Fire Protection Engineer, High-Flux Isotope Reactor

Date: Feb 10, 2024

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 12352 



This position will primarily focus on providing fire protection and systems engineering support for the ORNL Research Reactor Division, and the High-Flux Isotope Reactor.  Completed in 1965 and operating at 85 MW, HFIR is the strongest reactor-based neutron source in the United States and is home to neutron scattering research facilities used for fundamental and applied research on the structure and dynamics of matter. HFIR is also used for medical, industrial, and research isotope production; research on severe neutron damage to materials; and neutron activation analysis to examine trace elements in the environment.  The reactor produces our nation’s supply of many rare and significant isotopes, including actinium-227 for treating cancer, nickel-63 for detecting explosives, and plutonium-238, for powering NASA space missions.   The HFIR facility and instrumentation are among the world’s most powerful tools used in the exploration of the molecular and magnetic structures and behaviors of materials including high-temperature superconductors, polymers, metals, and biological samples. As a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science 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.


This position is also responsible for assisting in the implementation of all technical aspects of the Fire Protection Program at ORNL. ORNL FPEs are assigned to support research, operations, and facility management activities across the campus and at associated off-site facilities. This includes missions in nuclear facilities, accelerator facilities, supercomputing facilities, and a wide range of other laboratories and structures.  This position supports the implementation of ORNL’s comprehensive fire prevention/protection program, which is designed to reduce the threat of fire and related perils to life, missions, property, and the environment, while complying with Department of Energy (DOE) requirements. 


Major Duties/Responsibilities:

This position will primarily focus on providing fire protection and systems engineering support for facilities/operations managed by ORNL RRD/HFIR.  This includes:

  • Assignment as a System Engineer for HFIR;

  • Designation as an FPE point-of-contact for RRD/HFIR operations, projects, and missions. This includes support of day-to-day operations, review of work packages, periodic facility walkdowns, and providing FPE consultations to research and development, engineering, maintenance support, construction, etc.;

  • Interpreting and assuring compliance with DOE, state, federal, and consensus standards;

  • Performing, and/or reviewing, scheduled Fire Hazards Analyses (FHAs) and Fire Protection Engineering Assessments (FPEAs) in alignment with the requirements of DOE Order 420.1C;

  • Developing project-specific fire protection design criteria and associated specifications, as well as developing and maintaining System Design Descriptions per DOE-STD-3024;

  • Performing design reviews of planned construction and building/process modifications;

  • Supporting the design, installation, modification, and commissioning efforts for fire- and life safety-related systems/features;

  • Interpreting requirements and implementing associated safeguards to mitigate risk associated with the use, handling, and storage of hazardous materials;

  • Supporting ORNL’s fire barrier program and chemical inventory management program in assigned facilities;

  • Providing technical support for areas of interest beyond traditional fire protection responsibilities (e.g. nuclear safety, occupational safety, etc.).

  • Serving on support teams and special projects; and

  • Abiding by the Battelle Safe Conduct of Research Principles.

  • 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:

  • The successful candidate will hold a bachelor’s degree in Engineering or Fire Protection Engineering Technology from an ABET/ETAC accredited program. 

  • The successful candidate will have a minimum of five years of documented engineering-related experience.  Candidates with fewer years of engineering experience may also be considered qualified, depending on the type of experience (e.g. three years of nuclear fire protection-related experience) and/or other credentials (e.g. Professional Engineer license in Fire Protection Engineering).

  • The ability to acquire and maintain a Department of Energy “Q” security clearance (comparable to DOD Top-Secret) is a requirement.

  • This position requires passing a pre-placement drug test and participation in an ongoing random drug testing.

  • This position requires the successful completion of a pre-employment physical. 


Preferred Qualifications:

  • In addition to interpreting and applying prescriptive code requirements, the ideal candidate will possess the ability to develop, propose, and implement defendable risk-based decisions related to fire safety issues. 

  • The ideal candidate will understand and be able to apply the principles of the “Highly Protected Risk” concept from DOE Order 420.1C.

  • The ideal candidate will have good oral communication and technical writing skills and will be proficient with common computer software used in the office environment.

  • The ideal candidate will have a strong sense of customer support and an ability to develop and foster positive customer relationships.

  • The ideal candidate will possess the social skills necessary to have positive interactions and collaborations with peers. 

  • The ideal candidate will have experience with the fire hazards of commercial and/or research nuclear reactors, gloveboxes, and similar nuclear work environments. 

  • A P.E. license in the field of fire protection engineering is preferred.

  • Qualification as a Systems Engineer (per DOE O 426.1) is preferred.

  • Membership in the Society of Fire Protection Engineers and/or the National Fire Protection Association is preferred.  


Special Requirements:

  • Q clearance: 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.

  • Physical Requirements: This position requires passing a pre-placement drug test and participation in an ongoing random drug testing. This position requires the successful completion of a pre-employment physical. 

  • Visa Sponsorship: Visa sponsorship is not available for this position.


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