The Nuclear Engineering program's facilities offer interactive learning, research, and cutting-edge technologies to students and faculty.

Nuclear Engineering Teaching Laboratories

  • AGN -201M Nuclear Training Reactor
  • Hot-cell facility with remote manipulators
  • Graphite pile
  • Several solid state detectors for alpha, beta, and gamma radiation
  • Computer based data acquisition, analysis and control systems
  • Supporting radiation measurements systems

Graduate students also have access to resources available through our associated centers and affiliated research facilities.

Nuclear Engineering Research Laboratories

Extreme Materials Lab

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Extreme Materials group is working on development, testing and qualification of materials for extreme environments including advanced nuclear reactors and deep space exploration. We focus on establishing microstructure-physical property relations at irradiation and mechanical extremes. Our capabilities include mechanical testing of radioactive materials (up to 2.5 Ci) in a hot cell, heavy metal corrosion testing in a flowing lead loop (up to 3 m/s), microstructure characterization using an FEI Helios 650 dual beam equipment.

Advanced Thermal-Hydraulic Laboratory

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Research and development in heat transport systems for advanced nuclear reactors (Molten Salt Reactors, High-Temperature Gas-cooled Reactor, Liquid Metal Cooled Fast Reactors, Nuclear Microreactors) and Gen-III Concentrated Solar Power Plants, as well as analyzing Accident Tolerant Fuels for Light-Water Reactors.

Radiation Detection and Detector Development Laboratory

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In the Radiation Detection and Detector Development Laboratory, Prof. Hecht and his group work addressing nuclear safeguards, nonproliferation, and nuclear data needs, especially fission yield data. Current projects include the UNM Fission Spectrometer, machine learning for nuclide threat identification, muon imaging based CT of used fuel storage casks, and developing on-chip solid-state room-temperature radiation detection.

Thermal-hydraulics and Energy Conversion Laboratory

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We conduct experiments investigating effect of surface roughness and inclination angle on nucleate boiling heat transfer and Critical Heat Flux. Results apply to cooling high power electronica and operation and safety of advanced reactors. In addition to measuring contact angle on surfaces of interest, we capture high speed images and still photographs of nucleate boiling to characterize bubble ebullition cycle and departure diameter and frequency. We have two complete systems for materials and lifetime testing in hard vacuum, including advanced thermometric for uses in nuclear reactor and radioisotope power systems for electrical propulsion, space exploration and planetary surface power. We also conduct experimental and computational fluid dynamic investigations in support of lead cooled advanced reactors.

Computer Facilities

Computers provide the basic computational tool for today's modern engineer. The department maintains a computer pod equipped with state-of-the-art PC computers connected to The University of New Mexico network and the Internet. Additional computers are available in one of the many University of New Mexico computer pods maintained by The University of New Mexico's Computer and Information Resources and Technology Division. The UNM high performance computer center participates in the new Internet II high speed communication system.

Farris Engineering Center

Farris Engineering houses Nuclear Engineering, Chemical and Biological Engineering, and Computer Sciences. The Department Chairs for Nuclear Engineering and Chemical and Biological Engineering assisted with the interior design to provide students with conference rooms, white boards, their own Student Lounge, computer labs, and office space for Research Assistances, Faculty, Staff, and Visiting faculty from the national Laboratories.