Lego Nuclear Reactor Uses Arduino

Before the NSA deletes this post, we’ll be clear: We’re talking about a model of a nuclear reactor, not the real thing. Using Legos, [wgurecky] built a point kinetic reactor model that interfaces with the reactor simulator, pyReactor.

Even without the Lego, the Python code demonstrates reactor control in several modes. In power control mode, the user sets a power output, and the reactor attempts to maintain it. In control rod mode, the user can adjust the position of the control rods and see the results.

If things get out of hand, there’s a SCRAM button to shut the reactor down in a hurry. The Lego model uses an Arduino to move the rods up and down (using a servo) and controls the simulated Cherenkov radiation (courtesy of blue LEDs).

We’ve been excited to see more high schools with significant engineering programs. This would be a good project for kids interested in nuclear engineering. It certainly is a lot safer than one of our previous reactor projects.

45 thoughts on “Lego Nuclear Reactor Uses Arduino

      1. I counter your “Goose/Geese” with “Moose/Moose”

        As far as I remember, the actual Lego company prefers you say “Lego brick(s)” since “Lego” is the company name, and the product is a “brick”. Similar as saying “I want to use your HP”, compared with saying “I want to use your HP computer”…
        That said, I call the bricks Lego.

        (no, Meese isn’t the pural, lol)

    1. I think Lego put out a press release asking people not to refer to sets of multiple bricks Legos. The plural and the singular is Lego in the same way that multiple loaves of bread aren’t called breads.

      1. And everyone should laugh at that press release. It’s a Danish company trying to control the English language, in the (recent) tradition of manipulating definitions and colloquial usage towards a goal (i.e. ensuring that ‘Lego’ doesn’t go the way of ‘Kleenex’ or ‘Band-Aid’)

        A ‘Death Tax’ and ‘Estate Tax’ are the same thing, only one was created by Frank Luntz, famous republican propagandist. ‘Assault Weapon’ is a nonsense term conjured up by liberal anti-gun nuts who have no grounding in reality. You’re a moron if you use ‘Death Tax’ and ‘Assault Weapon’, as you are allowing your language to be controlled by monied interests. Likewise, you’re borderline retarded if you allow Lego to control how you pluralize plastic building blocks.

          1. The way the word is used is. Germanic languages have lots of words in common, with just a few letters and / or pronunciation changed. For example- Friend, Freund, Vriend, Ven

    2. Personally, I prefer the Malay/Indonesian way of pluralizing a noun: simply repeat it. For instance, one bird, many bird-bird; one hammer, a boxful of hammer-hammer, etc. So, 1 Lego brick, a crate of Lego brick-brick.


  1. Ughh.. I’m sick and tired of every imaginable electronics project containing an Arduino.. The 328p can’t be THAT ubiquitous, That and the Arduino IDE is just bulky and weird.. Just stick to C or assembly.

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