40 Years UTPB - The University of Texas of the Permian Basin

The High Temperature Teaching and Test Reactor (HT3R) Reactor consists of several components:

  1. Hexagonal graphite prisms containing small finger-like graphite comacts full of advanced TRISO reactor fuel beads rather than traditional metal fuel rods.
  2. High-temperature and pressure helium coolant. Nearly all the helium on Earth is produced in Amarillo, TX. Helium is special because of its efficient cooling properties and because the helium itself cannot become radioactive when exposed to the reactor core. 
  3. A primary heat exchanger, allowing us to clean any residual fission products carried along by the helium and run our research experiments using totally non-radioactive nitrogen. Ultimately this minimizes radioactive materials from the reactor which will require later storage.
  4. Continual filtering and cleaning of any fission products from the helium coolant to keep contaminants to a minimum level.
  5. A special pressure vessel to contain the coolant, cleverly designed to have the pressure-bearing walls cooled by the incoming helium.
  6. Control rods, safety systems, and backup systems which we hope will make this reactor the safest reactor on the planet!
  7. Beam ports to allow &gamma - rays and neutrons produced in the nuclear reactions for scientific study of basic and applied nuclear processes.
  8. A "rabbit" to allow quick exposure for material samples while protecting the samples from the reactor heat.
  9. A unique capability for long-term irradiation of materials in the reactor environment, a capability which only a few research institutions in the world possess.
  10. Stable thermal characteristics even in the event that the helium coolant is vented...