77 Massachusetts Ave. • 24-105 • Cambridge, MA 02139 • (617) 253-7522
MIT’s Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering focuses on the applications and consequences of nuclear reactions and radiation and works to make nuclear power the safest, most economical, and most environmentally benign source of energy. Our researchers develop nuclear fission and fusion reactors for electricity generation, waste management and space propulsion, and they contribute to homeland security by exploring ways to monitor nuclear materials and detect nuclear threats. The department’s work informs public debate on the wise, humane uses of nuclear science and technology. The department collaborates with industry, the federal government, national laboratories, and partner countries including Japan, France, Korea, China, Saudi Arabia, and Russia in research in three broad categories:
Fission Engineering and Nuclear Energy
The conceptualization, development, and deployment of next-generation nuclear power systems; support of existing nuclear power plants through research on equipment aging, safety improvement, human reliability, probabilistic safety assessments, and enhanced economic performance through higher-power density cores. The six-megawatt MIT reactor is used in education and research.
Fusion and Plasma Physics
Analytical, numerical, and experimental investigation in areas including superconductivity and superconducting magnets, plasma turbulence, advanced materials, system design and optimization, and high-power millimeter wave generation. MIT’s Tokamak fusion facility is used by researchers worldwide to study magnetic confinement of plasmas.
Non-energy Applications of Nuclear Science and Technology
Macroscopic radiation biology, NMR microscopy, isotope imaging, molecular contrast agents for MR imaging, the selective delivery of radiation to cells, the unique properties of nano-scale structures, controlled spin manipulations, and the development of new compact accelerator and detector technologies for nuclear materials modeling and control.