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Nonproliferation Data Scientist

Date: Jun 8, 2022

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 8411 


The Verification Technology Group (VERTECH) within the Nonproliferation Engineering, Science and Technologies Section of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Division (NND) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) seeks applications for a full-time associate staff scientist position that will focus on the research and development of data science approaches and techniques for a variety of national security, proliferation detection, and international safeguards applications. VERTECH members combine expertise in radiation detection, measurement system development and deployment, system lifecycle management, and data analytics to provide the research and development (R&D) and associated technical and operational support that enables the conduct of nuclear nonproliferation missions for numerous US Government agencies. The successful applicant will work with multidisciplinary teams to identify, develop, and implement solutions for national security challenges. This position will specifically focus on the development of new and novel machine learning techniques for nonproliferation.


The NND is a division operating within the National Security Sciences Directorate at ORNL. A key mission of the NND is delivery of R&D needed to improve the protection of nuclear materials and fuel cycle technology and prevent the theft, diversion, and illicit use of those materials or technologies, while at the same time allowing for their peaceful use in the global arena. The division is responsible for a range of expertise, facilities, and equipment and applies these combined assets to address R&D and operational challenges related to nonproliferation, safeguards, treaty verification, counterproliferation, and global nuclear security. The division activities also play a vital role in implementation of national policy issues that strive to ensure global nuclear security.


The individual selected for this position will be responsible for interacting with division staff members inside and outside VERTECH and working on projects in a team environment. The successful candidate is expected to be able to participate in the development of research proposals, and report results of their work in peer-reviewed journal publications, conference papers and technical reports.


Our commitment to diversity: 

As we strive to become the world’s premier research institution in the sciences and technologies that underpin critical national security missions, we are committed to creating an inclusive environment that highly values a diverse workforce. We recognize that a breadth of perspectives, insights, and experiences are necessary to drive the level of innovation and discovery that is mission critical to national security sciences. Our commitment extends beyond our workforce to the next generation of researchers with STEM education outreach that seeks to engage a diverse range of students.


Major Duties/Responsibilities

  • Collaborate with project managers, subject matter experts, and other researchers (mentors) to develop and apply new data driven approaches for nuclear material detection, nuclear material characterization, and fuel cycle evaluation.
  • Assist in the implementation of projects related to international security and nonproliferation.
  • Provide research and programmatic support to nonproliferation and security initiatives that address national security challenges.
  • Provide technical support to projects as assigned, working with customers to meet deliverables and address and resolve technology or system issues.
  • Document and periodically publish technical work in high impact papers, journals, conference papers and technical reports.
  • Collaborate in a team environment to develop and present research proposals to generate new funding.
  • Ability to work effectively as a member of an agile development team, but execute specific technical tasks independently.
  • Performance of work activities in nuclear and/or radiological facilities/environments.
  • Ability to engage in domestic and international travel as required.


Basic Qualifications

  • Requires an M.S. or Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering, Physics, Computer Science, or a related technical field
  • Recent experience with developing data analytics and machine learning models using Python, C++, or another relevant language.
  • Firm understanding of the training, testing, and validation of machine learning models
  • Demonstrated problem-solving skills, a willingness to apply those skills to a variety of problems, and the ability to determine and understand the broader context of your work
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills and strong organization skills. 


Preferred Qualifications

  • Ability to excel in a team environment with peers, mentors, and non-subject matter experts
  • Demonstrated understanding of developing machine learning and data analytics models and applying them to relevant problems in nuclear nonproliferation.
  • Expertise with creating visualizations that are appropriate for sponsors and/or subject matter experts using results from data driven models.
  • Experience with analyzing time series data from sensors used in safeguards and nonproliferation.
  • Working knowledge of domestic and/or international safeguards and security programs.
  • Familiarity with domestic and international methods used for monitoring fuel cycle activities (associated with mining, milling, conversion, enrichment, fuel fabrication, weapons, and waste) for safeguards and security applications.


Special Requirement:

This position requires the ability to obtain and maintain a Sensitive Compartmented Investigation (SCI) 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. In addition, due the SCI, you may be also be subject to random polygraph testing.


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