Nonproliferation Research Chemist - R&D Associate

Date: Sep 14, 2023

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 11409 



Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Chemical and Isotopics Mass Spectrometry (CIMS) Group seeks a dedicated, emerging research chemist to focus on developing ultra-trace clean chemistry protocols for nuclear safeguards, nonproliferation, and various nuclear applications. The work involves conducting research to develop prototypes, innovative devices, and analytical methodologies to address safeguards and nonproliferation risks and deficiencies. The position resides in the Nuclear Analytical Chemistry (NAC) Section, Chemicals Sciences Division (CSD), Physical Sciences Directorate (PSD) at ORNL.


We're looking for someone to help us elevate our capabilities in nuclear materials security, particularly within the actinide series of elements. Focus areas can include but are not limited to: collections, dissolutions, separations, sample preparations, material conversions, and protocols for age dating bulk nuclear materials. Your work will not only improve our understanding but also refine material characterizations, relying on high-precision analytical methodologies. You'll also work closely with the Group Leader and other team members to identify sponsors and seek out new opportunities.


The CIMS group has extensive history in the analysis of material dating back to the early 1960s. The team is located in the Ultra Trace Forensic Science Center which houses a suite of sophisticated and modern laboratories. The facility contains over 10000 square feet of cleanroom space for separations and sample preparation. In addition, there are higher level laboratories across campus for various applications. The separation laboratories feature unique automated separation systems, and sample handling infrastructure.


Major Duties/Responsibilities:

  • Develop and implement novel chemistry protocols for critical evaluations for nuclear material protection and advancement of nuclear applications and processes

  • Plan, design, and complete experiments

  • Collaborate with other scientists and technical personnel in a fast-paced, flexible work environment

  • Foster effective science communication regarding efforts both inside and outside the laboratory, including publication of results in peer-reviewed journals and presentation of results at scientific meetings

  • Contribute to the initiation of new research directions and formulating research proposals aimed at securing internal and external funding opportunities

  • 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 encouraging a respectful workplace – in how we treat one another, work together, and measure success


Basic Qualifications:

  • A PhD degree in Chemistry, Geology, Geochemistry, Radiochemistry, Cosmochemistry, Oceanographic, Biochemistry, Volcanology or a related field

  • Professional experience in high precision, trace and/or ultra-trace sample preparations


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience in field collections, preparations, and/or separations material conversion chemistry

  • Experience with mass spectrometry or radiochemistry preparation analysis methods

  • Experience in cleanroom operations

  • General understanding of the operation of a laboratory infrastructure for trace clean chemistry work.

  • Collaborative research experience (academic, industry, government agencies)

  • Ability to function well in a dynamic research environment, set priorities to accomplish multiple tasks on time, and adapt to evolving needs.

  • Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to work as an effective team member


Special Requirements:

  • Travel is required to brief sponsors, conduct field material collections, and engage in scientific conference participation.

  • Three letters of reference are required and can be uploaded to your profile or emailed directly to Please include the title of the position in the subject line.

  • This position requires the ability to obtain and maintain an HSPD-12 PIV badge.

  • 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.


Benefits at ORNL:

ORNL offers competitive pay and benefits programs to attract and retain hardworking 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: Prescription Drug Plan, Dental Plan, Vision Plan, 401(k) Retirement Plan, Contributory Pension Plan, Life Insurance, Pet 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.




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