ANS Dedicates Reactor as Nuclear Historic Landmark on 50th Anniversary

ANS Dedicates Reactor as Nuclear Historic Landmark on 50th Anniversary

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La Grange Park, IL, – The American Nuclear Society (ANS) honored the Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) with the ANS Nuclear Historic Landmark Award on April 13. The HFIR has been providing neutrons for research and isotope production for five decades, including neutron analysis used in the investigation of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The HFIR is the sixth ANS Landmark designation for the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The ANS Nuclear Historic Landmark Award identifies and memorializes sites or facilities where outstanding physical accomplishments took place, and which were instrumental in the advancement and implementation of nuclear technology and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. This year, the HFIR celebrates its 50th year of providing advancements and contributions to the nuclear industry.

"As we mark HFIR's half-century and the American Nuclear Society's Landmark Award, this facility remains one of the world's top destinations for reactor-based neutron science, isotope production and materials irradiation research," ORNL Director Thom Mason said. "That is truly a testament to HFIR's original design and to the excellence of its operation over the years. We expect many more years of cutting-edge science from this research reactor.”

The HFIR has the highest continuous thermal neutron flux in the world and remains one of the world's sole sources of the unique radioisotope californium-252, used in medicine, research, and industry. Its capabilities have influenced environmental studies, nuclear forensics, and criminal forensics. HFIR is currently a Department of Energy Office of Science User Facility and, most recently, it was used to discover and confirm the existence of man-made element 117.“The American Nuclear Society Nuclear Historic Landmark Award signifies that a nuclear facility has played an important role in nuclear science and engineering,” ANS President Mikey Brady Raap said.

Sites or facilities nominated should have been placed in service at least 20 years prior to nomination.  HFIR joins the Graphite Reactor, Tower Shielding Reactor, Oak Ridge Electron Linear Accelerator, the Molten Salt Reactor and the Radiochemical Processing Plant (Building 3019) as ANS Nuclear Historic Landmarks at ORNL.

The reactor was recognized by the ANS honors and awards committee with approval by the board of directors.


Established in 1954, ANS is an international professional organization of engineers and scientists devoted to the peaceful applications of nuclear science and technology. Its more than 11,000 members represent government, academia, research laboratories, medical facilities and private industry.