University of Massachusetts Lowell Radiation Laboratory

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Reactor - University of Massachusetts Lowell - DSC00110.JPG
University of Massachusetts Lowell Radiation Laboratory is located in Massachusetts
University of Massachusetts Lowell Radiation Laboratory
Location of UMLRR
Operating Institution University of Massachusetts Lowell
Location Lowell, Massachusetts
Coordinates 42°39′17″N 71°19′30″W / 42.65472°N 71.32500°W / 42.65472; -71.32500Coordinates: 42°39′17″N 71°19′30″W / 42.65472°N 71.32500°W / 42.65472; -71.32500
Type tank
Power 860420650 cal(th)/h
Construction and Upkeep
Construction Cost $1.2 million USD
Construction Began 1974
First Criticality 1975 January 2
Annual Upkeep Cost $0.3 million USD
Staff 2
Operators 6
Technical Specifications
Max Thermal Flux 1.4e13 n/cm^2-s
Max Fast Flux 9.2e12 n/cm^2-s
Fuel Type plate type
18 per assembly
Cooling light water
Neutron Moderator light water
Neutron Reflector graphite, light water
Control Rods boron-aluminium (Boral)
4 per element
Cladding Material aluminium alloy

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 Graaff accelerator.


First startup was January 2, 1975.[1] A budget for the reactor is not provided from the university or from the state; funding comes from grants and the United States Department of Energy.[2][3]

Availability of information[edit]

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"Radioactive Roadtrip," it was reported that staff did not respond to emails and a tour could not be arranged but that an archived version of a virtual tour could be found online.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.[4] 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.[5]

Conversion to LEU[edit]

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.[6] 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.


  1. ^ Nuclear Research Reactors in the World
  2. ^ Velella, Rob. "Nuclear Fallout" from The UMass Lowell Connector (student newspaper). November 20, 2001. p. 1
  3. ^ Binney, S.E.; S.R. Reese; D.S. Pratt (February 22, 2000). "University Research Reactors: Contributing to the National Scientific and Engineering Infrastructure from 1953 to 2000 and Beyond". National Organization of Test, Research and Training Reactors. Retrieved 2007-04-07. 
  4. ^ Virtual tour
  5. ^ ABC News report
  6. ^

External links[edit]