Reed Research Reactor

Incoming Students

The majority of our staff are Reed students. First and second year students are welcome to join the training program! There are no prerequisites to joining the program, and students from all academic backgrounds are welcome to join. Students from the Young Scholars program are also welcome to join. Information sessions will be held during Orientation Week. 

The training program consists of weekly lectures and labs. The lectures are held on Mondays from 7:45-8:50pm. Lectures cover reactor operation, radiation theory, reactor physics, detectors, cooling systems, console electronics, emergency planning and preparation, radiation safety, and more!

The lab portion will have Wednesday and Thursday evening sections to apply skills necessary to operate the reactor and hands-on learning. In addition to lectures and labs, there are weekly homework assignments and checkoffs (oral quizzes administered by current staff). Training Supervisors hold weekly office hours. Students with disabilities may contact the Training Supervisors for assistance and/or accommodations.

In October, students can apply for one of the 15 spots offered to continue the program in the Spring. Once they have been selected, students may choose to continue the program as a technician (unlicensed staff member) or as a license candidate. All trainees will finish the training program. The license candidates will take the Reactor Operator (RO) license exam in March, during Reed's Spring Break. The RO license exam is a federal exam adminstered by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and consists of a three-hour written exam and a four-hour facility exam. 

In January, all staff are encouraged return two weeks before Spring Semester begins for two weeks of annual maintenance, work, and training. 

All of this information will be publicized during Orientation Week and the first week of classes. If you miss the notices or have any questions, feel free to email the Reactor Operations Manager or the Training Supervisors (see Reactor Staff).

“The RRR training program is more than just preparation for a technical qualification — it’s a wonderful introduction to the worlds of management, applied science, and engineering. The skills the training curriculum develops have been crucial to my development as a scientist and a student, and I’m confident that anyone, no matter their major or academic background, will take immense value from participating in the training program.“ - Henry (he/him), Senior Reactor Operator, Biochemistry/Molecular Biology ‘24

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A staff member teaches a trainee how to operate the reactor. Credit: Patrick Park