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ORAU History - 1972

The University Isotope Separator at Oak Ridge (UNISOR) was dedicated on June 19, 1972, in ceremonies at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). The isotope separator, funded primarily by the state of Tennessee, was delivered in April; installation and testing was complete by the end of May.

The first successful test of the on-line system was completed in September 1972, demonstrating that an isotope separator coupled to the Oak Ridge Isochronous Cyclotron could allow study of atomic nuclei lying far from the region of stability. This arrangement made it possible to study nuclear species that exist for only a short time after they are produced.

Holifield Radioactive Ion Beam Facility

The Holifield Radioactive Ion Beam Facility, on the grounds of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, housed the University Isotope Separator at Oak Ridge (UNISOR), which was established in 1970 to further fundamental research on nuclear structure.

The Oak Ridge Population Research Institute—a cooperative venture of ORAU, ORNL, and the University of Tennessee—began operation on July 1, 1972. Plans were for the institute to draw and build upon the participating universities’ existing programs and capabilities in biological as well as social and behavioral research into problems related to the growth and control of the human population.

A health physics technician program was operated for the first time in the summer of 1972. Part of ORAU’s Undergraduate Research Training Program (now a part of Science Education and Workforce Development Programs), the 10-week course provided applied health physics training for nuclear technician students enrolled in junior colleges or technical schools.

Working with ORNL’s Health Physics Division, staff from the Internal Dosimetry Center made a series of calculations on the dose to the fetus from radioactivity in the mother's urine. This 1972 task marked the beginning of an extensive 23-year project that resulted in the development of computer models that allow calculation of the radiation dose a fetus can receive from radioactivity in several of the mother's organs at each trimester of pregnancy.

In a collaborative study with ORNL, the cytogenetics program (now known as the Cytogenetic Biodosimetry Laboratory) learned in 1972 that marmosets have cytogenetic responses to total body irradiation similar to those in humans.

In 1972, the Atomic Energy Commission approved the design and construction of a new $3.5-million building for the American Museum of Atomic Energy in Oak Ridge. The new building, which would be built adjacent to ORAU's campus in the center of town, would more than double the museum's capacity. The groundbreaking occurred in mid-winter 1973.

A 1972 follow-up survey of 472 Training and Technology (TAT) Program graduates revealed that, at the time of the survey, they were employed more than 90 percent of the time.