The High Flux Isotope Reactor, or HFIR, now in its 48th year of providing neutrons for research and isotope production at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, has been designated a Nuclear Historic Landmark by the American Nuclear Society.
“This designation from the ANS recognizes HFIR’s role in the history of the nuclear age, but it also speaks to the excellence of its design and operation,” ORNL Director Thom Mason said. “HFIR remains one of the world’s most capable reactor-based neutron science, radioisotope production, and materials irradiation facilities, and we expect that to continue for many years.”
The designation was proposed by the ANS honors and awards committee and approved on initial ballot by the board of directors.
“The ANS Nuclear Historic Landmark signifies that a nuclear facility has played an important role in nuclear science and engineering,” ANS President Michaele C. Brady Raap said. “HFIR, with its preeminent role in isotope production and neutron science, certainly meets that criteria.”
The reactor was conceived in the late 1950s as a production reactor to meet anticipated demand for transuranic isotopes (“heavy” elements such as plutonium and curium). HFIR today is a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science User Facility and one of the world’s sole sources of the radioisotope californium-252, used in industry and medicine. ORNL is a DOE lab. [Read more…]