Division Director, Nuclear Energy and Fuel Cycle Division

Date: Sep 7, 2023

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 11574 


We are seeking a highly motivated and capable leader to serve as Division Director of the Nuclear Energy and Fuel Cycle (NEFCD) and lead the nuclear energy research and development (R&D) program at ORNL. Reporting to and working closely with the Associate Lab Director (ALD) of the Fusion and Fission Energy and Science Directorate (FFESD), the Division Director is responsible for advancing ORNL capabilities and interests in supporting the nation’s aspirations for nuclear energy development. ORNL, with NEFCD at the lead, has world-class technical capabilities in advanced fuel development, advanced nuclear reactor designs, reactor and component simulation, cradle-to-grave fuel cycle R&D, nuclear materials, nuclear sensors and instrumentation, neutronics, thermal hydraulics, criticality safety, and nuclear data. The incumbent will be responsible for developing and executing a vision that brings together capabilities from across ORNL to deliver technical understanding and solutions that simultaneously advance fundamental capabilities and address the needs of the nuclear industry.


Leaning on a long, rich history in nuclear R&D, ORNL remains a key innovator and contributor with an extensive set of core strengths residing in NEFCD, FFESD, and throughout the Lab. In addition to a diverse set of research and development (R&D) capabilities that are solving the most complicated aspects of nuclear energy development, ORNL has multiple partnerships with private companies in the development and execution of key components of their technology roadmaps. Working with DOE Nuclear Energy (DOE-NE) and with ALDs and Division Directors from sister organizations in the Lab, the incumbent will be responsible for ideating, developing, and completing a multidimensional R&D program that motivates, drives, and supports the nation’s plan for nuclear energy development. This will include foundational R&D programs targeting rapid advances in the underlying science and technology, translational R&D that converts this knowledge to solutions, and supportive R&D that provides subject matter expertise to interested industry partners. Developing and adjusting the appropriate mix of these programs as well as the necessary skill mix will be a key responsibility for the NEFCD Director.


Additionally, the Division Director works with leadership peers at Idaho National Lab and Argonne National Lab (as well as others) to continually update a strategic plan that simultaneously advances the technical readiness of industry concepts and delivers innovative new solutions that significantly impact the time scale, economics, performance, and safety of future nuclear reactors.


Job Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Provide leadership to ORNL's Nuclear Energy R&D Program leveraging and extending the core capabilities of the FED and organizations across ORNL.
  • Serve as primary programmatic interface with DOE-NE, working closely with the FFESD ALD to ensure consistent, effective communication on key matters.
  • Develop, and as necessary evolve, the nuclear R&D strategy for the Lab, working closely with the FFESD ALD and leaders in other ORNL organizations.
  • Advance the scientific excellence of NEFCD through increased scientific productivity, program impact, publications, intellectual property development, and engagement of staff in external organizations.
  • Oversee effective workforce development program that attracts and retains diverse, high-quality staff.
  • Ensure a vibrant, inclusive workplace environment in which all staff can succeed!
  • Collaborate with management peers to assist the FFESD ALD in defining and implementing strategic programmatic R&D missions for FFESD and the Laboratory.
  • Complete line management responsibilities including supervision of section heads, budget and business planning, salary planning, staff recruitment and development, employee relations, and performance management.
  • Serve as the division work authority, striving to implement a culture within the workplace that is attentive to the identification of hazards and adaptable to providing controls and processes to address the hazards.
  • 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:

  • An advanced technical degree Physics, Nuclear Engineering, or a related field of study with 15-20 years of proven experience.
  • Evidence of prior successful experience in leading R&D teams.
  • Scientific productivity proven through a record of lead-authored publications (published, accepted, or submitted).
  • This position requires obtaining and maintaining 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.


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Ph.D. in Physics, Nuclear Engineering, or a related field of study.
  • Management of line organization at the group or division level (or equivalent).
  • Demonstrated experience in developing effective teams with significant contributions from individuals/groups outside direct management control.
  • Hands-on experience in working in research partnerships, either through research participation or coordination role.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills to interact effectively with a broad spectrum of people and issues in a fast-paced R&D environment.
  • Motivated self-starter with the ability to work independently in conceptualizing, initiating, and evaluating research opportunities.
  • Ability to function well in a dynamic and changing research environment, set priorities to accomplish multiple tasks within deadlines, and adapt to constantly evolving needs.


Desirable Qualifications:

  • Experience developing or coordinating DOE-funded research programs and/or similar venture-capital-driven industries.
  • Proven track record to establish, nurture, and execute on technical partnerships with external participants.


Benefits at ORNL:

ORNL offers competitive pay and benefits programs to attract and retain hard-working 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.



Moving is stressful and expensive, and UT Battelle offers a wide range of relocation benefits for individuals and families to make it easier to come and work here. If you are invited to interview, please ask your Recruiter about relocating with ORNL.




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. Having difficulty using the online application system or need an accommodation to apply due to a disability? Please email: ORNLRecruiting@ornl.gov or call 1.866.963.9545.

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