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Western New York Nuclear Research Center records

 Collection
Identifier: 33-2-257
This collection contains records of the origins, construction and operation of the Western New York Nuclear Research Center.

Dates

  • 1945-1970

Creator

Terms of Access

The bulk of the Western New York Nuclear Research Center Records are open for research.

Copyright

Copyright is held by the State University of New York at Buffalo, University Archives. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns. Researchers must obtain the written permission of the holder(s) of copyright and the University Archives before publishing quotations from materials in the collection. Most papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures unless otherwise specified.

Extent

5 linear feet (4 cartons)

Overview

This collection contains records of the origins, construction and operation of the Western New York Nuclear Research Center.

Historical Note

In November of 1959, construction began on the Western New York Nuclear Research Center after three years of negotiations between the founders of the center, the Regents of the State University of New York, the New York State Legislature, the Atomic Energy Commission, and New York State Governor Harriman over the funding of the center. On May 10, 1960, the State University of New York Regents received an application for incorporation of the Western New York Nuclear Research Center by the men who would become its trustees. The center was established to conduct research on atomic energy, specifically its relation to the health sciences. Among the first eighteen trustees were Dr. Claude Puffer, Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs and Treasurer, Dr. Ralph Lumb, the first Director of the Western New York Nuclear Research Center, Dr. Raymond Ewell, Vice Chancellor for Research, Dr. Milton Albrecht, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Clifford Furnas, Chancellor of the University of Buffalo, Dr. Ernest Witebsky, Dean of the School of Medicine, Frederick Thomas, Acting Dean of the School of Engineering, and Dr. Henry Woodburn, Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

The center was dedicated on April 20, 1961 after the reactor went critical on March 24, 1961. By July 7, 1961, the center was fully operational. The center was used for industrial and state projects, training, and educational research especially in relation to University at Buffalo's graduate program in Nuclear Technology (established in 1958) and nuclear engineering offerings in the School of Engineering. On March 31, 1972, the University withdrew its financial support of the Western New York Research Center, after two years of decreased funding from the State Legislature. The Board of Trustees voted to dissolve the corporation, and its educational functions were transferred to University at Buffalo in October 1972.

When the operations of the center were transferred, the University changed the center's title to the Nuclear Science and Technology Facility. The facility played a role in both the Nuclear Engineering program in the School of Engineering and the school's Special Major program in Radiation Protection. In addition, the students and instructors used the facility to conduct research projects, as did companies like Kodak, Xerox, and Westinghouse.

In 1984, Materials Engineering Associates, Inc. signed a contract with the State University of New York on behalf of Buffalo Materials Research Corporation, a corporation owned by Materials Engineering Associates, to manage the Nuclear Science and Technology Facility's operations, effectively privatizing it. In September of 1985, the Buffalo Materials Research Corporation took control of the Nuclear Science and Technology Facility. The facility's title then became the Buffalo Materials Research Center. The major activities of the center included radiation damage research, radioisotope production, neutron activation analysis and training of university students, personnel and emergency service organizations. In 1989, inspection of the reactor's water tank revealed a small crack. The reactor was shut down immediately, and the tank was re-lined. The reactor re-opened in 1991. In March of 1994, the contract was discontinued, and the University at Buffalo announced the decommissioning of the reactor two months later citing high operating costs and the advanced age of the reactor.

Arrangement

Records in this collection have been arranged into the following series and subseries:

Series I. Nuclear Project Origin, Feasibility and Development of the Prospectus

Series II. Plans for Organization and Operation

Subseries A. Design and Construction

Subseries B. Cornerstone Laying and Dedication

Series III. Quantum Inc.

Series IV. Reactor

Series V. Atomic Energy Commission

Series VI. New York State

Series VII. Industrial Contributions

Subseries A. Industrial Pledges

Series VIII. Support and Use of the Center

Series IX. Reports

Series X. Newspaper Clippings and Press Releases

Series XI. Other related material

Acquisition Information

This collection was donated to the University Archives in 1972 from James Evans, former director of Nuclear Research.

Accruals and Additions

No further accruals are expected to this collection.

Related Resources

33/2/971: Western New York Nuclear Research Center Records, 1959-1998 [1959-1994 bulk]

Processing Information

Processed by University Archives staff.
Title
Finding Aid for the Western New York Nuclear Research Center records 33.2.257
Status
completed
Author
Finding aid prepared by Archives Staff.
Description rules
Finding aid prepared using local best practices.
Language of description
eng

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives Repository

Contact:
420 Capen Hall
Buffalo New York 14260-1674 US
716-645-2916
716-645-3714 (Fax)