Reed Research Reactor

Reed Reactor Visitor Information

[ Visits and Tours | Labs and Demonstrations ]

Visits and Tours

We offer free tours and labs to students and educational institutions. If you would like to visit the reactor, for a tour or 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

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 24 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.


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. 

Note: In general, we do not offer tours to members of the public that are not associated with educational institutions or otherwise fulfilling an educational mission.

When visiting the Reed Reactor:

  • You will be asked to leave bags and heavy coats in the hallway.
  • You will be asked to leave food and beverage in the hallway.
  • You will be asked to print your name in our Visitor Log.
  • You may be asked for photo identification.
  • 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 operators.  

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).

Silver Dime Lab (Gamma Spectroscopy)

This is a simple introduction to Gamma Spectroscopy. We use neutron activation analysis to identify silver as a component of some dimes (made before 1964) but not others. Good for a range of ages, but more of a demonstration than a hands-on activity.

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).

Time, distance and Shielding

Students will measure radiation in different circumstances to demonstrate the basic traits of radiation and radiation protection. Good for students who already have a basic understanding of radiation. 

Visits and Tours | Labs and Demonstrations ]