Reed Research Reactor

Reed Reactor Visitor Information

[ Visits and Tours | Labs and Demonstrations ]

Visits and Tours

We are offering in-person tours again as of August 17th, 2021! Please review our COVID-19 guidelines before you schedule a tour. 

If you would like to take a virtual tour of the reactor, please click this link. There are also three videos about the reactor on YouTube: the first is from 2011 (1 min)the second is from 2012 (25 min), and the third is from 2018 (4 min). 
For a virtual lab, please see this basic virtual radioactive decay lab, or a hands-on lab that students should be able to do at home. We have filmed two labs you can follow along with at home: a vanadium half-life lab (with accompanying worksheet) and a shielding lab (with accompanying worksheet). The American Nuclear Society has a large variety of classroom resources as well. 
If you would like to calculate your background radiation dose, use this online worksheet.

We offer free tours and labs to educational groups. If you would like to visit the reactor for a tour and/or a lab please fill out a Tour Request Form. We will try to get back to you within 3 business days. For more information email us at Note: In general, we do not offer tours to individual members of the public, or groups that are not associated with educational institutions or programs fulfilling an educational mission.

The tour lasts about 1 hour, and covers a wide range of topic, from the basics of reactor physics, to the operator training program, and the science we do at our reactor. Tours can easily be tailored for many different age groups and levels of education, from about sixth graders to adults. In addition to tours, we offer a variety of labs, listed below. 

We ask that you limit your group size to 30 people, and take responsibility for chaperoning any young children. If anyone in your group requires any specific accommodations (such as wheel chair access, a translator, ect.) let us know beforehand so we can make any arrangements necessary. Minimum age for tours and labs is 10 years old.

We meet visiting groups in the Chemistry Building Lobby. Directions to Reed College can be found here and a campus map can be found here. 

When visiting the Reed Reactor:

  • You will be asked to leave food and beverage outside.
  • You will be asked to leave bags and heavy coats in the hallway.
  • You will be asked to print your name in our Visitor Log.
  • You may be asked for photo identification if you are an adult.
  • You should wear closed-toe shoes.
  • You must ask permission before taking photos or video.

Visits and Tours | Labs and Demonstrations ]

Labs and Demonstrations

These are the labs we do most often. Labs are best suited for 6-12 students, last about 1 hour and will be run by student staff members.  

Vanadium Half-life lab

We measure the half-life of a short-lived radioisotope. This is our most popular lab and scales well for a variety of age groups.

Silver Dime Lab (Half-Life)

This is a slightly more sophisticated version of the Half-life lab. Allow students to measure the radiation coming off of dimes, which have two simultaneously decaying isotopes of silver. Good for older groups (College and some high school groups).

Detecting Radiation

Student will learn good survey technique as you get the opportunity to detect the common sources of radiation from our everyday lives. Good for younger groups (8th grade and younger).


Visits and Tours | Labs and Demonstrations ]