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Plans for the construction of the reactor were already adopted at the beginning of 1960s, but it was Karel Matějka who succeeded in putting them through, in spite of some quite strong opposition from a number of institutions. Even the CTU Administration was in doubt about the project, objecting to high costs of this facility. On the other hand, the then regulatory body was aware of the importance of an installation where future specialists could be trained to gain experience with the reactor operation. The Czechoslovak Atomic Energy Commission of the time had strong influence on and close relations with the Ministry of Education, responsible for the decision and building approval.

Over the years several studies were carried out and requirements for the Faculty training reactor were specified. The main objectives were education and training in reactor operation and control, instruction in experimental reactor physics, and usage as a neutron source. Emphasis was placed on research and development. Finding a suitable site for the reactor was a tricky task. Eventually, an opportunity to build the reactor in the premises of heavy laboratories of the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics of Charles University in Prague 8 was acclaimed. The reactor site was designed to fit a so far unused experimental premises. It was, however, not completely suitable for a nuclear reactor and some restrictions were imposed by, for example, the size of the hall and entrance gate. The hall was fitted with a system of changeable platforms, a crane, engineering network (like waste water liquidation station) and ventilation (like active air conditioning).

The project was joined by the companies Chemoprojekt Praha and ŠKODA JS. The Faculty participated in work coordination, core calculations, safety analysis and the design of reactor control equipment. The main objectives pursued by the FNSPE included reactor implementation, its testing and putting into operation, preparation of experimental methods and sources for introduction of the Reactor VR-1 course into higher education and research programmes. Reactor technology and commissioning were financed from state funds for research and development (project A 01-159-112-08 “School reactor VR-1P“), reactor shielding and reactor hall adjustment were financed by the Ministry of Education. The budget also included first experimental equipment. The Reactor design was progressive, especially in the arrangements of two mutually connectable vessels. Unique solutions consisted of the use of stainless technology, quality assurance policy and the first completely digital control system in the world.

The Reactor went critical for the first time on 3rd December 1990 at 16:25.

The reactor commissioning was immediately followed by trial operation, during which all main parameters and educational experiments were verified. Since January 1992 the Reactor has been in permanent operation. At the time of great political and social changes it was not easy to start operation of the nuclear reactor, develop quality educational methods, procure experimental equipment, and ensure effective use of the Reactor. Miloslav Havlíček, at that time Dean of the Faculty, was an invaluable ally to the staff of Reactor VR-1 who re-established the Department of Nuclear Reactors. During its operation, the Reactor VR-1 became one of the pillars of nuclear education in the Czech Republic, offering experimental training to students of Czech and Slovak Universities as well as to future operators of both Czech nuclear power plants. It also found its place in international projects.