Postdoctoral Research Associate - Nuclear Forensics Modeling

Date: Jun 6, 2024

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 12852 


As a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science national laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has an extraordinary 80-year history of solving the nation’s biggest problems. We have a dedicated and creative staff of over 6,000 people! Our vision for diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) is to cultivate an environment and practices that foster diversity in ideas and in the people across the organization, as well as to ensure ORNL is recognized as a workplace of choice. These elements are critical for enabling the execution of ORNL’s broader mission to accelerate scientific discoveries and their translation into energy, environment, and security solutions for the nation.

We are seeking a Postdoctoral Research Associate who will support the Incident Modeling and Computational Sciences Group in the Nuclear Nonproliferation Division, Nuclear Security Sciences Directorate at ORNL.  


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Develop and implement calculational methods for simulation of detector responses to nuclear weapon fallout and interpreting the nuclear forensic data.
  • Conduct cutting-edge research in the use of aerial detector surveys to provide a nationwide means of predicting yield from a nuclear detonation. The research will also extend our ability to rapidly update our models based on the aerial measurement data. A sensitivity study will be performed to show the relative impact of the different types of flights that are performed by aerial systems in a graded approach (e.g., edge detection versus serpentine versus complete mapping).
  • Develop and maintain the codes used for this evaluation, test their performance on different operating systems, and validate results using both numerically generated and actual measured data.


All team members deliver ORNL’s mission by aligning behaviors, priorities, and interactions with our core values of Impact, Integrity, Teamwork, Safety, and Service. Promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility by fostering a respectful workplace – in how we treat one another, work together, and measure success.


Basic Qualifications:

  • PhD in nuclear engineering or related field, completed within the last five (5) years.
  • Experience solving a variety of real-world modeling problems.
  • Research and development experience in nuclear fuel-cycle processes.


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience with the SCALE code system and with models of various fuel-cycle processes.
  • Programming experience using FORTRAN, C/C++ and/or other high-level languages.
  • Programming on parallel processors using the message-passing interface (MPI).
  • Knowledge of and experience with numerical analysis and applied mathematics, including optimization, statistics, and solution of inverse problems.
  • Diverse experience in many application areas such as nuclear forensics, neutron and gamma ray detection, and safeguards technologies.
  • Ability to effectively communicate, both verbally and in writing.


Special Requirements:

Applicants cannot have received their Ph.D. more than five years prior to the date of application and must complete all degree requirements before starting their appointment. The appointment length will be up to 24 months with the potential for extension. Initial appointments and extensions are subject to performance and availability of funding.


Please submit three letters of reference when applying to this position. You may upload these directly to your application or have them sent to with the position title and number referenced in the subject line.


Instructions to upload documents to your candidate profile:

  • Login to your account via
  • View Profile
  • Under the My Documents section, select Add a Document


Visa sponsorship is not available for this position.


Q  clearance: 

This position requires the ability to obtain and maintain a clearance from the DOE. As such, this position is a Workplace Substance Abuse (WSAP) testing designated position. WSAP positions require passing a pre-placement drug test and participation in an ongoing random drug testing program.


Benefits at ORNL:  

ORNL offers competitive pay and benefits programs to attract and retain talented people. The laboratory offers many employee benefits, including medical and retirement plans and flexible work hours, to help you and your family live happy and healthy. Employee amenities such as on-site fitness, banking, and cafeteria facilities are also provided for convenience.

Other benefits include the following: Prescription Drug Plan, Dental Plan, Vision Plan, 401(k) Retirement Plan, Contributory Pension Plan, Life Insurance, Disability Benefits, Generous Vacation and Holidays, Parental Leave, Legal Insurance with Identity Theft Protection, Employee Assistance Plan, Flexible Spending Accounts, Health Savings Accounts, Wellness Programs, Educational Assistance, Relocation Assistance, and Employee Discounts.

If you have difficulty using the online application system or need an accommodation to apply due to a disability, please email: or call 1.866.963.9545.






This position will remain open for a minimum of 5 days after which it will close when a qualified candidate is identified and/or hired.

We accept Word (.doc, .docx), Adobe (unsecured .pdf), Rich Text Format (.rtf), and HTML (.htm, .html) up to 5MB in size. Resumes from third party vendors will not be accepted; these resumes will be deleted and the candidates submitted will not be considered for employment.

If you have trouble applying for a position, please email

ORNL is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants, including individuals with disabilities and protected veterans, are encouraged to apply.  UT-Battelle is an E-Verify employer.

Nearest Major Market: Knoxville