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At 27 years old, MNRC remains one of “newest” nuclear reactors in U.S., but industry may be waking up

January 17, 2017

By Lisa Howard


On January 20, 1990, when the nuclear reactor at McClellan Air Force Base achieved its first sustained nuclear reaction known as “criticality,” it was the newest reactor in the United States.

Six years later, when the Tennessee Valley Authority launched the Watts Bar Nuclear Generating Station, the reactor at McClellan was relegated to second newest. McClellan would go on to retain that ranking for another two decades until this past October when the Tennessee Valley Authority launched Watts Bar Unit 2.

Our Research Reactor, Across the Causeway

November 01, 2016

It may not be able to power a city, but UC Davis’ nuclear reactor at McClellan Park has inspected components that will end up on Mars, inspired students and helped faculty with research projects.

Leaders with the McClellan Nuclear Research Center and Office of Research recently made a pitch to faculty and staff: Bring your classes — and your research projects — to the Sacramento reactor.

McClellan Nuclear Research Center Receives “Green Light” on Strategic Plan, Appoints New Director

September 01, 2016

The McClellan Nuclear Research Center (MNRC), owned and operated by UC Davis, has received approval from campus leadership to proceed with the implementation of a recently developed strategic plan that sets the direction for the facility over the next 5+ years. As part of the continued commitment, Wesley Frey, Ph.D., formerly the center’s radiation safety officer, has been appointed as the new director.

UC Davis reactor gets a role in Mars mission

April 15, 2015

As NASA prepares for manned missions into deep space, UC Davis’ McClellan Nuclear Research Center is playing an integral role in the groundwork.

The center recently helped develop a technique for performing neutron radiography on a breakable ring used in rocket stage separation. After the launch sequence, different modules will separate from each other when an explosive core in the ring detonates. Such rings will eventually be used on Orion, the spacecraft intended to bring humans to Mars in the 2030s, and likely also will be tested at MNRC.