North Carolina Funds a Study for an Advanced Research Reactor at NC State University

The FY 2024 State of North Carolina budget has allocated $3 Million for North Carolina State University to conduct a study to assess the feasibility for the establishment of an advanced nuclear research reactor at the University. The feasibility study may include all of the following matters: (1) Assessment of site selection for a reactor, (2) Study and analysis of potential environmental impacts, (3) Analysis of licensing requirements for a reactor, (4) Engineering and construction evaluation of a reactor and associated laboratories, including cost estimates, (5) Utilization analysis, including capability development for advanced nuclear power generation in the State, (6) Vendor and contractor evaluation, and (7) Identification of the potential for collaboration with industry, other academic institutions, and State and federal entities.

This budget allocation represents a key step to build on past achievements and forge the future of the Nuclear Engineering Department and Reactor Program at NC State. In addition, it will usher in activities to bring advanced nuclear reactors to the University and the State. In 1952, NC State University led the world in establishing the first civilian nuclear reactor.  With this support, the University, through its Department of Nuclear Engineering and the Nuclear Reactor Program (NRP), will be poised to lead, in the 21st Century, in exploring advanced reactor technology for applications in clean energy production, industrial development, and medical research.  Moreover, it will aid the State and the Nation to establish advanced infrastructure, which is necessary to meet global competition in science and engineering education and research.

The Department of Nuclear Engineering at NC State is ranked in the top 3 nationally.  It is one of the largest departments in the nation and is home to 27 faculty members and over 300 graduate and undergraduate students.  The NRP houses the 1-MW PULSTAR reactor, which is one of the most efficiently operated reactors in the nation and is home to unique nuclear capabilities at a global scale, which includes neutron probes and sources, anti-matter beams, and advanced facilities for nondestructive testing including nuclear fuel and materials. Both the Department and the NRP are nationally and internationally engaged in the development of advanced nuclear technology and are recognized for their innovation and impact.