Distinguished R&D Chemist

Date: Jun 7, 2023

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 10730 


We are seeking a Distinguished R&D Chemist who will focus on the leadership and support of a variety of research projects encompassing front and back end of the nuclear fuel cycle along with critical material recovery and purification. International experience with chemical process R&D ranging from laboratory to engineering scales is highly desired. The candidate will be expected to mentor junior staff in the development of novel chemical separations processes and providing guidance for established processes at ORNL. This position resides in the Fuel Cycle Chemical Technology Group in the Nuclear Energy and Fuel Cycle Division, Fusion and Fission Energy and Science Directorate at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).


Major Duties/Responsibilities:

  • The successful candidate(s) will be expected to have a strong and experienced background in chemical material separations systems with an emphasis on separations techniques and mass transfer processes associated with vapor-solid, vapor-liquid and liquid-liquid systems.
  • The successful candidate(s) will be expected to have knowledge of uranium and thorium nuclear fuel cycles.
  • The successful candidate(s) may be responsible for conceptualizing and designing engineering test capabilities essential to ensuring the maintenance and expansion of domestic nuclear fuel cycle capabilities to address current and future needs in securing the nonproliferation of nuclear materials.
  • Efforts will focus on nuclear fuel cycle chemical processing, particularly chemical conversion and separations processes pertaining to the production of engineered forms of actinide compounds used throughout the uranium fuel cycle.
  • Activities will include mentoring of early- and mid-career staff, particularly in equipment design and operation. Efforts may also include training of personnel from other DOE and US government agencies.
  • The successful candidate will be required to effectively interact with various personnel and sponsors, both within and outside of ORNL.
  • 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 Chemistry or chemistry related subject and 6+ years of experience in actinide chemistry, radiochemistry or chemical processing related research including pilot-scale R&D, MS degree with 12+ years, or BS with 15+ years of similar experience.
  • A strong grasp of the fundamentals of chemical process unit operations with emphasis on separations and chemical reaction science.
  • An understanding of fundamental chemical thermodynamics and kinetics as they apply to chemical separations.
  • Experience in molten salt science and technologies as applicable to preparation of novel materials, materials recycling, surface modification by electrocoating and fundamental property measurements pertaining to electrolytes and materials.
  • The ability to work in chemical laboratory and processing environments with a high level of attention to detail and adherence to safe work practices that such activities demand.
  • Operational familiarity with uranium processing equipment at pilot or production scales.
  • The ability to conceive chemical process flowsheets and identify knowledge gaps for fuel cycles for the current fleet of reactors as well as advanced reactor technologies


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Excellent interpersonal, presentation, and writing skills to enable effective interaction and communication with technical peers, program managers, and sponsors.
  • Experience with coproduced isotope production.
  • Organized, detail-oriented and sensitized to a nuclear safety culture.
  • The successful candidate will ensure compliance with environment, safety, health and quality program requirements
  • Motivated self-starter with the ability to work independently and to participate creatively in collaborative teams across the laboratory
  • Ability to function well in a fast-paced research environment, set priorities to accomplish multiple tasks within deadlines, and adapt to ever changing needs
  • Track record in successful proposal writing for sponsors, leading and working with sponsors on delivering on projects from inception, through proposal development to delivery of the results.


This position requires the ability to obtain and maintain a clearance from the Department of Energy. 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.


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 ORNLRecruiting@ornl.gov.

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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