GAITHERSBURG, Md. — The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has received authorization from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to restart its research reactor. The NIST Center for Neutron Research reactor has been shut down since Feb. 3, 2021, when a single fuel element overheated and was damaged because it was not securely latched into place.
The NIST reactor is used for a broad range of research and operates at far lower power, temperature, and pressure conditions than utility reactors that generate electricity. The NRC’s extensive review of this incident showed that the public was safe at all times during the event.