Renting time at the nuclear reactor?

This forum is for other possible methods for fusion such as Sonolumenescense, Cold Fusion, CANR/LENR or accelerator fusion. It should contain all theory, discussions and even construction and URLs related to "other than fusor, fusion".
Post Reply
Strat-O
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2010 4:52 am
Real name:

Renting time at the nuclear reactor?

Post by Strat-O » Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:01 pm

Are there any nuclear reactors in the US or elsewhere that allow private indivuduals or businesses to submit either self-contained research packages or self-contained production packages to be exposed to either fast neutrons or moderated neutrons?

I'm considering not only of reactors tasked with electricity generation but also of research reactors.

I'm thinking that you could create this unshielded box probably made of 1/2" clear acrylic with materials inside secured from rattling around. Perhaps the box could be a microlab that performs chemical reactions, or maybe has a micro-controller unit and has various electronic sensors. Or maybe it just contains some sort of bulk material or reflectors for performing some sort of neutron-activated transmutations.

User avatar
Jim Kovalchick
Posts: 455
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2011 12:00 am
Real name:

Re: Renting time at the nuclear reactor?

Post by Jim Kovalchick » Wed Jan 02, 2013 11:41 pm

It is not likely that a commercial nuclear reactor would participate in endeavors like this. First, their cores aren't really designed to accept experiments, and logistically it would be difficult to work this into their operating cycle at a reasonable cost unless one was willing to pay very big bucks.
.
For the right price I believe there would be research reactor facilities who would consider taking this on. University reactors especially are often in search of funded projects to keep their facilities operating for educational purposes.

I know the University of Maryland reactor folks are looking for customers. I'm sure there are limits to how small or large a project they will carry, but might be worth a call to them.

Good luck

User avatar
Carl Willis
Posts: 2841
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2001 11:33 pm
Real name: Carl Willis
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
Contact:

Re: Renting time at the nuclear reactor?

Post by Carl Willis » Thu Jan 03, 2013 12:08 am

Many research reactors at US universities support their existence in part by providing services to private industry. I am familiar with the services offered by the Ohio State University Research Reactor, both as a private consumer of these services and as someone who has seen the kinds of projects other industries sent to the reactor during my student days there.

To my knowledge, power reactors don't sell irradiation services except to a few government-sponsored projects. They are single-mindedly concerned with turning a generator.

To get an idea about what is and is not possible, you really just need to talk to the director of a nearby reactor facility. All are different, and if one cannot accommodate what you want to do, they can point you in the right direction. Of particular note is that not all reactor facilities are licensed to distribute byproduct material, and some that are licensed to distribute may only be able to distribute to holders of specific licenses encompassing the relevant materials. That means they generally will not give you back stuff that has been activated in the reactor (it will be treated as waste), even though they can perform experiments with it on your orders.

The type of experiments a facility can perform varies widely based on equipment and technical specifications. You can expect strict limits on the size, mass and composition of things that are put in the reactor. Most reactors routinely perform activation analysis on small (e.g. pipette-vial-sized), dilute samples. Large samples or apparatus require approval from a safety committee that considers the hazards on a case-by-case basis. They typically want to keep the reactivity insertion below a certain level and prevent physical and chemical harm to the equipment.

-Carl
Carl Willis
http://carlwillis.wordpress.com/
TEL: +1-505-412-3277

Strat-O
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Jun 11, 2010 4:52 am
Real name:

Re: Renting time at the nuclear reactor?

Post by Strat-O » Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:30 pm

Thanks Jim and Carl. I may look into this further. A nearby source would be helpful but I am not seeing any research reactors near Houston TX when I Google around. I'm within walking distance of Rice University but they don't seem to be too big when it comes to nuclear physics.

Tyler Christensen
Site Admin
Posts: 551
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2009 2:08 am
Real name:

Re: Renting time at the nuclear reactor?

Post by Tyler Christensen » Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:43 pm

Depending on what flux you're really requiring, you might have better luck getting it in front of an accelerator than a reactor, especially assuming this is a personal project unaffiliated with a professional lab. In my experience, fission reactors tend to be under multiple layers of intense security, while even large accelerators are kept in unlocked rooms. I can't imagine any reactor would take on the security risk of a personal project.

User avatar
Jim Kovalchick
Posts: 455
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2011 12:00 am
Real name:

Re: Renting time at the nuclear reactor?

Post by Jim Kovalchick » Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:17 pm

Tyler,
If by security risk, you mean that a facility would insist that they completely understand what gets brought in then I think you are right, and I also agree with the premise that a legitimate research facility isn't going to deal with just any private entity where their motives aren't completely visible.

Research reactors can and do irradiate material for the purposes of others. For example, in the eighties, I worked part time as a reactor operator for a research reactor which operated full power 24 hours a day, five days a week irradiating micro-Charpy v-notch specimens for EPRI. The specimens were for industry validation of neutron flux damage and had nothing to to with the university that ran the reactor. The EPRI project paid for the operating costs and therefore indirectly paid for a lot concurrent research by university students. My son and I recently visited the research reactor at Penn State, and we saw a fast flux irradiation project in their pool that was part of work being done by a sponsor entity that also apparently wasn't university research.

Research reactors get more and more expensive to run especially with ever changing security and safety requirements. I know from my conversations with the folks that run a nearby university reactor that they desperately want to continue to operate the facility, but they need to make sure it is the right business decision. Though I am sure that they would remain concerned to preserve facility sercurity and the reputation of the school, they would entertain opportunities to get sponsored projects to help cover operating costs especially because it could me the difference in a decision to shutdown the facility down forever.

SnatchJohnson
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2013 3:56 pm
Real name:

Re: Renting time at the nuclear reactor?

Post by SnatchJohnson » Fri Mar 08, 2013 2:11 pm

Kansas State University up in Manhattan Kansas has a lot of grad students come there from all over the midwest and do research somewhat often. You could try to call them up. I know it is not in Texas; but it is much closer Maryland.

User avatar
Dennis P Brown
Posts: 1996
Joined: Sun May 20, 2012 2:46 pm
Real name: Dennis P Brown
Location: Glen Arm, MD

Re: Renting time at the nuclear reactor?

Post by Dennis P Brown » Fri Mar 08, 2013 2:57 pm

An important legal issue is getting any required license/approval to own/have any radioactive materials that are generated. The NRC should be consulted - they will give you any requirements, handling issues/disposal requirements, and what and/or if any are needed at all. Universities would be far more willing to accept your proposal if you have 'jumped' that hurtle. It would also address most safety/legal issues.

Tim Koeth
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Jun 24, 2013 8:51 pm
Real name: Tim Koeth

Re: Renting time at the nuclear reactor?

Post by Tim Koeth » Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:17 pm

We do allot time for "service work" at the University of Maryland reactor (I am the associate director of the facility). However, the project/experiment has to come in the form of a proposal that is reviewed by a safety committee. Details of activation and generation of radioactive materials need to be addressed. You can contact me for details if you are serious.

Post Reply