Officials presiding over the world's most powerful research reactor are thrilled with early restart activities saying it could reach full power again soon.

Speaking about the restart of the High Flux Isotope Reactor Kelly Beierschmitt, ORNL's director of nuclear operations said, $quot;We've actually seen our first cold neutrons, and that's really, really exciting.$quot;

The world's most powerful research reactor was restarted last week for the first time in 16 months. During the lengthy outage, workers refurbished the 40-year-old nuclear facility and installed new instruments, including a cold source that greatly enhances the reactor's experimental capabilities.

The cold source uses liquid helium and hydrogen to cool the research chambers and slow the movement of neutrons emanating from the reactor's core along special beam lines.