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Group Leader - Target Design, Analysis, and Qualification for Radioisotope Production

Date: Jun 21, 2022

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 7702 

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is a senior scientist and technical leader for our wold class radioisotooe production program, with expertise in the area of design, analysis, and qualification of materials for irradiation. Supporting the largest radioisotope production and research portfolio within the Department of Energy national isotope Program, this position will grant you the opportunity to work with rare nuclear materials, and the highest steady state neutron flux research reactor in the country, as you guide the strategic development of novel radioisotope production methods.


This position as the leader of the Target Design, Analysis, and Qualifications (TDAQ) Group resides within the Radioisotope Sciece and Technology Division (RSTD) of the Isotope Science and Engineering Directorate (ISED). The highly accomplished staff within the RSTD use the unique facilities at ORNL, including the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) and the Radiochemical Engineering Development Center (REDC), to produce a variety of important medical, scientific, and industrial radioisotopes. These include several alpha/beta emitting radioisotopes either deployed or under clinical trial for treatment of cancer (eg. Ac-225, Ac-227,Ra-224/Pb-212, and W-188); heavy actinides Bk-249, Es-254, and Fm-257 for fundamental chemistry research and new element discovery; Cf-252 for neutron emitting applications; Pu-238 for space exploration; and Ni-63 and Pm-147 for industrial applications.


Major Duties and Responsibilities:

TDAQ is responsible for development, implementation, and optimization of radioisotope production methods, as well as the analysis of irradiation conditions in reactors, accelerators, and radioactive sources. You will work closely with target fabrication engineers and technicians to converge upon designs that can be effectively fabricated and qualified for irradiation, and to identify fabrication techniques which can support more optimal design conditions.

  • Provide leadership and technical vision for growth of our research portfolio and programs related to the production of radioisotopes in nuclear reactor and accelerator environments.
  • Lead a multi-disciplinary research program to advance technologies for production of radioisotopes.
  • Submit proposals for competitively funded research in basic and applied sciences applicable to improving production of radioisotopes.
  • Lead sponsor-directed research on development of new radioisotope product lines.
  • Maintain detailed records relating to irradiation experiments and nuclear materials.
  • Provide imaginative, thorough engineering solutions to a wide range of complex, ambiguous, and/or difficult problems.
  • Engage with the domestic and international radioisotope production community to lead workshops, working groups, and conferneces.
  • Provide mentoring and career guidance to a team of roughly 10 engineers and scientists, including facilitating knowledge transfer and strategic development of early career staff.
  • Serve in professional societies and standards development committees
  • Publish research results in peer reviewed journals.
  • 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:

  • A PhD in Mechanical or Nuclear Engineering, Materials Science, or similar field, and a minimum of six years of related experience is required, with demonstrated experience in the design and analysis of materials and components for use in nuclear reactors.
  • Experience with at least one of the following techniques:
    • Reactor physics, activation and depletion modeling of irradiation environments, using codes such as mcnp and SCALE
    • Thermal analysis of irradiation environment using codes such as ANSYS, SolidWorks, and COMSOL
  • An appropriate publication record demonstrating increasing complexity and ownership of a research portfolio, provided research was not overly subject to classification restrction


Preferred Qualifications:

  • A strong reactor physics background and understanding of the impacts of materials and geometry on activation and depletion
  • Experience supporting and directing the work of early career researchers and/or graduate students
  • Experience qualifying experiments for irradiation in a nuclear reactor
  • A successful record of funding acquisition for applied multi-disciplinary research
  • Understanding of traditional and advanced manufacturing techniques as applied to materials in the nuclear industry

Special Requirements:

This position requires access to technology that is subject to export control requirements. Successful candidates must be qualified for such access without an export control license.


About the Isotope Science and Engineering Directorate (ISED):
Established in 2020, the Isotope Science and Engineering Directorate is strengthening Oak Ridge National Laboratory's leadership in isotope production and enrichment technology innovation. ISED is guiding the Lab's pursuit of the fundamental science and technology that broadens the application of isotopes for energy, environmental, medical, and national security purposes. These efforts are made possible through the High Flux Isotope Reactor, the Radiochemical Engineering Development Center, ORNL's other nuclear facilities, and an assemblage of world-leading scientists and engineers.  Please visit for more information about ISED.

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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