The University of Utah is complying with its agreement to improve management of its research nuclear reactor, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission says.
An NRC inspection five months ago determined the university was in violation of several federal standards, including requirements covering monitoring of airborne radioactivity and fuel-element temperatures, spokesman Joe Gilliland said Thursday.Under an agreement with the NRC, the university will not operate its research reactor until it has named a full-time reactor supervisor who also is a professor with at least one year of reactor experience.
The understanding also requires the supervisor to "devote at least 75 percent of his time carrying out reactor supervisory duties and responsibilities," said Gilliland.
"We also will have to approve the new supervisor," he said, "to make sure he or she meets all the requirements."
Gary Sandquist, a professor with the mechanical engineering department, said the university will add another person to the staff, a graduate who will return to Utah from Texas.
The reactor is used "strictly for research and training," Sandquist said. "We use it for medical research, environmental analysis" and other scientific studies.