Microreactor - Timeline

Project Timeline

View the history of nuclear technology in Illinois and our future milestones for the project.

 

First human-made self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction

Enrico Fermi, the Italian-born Nobel Prize-winning physicist, directs and controls the first nuclear chain reaction in his laboratory beneath the bleachers of Stagg Field at the University of Chicago, ushering in the nuclear age. Upon successful completion of the experiment, a coded message was transmitted to President Roosevelt: “The Italian navigator has landed in the new world.” (History.com)

1942

TRIGA goes critical

TRIGA, officially known as the University of Illinois Advanced Teaching Research Isotope General Atomic (TRIGA Mark II) Reactor,  went critical on August 16, 1960. The reactor was extremely popular, being used primarily for the training of students in nuclear engineering, but also as an interdisciplinary facility, with the Departments of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Physiology and Biophysics, Physics and various other engineering departments all competing for time with the facility.

1960

TRIGA reactor closes

Administrative decisions led to TRIGA’s shuttering in 1998.

1998

TRIGA reactor's fuel is removed

2004

Nuclear reactor building dismantled

The dismantlement of the remaining portions of the reactor and Nuclear Reactor Building on the Urbana campus were completed in 2012.

2012

HIDRA arrives at UIUC

HIDRA (Hybrid Illinois Device for Research and Applications), the multi-million dollar plasma/fusion advanced physics testing facility, arrives on the UIUC campus. With HIDRA, the University joins a short list of universities worldwide that have an operating fusion device on its campus. 

2014

TRIGA reactor named National Historic Landmark

The former TRIGA reactor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was designated as a National Historic Landmark by the American Nuclear Society. It was cited for “educating students in reactor operations,” and for “groundbreaking research in the areas of fission fragment physics, nuclear pumped lasers, nuclear batteries, neutron activation analysis, radioisotope production, nuclear reactor kinetics, coupled core kinetics, and neutron pulse propagation.”

2015

Reddit AMA with students and stakeholders

In September 2020, the micro-reactor team hosted a Reddit AMA to field questions from people interested in the project. You can read the full archived AMA here.

2020

University hosts forum to discuss the role of nuclear on campus

2020

Letter of Intent to NRC

UIUC submitted a letter of intent to the NRC to apply for a license to construct a research and test reactor facility on the UIUC campus, the first step in the NRC’s two-step license process.

2021

NRC holds first public meeting with UIUC

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission hosted a public meeting to discuss the future application's regulatory engagement plan for the UIUC construction permit.

2021

UIUC completes a Formal Memorandum of Understanding with USNC

In November 2021, UIUC completed a Formal Memorandum of Understanding with Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation.

2021

UIUC submits Regulatory Engagement Plan to NRC

In December 2021, UIUC submitted a Regulatory Engagement Plan to the U.S. NRC, as the next part of the licensing process.

2021

AECOM joins UIUC to write Environmental Impact Statement

In June 2022, AECOM began work with UIUC to assemble the first draft EIS for submission to the NRC.

2022

104(c) Licensing Pathway White Paper submitted to NRC

In late June 2022, the University of Illinois submitted a white paper to the NRC outlining the project team's request to follow the 104(c) Licensing Pathway for Research and Test Reactors.

2022

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