UMD Training Reactor Hits 5K Operations

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A tour of the radiation facilities was offered to the most recent group of Reactor Operator Trainees.  

On September 14, 2021, the 250 kW Maryland University Training Reactor (MUTR) conducted its 5,000th operation.

An operation is recorded each time the reactor starts up – the first startup was June 18, 1974, although the history of the radiation facilities on campus goes back to 1954 when nuclear engineering courses were first offered.

“The MUTR  has safely and reliably operated for numerous research projects and countless tours for federal agencies, classes, outreach activities and interested members of the public over the last five decades,” said Amber Johnson, Radiation Facilities Director. “We are delighted to be the group that turned the reactor on for the 5000th operation and we are looking forward to 5000 more!”

In addition to the reactor, the facilities also house a Panoramic Co-60 Irradiator, an Electron Linear Accelerator and a Cyclotron.

“We can also provide a variety of irradiations, radiation measurements and educational services,” Johnson said. “This past summer, we partnered with a NIST researcher and their high school intern to accurately characterize the flux of our in-core experimental facility. This facility is ideal for neutron activation analysis studies.”

Moreover, Johnson is always on the look-out for additional reactor operators – students of any major can apply – time, discipline and math skills are all that are required. An advantage to the one-year training program is that operators can become certified by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

For additional information on facilities’ services, or to inquire about becoming a Reactor Operator Trainee, please send an email to

Published September 17, 2021