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About PUR-1

PUR-1 stands for Purdue University Reactor Number One. It is the first and only nuclear reactor operating in Indiana. Its primary purpose is to teach Purdue Nuclear Engineering students about the fundamentals of reactor physics and operation. The university also uses the reactor as a neutron source for activation to support the engineering, health science, chemistry, pharmacy, agriculture, biology, and nanotechnology departments.

The reactor’s design power level is up to 10 kW and the facility currently runs at 1 kW. The core is about 2 cubic feet and rests at the bottom of a 17 foot deep pool which acts as both the moderator and the coolant. The maximum thermal flux is 2.1×1010 n/cm2·s. There are three full time employees that perform day-to-day operations.

The reactor was built in 1962 under a contract by the Lockheed Nuclear Corporation and is a Materials Test Reactor (MTR) with plate type uranium/aluminum fuel.

The facility welcomes the public to arrange a tour. Approximately 1500 people visit the facility annually including university students, high school students and the general public.

reactor pool


Meet Our Reactor Group

PUR-1 maintains a staff of three full time employees and one laboratory professor. Collectively we are responsible for the safe day-to-day operation and maintenance of the reactor. Feel free to reach out to any of us for information about the facility, getting a tour, or any nuclear related topics.

Dr. Robert Bean


Laboratory Director

The Laboratory Director maintains the vision and outlook for the PUR-1 facility. He most often gives lectures to visitors of the facility. The Director also is the primary point of contact to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which is the governmental oversight for the facility.

Clive Townsend


Reactor Supervisor/Assistant Lab Director

The Reactor Supervisor is responsible for the safe operation of PUR-1.  He is responsible for assuring that all operations are conducted in a safe manner and within the limits prescribed by the facility license, including the technical specifications and other applicable regulations.

David Storz


Electronics Technician

The Electronics Technician’s main role is to ensure all electrical components of the reactor controls are operating in a manner consistent with their purpose. Dave also assists in evaluating and maintaining the procedures for operation of the reactor.