Nuclear Security Education Laboratory

The primary goal of this laboratory is to provide students with hands-on experience with radiation detection systems, sensors, devices, and source technologies. Students can become familiar with major radiation detectors/sensors and radiation sources, understand the principles of radiation interactions with matter, demonstrate an understanding of the principles of radiation detection and measurement, nuclear instrumentation, detectors/sensors, field deployable devices, portal monitors, dosimeters, and nondestructive and destructive assay methods, as well as demonstrate an ability to conduct experiments, acquire data, and analyze and interpret the data. The following experiments are designed and included in the course designed for the equipment in this laboratory: neutron multiplicity measurements, identifying the differences between neutron emissions from (a, n) reactions and spontaneous fission sources by use of neutron counting and neutron coincidence counting measurements, gamma-ray spectroscopy systems for versatile in-situ counting (identification of unknown radionuclides with various gamma spectroscopy systems), environmental media characterization (soil, air, water, etc.), alpha source activity determination, special nuclear materials gamma-ray spectroscopy analysis, measurement of 235U enrichment and quantity of uranium in a sample, Pu/U ratio analysis, Pu isotopic composition determination by gamma-ray spectroscopy, radiation counting of known source materials for counting statistics, precision and accuracy, and MDA determination, determinate corrections in radiation counting (absorption, backscatter, geometry considerations, detectors and supporting electronics), liquid scintillator detectors for pulse shape discrimination for neutron and gamma-ray sources, and absolute activity measurement using coincidence counting.
Nuclear Security Lab at RSEC


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 RSEC provides safe nuclear analytical and testing facilities in support of the research and education activities of faculty, staff, and students at Penn State.

Radiation Science & Engineering Center

101 Breazeale Nuclear Reactor

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4710

Phone: 814-865-6351