Photo of students in the nuclear security lab

Radiation Science & Engineering Center

The Radiation Science & Engineering Center (RSEC) was established to manage Penn State's comprehensive nuclear research facilities, including the Breazeale Nuclear Reactor, Gamma Irradiation Facility, Radioactive sources and Radiation measurement resources. The RESC provides safe nuclear analytical and testing facilities in support of the research and education activities of faculty, staff, and students at Penn State. The Center's resources are also available to users from other universities and educational institutions, governmental agencies, and corporations as part of the public service functions of the Penn StateUniversity, symbolized by its status as the Land Grant Institution of The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The RSEC facilities, most of which are housed in the Breazeale Nuclear Reactor Building, are some of the most unique and flexible in the country.

The Technical staff of the center is available to:
Provide research and academic services to the Penn State community and outside academic, government and corporate users including:


  • Neutron Irradiation
  • Neutron Radiography
  • Neutron Activation Analysis (NAA)
  • Radioactive Isotope Production
  • Neutron Transmission Measurement
  • Nuclear Detector Testing and Calibration
  • Radiation Effects Testing on Materials and Electronics
  • Gamma Irradiation
  • Teach academic, corporate and government users how to safely carry out experiments utilizing the center's facilities.
  • Provide undergraduate and graduate demonstrations, laboratory classes, and research opportunities.
  • Provide tours, workshops and training to public and professional users, pre-college and college level students and educators.

Under Development

  • Cold Neutron Source
  • Prompt Gamma Activation Analysis (PGAA)
  • Neutron Depth Profiling (NDP)
  • Neutron Powder Diffraction (ND)

Radiation Science & Engineering Center Mission

The mission of The Penn State Radiation Science and Engineering Center (RSEC) is, in partnership with faculty, staff, students, alumni, government, and corporate leaders, to safely utilize nuclear technology to benefit society through education, research, and service.

The RSEC facilities have diverse and dedicated faculty and staff with a commitment to safety, excellence, quality, user satisfaction, innovative research, and education by example and teaching. It is the vision of the faculty and staff of the RSEC to become a leading national resource and make significant contributions in the following areas:


    Actively promote nuclear and personal safety and security in everything we do.


    Develop and deliver innovative educational programs and hands-on laboratory exercises to advance societal knowledge of nuclear science and engineering through resident instruction, continuing education and outreach for students of all ages and their educators.


    Expand leading edge research that increases fundamental knowledge of nuclear science and engineering particularly in the area of materials research applications of nuclear techniques, aspects of the new reactor designs, radiation detections, and radiochemistry.


    Expand and build diverse array of services and users by maintaining excellence, quality, user satisfaction, and efficient service to supplement university funding and enhance education and research.