Research Opportunities

Rensselaer’s NE program boasts two world-class nuclear facilities: The Gaerttner Linear Accelerator (LINAC) Facility and the Walthousen Reactor Critical Facility (RCF). Over the years, these facilities have provided invaluable research and educational opportunities to faculty and students in the NE program.


Located at the east-side boundary of the Troy campus on the Tibbits Avenue, the Gaerttner Linear Accelerator (LINAC) Facility began its construction in 1958 with funding from the Atomic Energy Commission and the facility became operational in December 1961. As a major nuclear research and educational tool of the newly established nuclear program faculty at that time, the layout of the facility was designed to produce electrons, x-ray photons, and neutrons, thus serving a large number of research applications involving nuclear engineering, nuclear physics, radiation effects in electronics, nondestructive testing, radiation processing of materials, computed tomography, and other industrial processes.


IThe RCF was originally built by the American Locomotive Company (ALCO), for the purpose of entering the evolving niche market for small, portable reactor plants. After winning a bid from the Atomic Energy Commission, ALCO built the prototype Army Package Power Reactor (APPR-1, later re-designated as SM-1), at the cost of $300,000, in 1954 in Schenectady, NY approximately 40 minutes from the Troy campus. The reactor was designed to use highly enriched (weapons grade) fuel and the prototype became operational after the startup on August 26, 1956.

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