opportunities. The program is comprehensive in that it includes lectures, hands-on experiments and tours of the UMLRR. Students and teachers may also participate via interactive two-way cable and satellite television. The lectures cover topics on environmental radiation, the uses of radiation in medicine, and the potential of nuclear energy. 


















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