Nuclear Fuel & Fabrication Engineer

Date: Aug 27, 2023

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 10857 


We are seeking a motivated Nuclear Fuel and Fabrication Engineer to join our Systems Engineering Section within the Research Reactors Division (RRD). Your primary responsibility will be to provide engineering support and oversight for reactor fuel fabrication, which includes manufacturing reactor fuel elements, U3O8 powder, core components, control rods, and plates. Additionally, you may be involved in engineering and project management for items outside the fuel/core components area during a long shutdown in 2028.


This position resides in the Fuel & Component Fabrication Engineering  Group in the Systems Engineering Section, Research Reactors Division, Neutron Sciences Directorate at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).  


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Manage the fabrication of high-quality fuel element assemblies with a team of engineers.
  • Provide technical support and engineering oversight for various processes such as compacting and non-destructive evaluation (NDE).
  • Evaluate existing processes for improvements in quality and productivity.
  • Review and improve operating procedures.
  • Visit fuel fabricator regularly to address challenges and ensure proper processing methods.
  • Support activities to enhance supplier quality through corrective action plans.
  • Evaluate and address non-conformities from the supplier.
  • Provide technical support and oversight for U3O8 powder production at the sub-supplier's factory.
  • Identify inventory deficiencies and vulnerabilities for core components and assist in developing a replacement plan.
  • Support the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) 3-Year Planning Activities.
  • Prepare design and material specifications for component upgrades and procure materials.
  • Implement modifications following configuration control processes.
  • Apply relevant codes and standards.
  • Serve as a project manager working with companies fabricating required core components.
  • Provide on-site technical support and project direction.
  • Collaborate with Metrology Groups to ensure accurate inspection of fabricated components.
  • Prepare and maintain documentation for assigned HFIR SSCs.
  • May support the preparation of work packages for core component installation.
  • May provide technical support during core component installation.
  • 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.


Work Environment:

Physical requirements for this job may include frequent walking and walking for long distances.  Other work environment requirements may include climbing of stairs, ducking, kneeling, or crawling around equipment and facilities.  Exposure to ionization radiation normally associated with operation of neutron scattering instruments for scientific research is also possible. The potential exists to work with vendors fabricating reactor components comprised of beryllium materials.


Basic Qualifications:

  • A bachelor's degree in nuclear, metallurgical, mechanical engineering, or related field with a minimum of 5 years of relevant experience.
  • Experience in nuclear fuel fabrication.
  • Experience in project management, process development, troubleshooting, and/or procurement.
  • Strong understanding of mechanical design drawings.
  • Ability to diagnose equipment problems and develop repair instructions.


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Excellent understanding of powder metallurgy, compacting, and annealing.
  • Master's degree in nuclear or metallurgical engineering.
  • 10 or more years of experience in nuclear fuel fabrication.
  • Experience with quality control inspection and measurement techniques.
  • Familiarity with mechanical design and maintenance in a nuclear reactor environment.
  • Knowledge of regulatory programs and safety requirements.
  • Excellent communication skills, both written and oral.
  • Self-motivated with the ability to work independently and in collaborative teams.
  • Adaptability to a fast-paced research environment and changing needs.


Special Requirements:

Physical Requirements: Work involves various physical requirements and working conditions. As such, a pre-hire physical will be required after offer.


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.


Visa sponsorship is not available for this position.


About Neutron Sciences Directorate:

The Neutron Sciences Directorate (NScD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) operates the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR), the United States’ highest flux reactor-based neutron source, and the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS), the world’s most intense pulsed accelerator-based neutron source.  Together these facilities operate 30 instruments for neutron scattering research, each year carrying out in excess of 1,000 experiments in the physical, chemical, materials, biological and medical sciences for more than 3,000 visiting scientists.  HFIR also provides unique facilities for isotope production and neutron irradiation.  To learn more about Neutron Sciences at ORNL go to


Benefits at ORNL:  

ORNL offers competitive pay and benefits programs to attract and retain talented 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, 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