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Nuclear Fuel Synthesis and Characterization-Senior R&D Staff Member

Date: Sep 16, 2021

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 5185 


The ORNL Particle Fuel Forms (PFF) Group is seeking a highly-motivated individual to join their research team to support synthesis and characterization of uranium compounds for nuclear fuel applications with a focus on kernel development for particle fuel forms (e.g. tristructural isotropic coated particle fuel). This individual will lead experimental investigations aimed at optimization of wet chemistry routes to produce actinide compounds of controlled composition and structure. Existing infrastructure is tailored to internal gelation processing (sol-gel) to produce actinide oxide microspheres both with and without additives. The individual selected for this position will be responsible for exercising and expanding these capabilities in conjunction with required methods for chemical and structural characterization to support study of the linkages between fabrication route, structure-property relationships, and in pile performance of candidate nuclear fuels. Scientific output as well as national and international visibility will be an emphasis throughout these activities. The individual is expected to engage in supervision of students, postdoctoral staff, early career staff, as well as laboratory technical professionals. Regular interactions with program management to develop, plan, and execute strategic objectives is necessary. The individual is also expected to pursue funding opportunities to establish a research vision related to synthesis and characterization of uranium compounds for nuclear fuel development.


Major Duties and Responsibilities:


The selected candidate will:

  • Lead activities in radiological materials laboratories dedicated for synthesis and characterization of sol-gel microspheres
  • Lead development of novel feedstock synthesis methods and approaches for conversion of actinide feedstock materials into final pellet or plate forms
  • Work with team members in the areas of modeling, fabrication, property measurements, irradiation design, post irradiation examination, and other relevant areas to advance science-based understanding of nuclear fuels and actinide materials
  • Produce high impact publications and conference presentations in the field of nuclear fuel materials
  • Supervise and mentor students, postdoctoral fellows, early career staff, and technicians
  • Lead completion of programmatic milestone reports and summary presentations to interface with sponsoring organizations
  • Perform work according to specific rules and requirements for quality assurance, nuclear material control, radiological work, and general laboratory safety


Qualifications Required:


  • PhD in chemistry, materials science, nuclear engineering, or a related field and six years of post-graduate experience
  • Possess a strong background in nuclear materials science with a focus on nuclear fuel materials as evidenced by prior work and publications
  • Strong written and oral communications skills
  • Ability to produce high impact publications and conference presentations in the field of nuclear materials
  • Capacity to effectively supervise and mentor students, postdocs, and other technical staff
  • Lead completion of programmatic milestone reports and summary presentations to interface with sponsoring organizations


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.


Qualifications Desired:


  • Knowledge of present Office of Nuclear Energy programs and priorities is desired
  • Demonstrated experience in mentoring students, postdocs, and early career staff



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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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