Nuclear research and education began at Oregon State University soon after World War II. Classes in nuclear physics and radiochemistry began in the early 1950s and, in 1955, a cyclotron was constructed. A graduate program in nuclear engineering was established in 1959 and, beginning in 1960, a committee recommended that a research lab be built to house nuclear and radiation facilities. Funding was secured in the fall of 1962, and construction on the OSU Radiation Center began in early 1964. Laboratory space in the Center was occupied as early as August 1964. In January 1967, a 250 kilowatt research reactor (OSTR) was completed. Under the guidance of the Center's first director, Chih H. Wang, the reactor was upgraded to a 1 megawatt output and the Radiation Center facilities were expanded significantly to include radiography facilities, a Co-60 gamma irradiator, an x-ray generator, and other highly specialized equipment. The Radiation Center housed the Nuclear Engineering Program, provided instruction and access for dozens of courses annually, and engaged in a major reactor use sharing program with other institutions in Oregon and beyond. The Radiation Center staff also established research contracts with the U.S. military, public utilities, and private research groups and provided neutron activation analysis services to law enforcement agencies around the state.
The Radiation Center continues to operate today with an expanded array of facilities, instrumentation, and services.
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