Columbia University Archives
 

TRIGA reactor records, 1967-1981

Summary Information

Abstract

The collection consists of the TRIGA reactor records from 1967 to 1972 as well as correspondence with the US Atomic Energy Commission from 1978 to 1981.

At a Glance

Call No.: UA#0284
Bib ID 6948211 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Columbia University
Title TRIGA reactor records, 1967-1981
Physical Description 2 linear feet (2 record cartons)
Language(s) English .
Access

This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

All administrative records of the University are restricted for 25 years from the date of creation.

Arrangement

Arrangement

This collection is arranged in one series: Series I: TRIGA reactor records, 1967-1981.

Description

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of correspondence, proposals, testimony, reports, legal decisions, press releases, product descriptions, petitions, and other materials relating to the TRIGA nuclear reactor that was to have been installed in Engineering Terrace in the late 1960s to early 1970s as a "teaching reactor" for use and study by students.

Correspondence includes that between the University's counsel and its president, between and among physics and other faculty, University administrators, including Robert K. Novick, Director of the Columbia Radiation Laboratory; the Atomic Energy Commission, and General Dynamics. Correspondence and testimony for and against the reactor's presence on the Morningside campus is scattered throughout the files.

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Restrictions on Access

This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

All administrative records of the University are restricted for 25 years from the date of creation.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); TRIGA reactor records; Box and Folder; University Archives, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University Libraries.

Related Materials

Additional materials related to the TRIGA reactor at Columbia can be found in Central Files (UA#0001) (find under Triga Research Reactor, Triga Atomic Reactor and/or Triga Reactor and Classified research file, Box 635) and in Historical subject files (UA#0002).

Accruals

No additions are expected.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Revision Description

2020-05-04 Full finding aid (JR)

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.

Subject

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Columbia University Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Columbia University. School of Engineering Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Nuclear energy -- New York (State) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Nuclear energy -- Research Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical / Historical

As part of the Nuclear Science and Engineering program, a nuclear reactor was built for education and research purposes in the Engineering Terrace building. The application for construction was accepted by the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) in 1963 and the building project was completed in April 1967 at a total cost of approximately one million dollars. However, the reactor was never fueled and was never radioactive. When Columbia applied to the AEC for an operating license, they received numerous petitions for intervention from residents and activists. Due to the prevailing climate at that time (student unrest and community opposition), Columbia asked AEC to place a hold on the application for the operating license. Columbia reapplied in summer 1969 but the application was denied by the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) because of conflicting estimates of the amount of radioactive material that would be released in a postulated accident. In 1971 an Appeal Board overturned the original ASLB decision and recommended issuance of a license to Columbia. In 1972 interveners filed a petition in the U.S. Court of Appeals for a review of the decision, which the Court later denied. The interveners then petitioned the Supreme Court for review of the Appeal Board decision. By 1974 Columbia was in the process of re-evaluating the Nuclear Science and Engineering program and the need for the nuclear reactor. With changes in upper management and financial considerations, the project was put on indefinite hold. The related instruments were donated to other institutions.