The High Flux Isotope Reactor at ORNL

Aerial of the High Flux Isotope Reactor Site

The High Flux Isotope Reactor site is located on the south side of the ORNL campus and is about a three-minute drive from her sister neutron facility, the Spallation Neutron Source.

Operating at 85 MW, HFIR is the highest flux reactor-based source of neutrons for research in the United States, and it provides one of the highest steady-state neutron fluxes of any research reactor in the world. The thermal and cold neutrons produced by HFIR are used to study physics, chemistry, materials science, engineering, and biology. The intense neutron flux, constant power density, and constant-length fuel cycles are used by more than 500 researchers each year for neutron scattering research into the fundamental properties of condensed matter.

The neutron scattering research facilities at HFIR contain a world-class collection of instruments used for fundamental and applied research on the structure and dynamics of matter. HFIR is also used for medical, industrial, and research isotope production; research on severe neutron damage to materials; and neutron activation analysis to examine trace elements in the environment. Additionally, the building houses a gamma irradiation facility that uses spent fuel assemblies and is capable of providing high gamma doses for studies of the effects of radiation on materials.