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Controls Engineer - Protection Systems

Date: Oct 19, 2021

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 6116 


We are seeking an Engineer within the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) Protection Systems Group (PSG).  SNS Protection Systems are PLC based safety systems designed to protect people from special hazards arising from SNS operations. The Protection Systems Engineer implements and maintains these high-reliability electronic safety interlock systems for personnel protection from unique facility hazards.


Our team is responsible for all life-cycle phases of electronic safety interlock equipment used for accelerator, target, instrument, and test-bed Personnel Protection Systems (PPS). We also support the documentation, quality, operation and maintenance of these systems after they are placed into service; including procedures, and performing annual certifications. 


The Protection Systems Controls Engineer will work with scientists, engineers, technicians, management, and operations to ensure the functionality and integrity of the protection systems is always maintained. In this role you will address a diverse set of complex problems by selecting an optimal solution from known solutions or may create an original or new solution. After a training period, you will have latitude in determining objectives and approach to work assignments.


This position reports to the SNS Protection System Group Leader in the Control Systems Section of the Research Accelerator Division (RAD).  You will have the opportunity to work closely with scientists and engineers from other SNS accelerator and instrument technical groups.




Major Duties and Responsibilities

  • Act as a system engineer for assigned safety control systems and disciplines
  • Work with technical and scientific staff at all levels to develop and maintain high reliability engineered safety controls used to protect personnel at SNS from hazards associated with prompt ionizing radiation and oxygen deficiency
  • Implement SNS configuration management processes for safety control equipment and assist other groups in maintaining configuration of their equipment affecting safety critical systems
  • Manage small to medium size projects in support of upgrades and new facilities
  • Develop new methods for PPS design and documentation, including paperless documentation systems
  • Translate performance and operational needs into system requirements
  • Develop and direct test plans and procedures that demonstrate systems’ readiness
  • Ensure and monitor compliance with environment, safety, health, and quality program requirements 
  • Promptly identify and communicate environmental, safety, health (ESH) and quality assurance (QA) issues to group and division management, ESH and QA contacts, and subcontractor contacts
  • As a member of the ORNL scientific community, you will be expected to commit to ORNL's Research Code of Conduct. Our full code of conduct, and a statement by the Lab Director's office can be found here:


Basic Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering or related field with at least 5 years of applicable experience
  • Introductory knowledge in PLC based systems plus a wide range of knowledge in supporting disciplines and functions such as reliability theory, requirements development, and budget development
  • Experience with system engineering principles and application within a scientific environment
  • Experience with the application and programming of PLCs and Ethernet based communication networks
  • Ability to work independently and proactively seek solutions to meet project requirements
  • Good critical thinking skills and the ability to support changes in priorities, resolve conflicts and manage multiple projects
  • Demonstrated experience using standard electronic tools, test equipment and instruments
  • Demonstrated ability to build relationships with customers, understand their needs and translate requirements into appropriate engineered controls
  • Good written and verbal communication skills including the ability to clearly present technical information to varying technical levels of staff including higher level management 


Preferred Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in Computer Engineering, Electrical Engineering or related field with at least 3 years of applicable experience
  • Experience with quality systems such as ISO 9001 and Six Sigma
  • Experience with implementation of Allen-Bradley ControlLogix ® and GuardLogix ® PLC industrial controls and software
  • Experience with EPICS based control systems
  • Experience developing systems within the framework of IEC 15288, 61508, IEC 61511, or IEC 62061
  • Experience developing policies, procedures, and guidelines for the implementation of high reliability systems












About Neutron Sciences Directorate:
The Neutron Sciences Directorate (NScD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) operates the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR), the United States’ highest flux reactor-based neutron source, and the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS), the world’s most intense pulsed accelerator-based neutron source.  Together these facilities operate 30 instruments for neutron scattering research, each year carrying out in excess of 1,000 experiments in the physical, chemical, materials, biological and medical sciences for more than 3,000 visiting scientists.  HFIR also provides unique facilities for isotope production and neutron irradiation.  To learn more about Neutron Sciences at ORNL go to

Benefits at ORNL:
UT-Battelle offers a quality benefits package, including a matching 401(k), contributory pension plan, paid vacation, and medical/dental plan options.  Onsite amenities include a credit union, medical clinic, cafeteria, and fitness facilities.

Moving can be overwhelming and expensive.  UT-Battelle offers a generous relocation package to ease the transition process.  Domestic and international relocation assistance is available for certain positions.  If invited to interview, be sure to ask your Recruiter (Talent Acquisition Partner) for details.

For more information about our benefits, working here, and living here, visit the “About” tab at




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.

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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.

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