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Enriched - Isotope Chemist - Senior R&D Staff Member

Date: May 31, 2021

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 4986 


Oak Ridge National Laboratory is seeking an outstanding scientific leader with depth and breadth of collaborative, innovative experience to support the Enrichment Science and Engineering Division (ESED) – Stable Isotope Research Development and Production Section (SIRDP) as Senior Chemist for the processing of enriched isotopes. 


The Enrichment Science and Engineering Division serves the nation in two critical areas: advancing enrichment technologies and stable isotope production. The division leverages an elite staff of scientists and engineers with the world-leading capabilities of Oak Ridge National Laboratory to deliver groundbreaking advancements with a variety of applications from national security to life-saving medical treatments.

ESED is the national steward for the research, development, and demonstration of enrichment technologies.  ORNL is a recognized leader in centrifuge and electromagnetic enrichment technologies.  We are the stewards and dispensary of the nation’s stable isotope inventory and have a legacy dating to the late 1940s.  This division integrates the full enrichment process from chemical synthesis of feed materials through fabrication of the custom physical forms needed to support the user communities.  The successful candidate will provide research and development (R&D) leadership to the group to strategically advance science and technology supporting the chemistry needs of various stable isotope enrichment technologies.  This position is expected to advance the research and development of ultralow loss chemical conversion, gas chemistry, characterization of thermal physical properties and extraction of enriched material for high purity applications.  

Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Provide innovative chemistry support and expertise to ORNL’s production of enriched isotopes by Electromagnetic Isotope Separation, Gaseous Centrifuge Isotope Separation, and the Plasma Separation Process
  • Generate research concepts and plans for separations, synthesis, and conversions of elements spanning the periodic table, including Yb, Cd, Ni, Sm, Ca, Ge, Tm, Gd, Xe, Si and Mo, and most other elements
  • Lead teams to prove methods at bench scale and scale-up to meet the production enrichment quantities at the gram to kilogram scale
  • Work closely with colleagues and safety professional to ensure safe execution of all aspects of work.     

Basic Qualifications and Requirements:

  • This position requires a Ph.D. in physical chemistry, process chemistry, chemical engineering with gaseous system experience, general chemistry, nuclear engineering, physics, or related fields a minimum of 10 years relevant experience.
  • Track record of generating and deploying new research areas
  • Experience mentoring early to mid-career scientists
  • Demonstrated ability to work across multiple disciplinary in a highly collaborative environment - Qualified candidates will have a demonstrated track record of integrating basic and applied research in multidisciplinary teams to achieve high impact in their respective fields
  • Qualified candidates will have demonstrated experience in successfully leading diverse R&D teams to solve complex, interdisciplinary problems.
  • The ability to work flexible hours and travel when required.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Proven ability to function well in a fast-paced research environment, set priorities to accomplish multiple tasks within deadlines, and adapt to ever changing needs

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.



Preferred Qualifications and Research Topic of interest: 

  • Experience with bench scale prototyping for scale up
  • Experience with gaseous systems and fluorinated gases
  • Experience with low loss chemistry of high value materials
  • Experience and interest in chemical extraction and recovery of metal deposits from graphite substrate
  • Experience and interest in ion exchange column for rare earth metal separations
  • Experience in isotope enrichment science and engineering
  • Interest in fluid dynamics, gas chemistry, gas synthesis, gas purification, and/or plasma chemistry



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.

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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.

Nearest Major Market: Knoxville