Nuclear Materials Analyst - Technical Assistant

Date: Feb 8, 2024

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 12486 



We are seeking a technical professional to support activity in the Material Signatures and Standards group for nuclear samples. The candidate will provide analytical support and radiochemistry measurements of radioactive sample specimens in support of nuclear forensics and nuclear reference material production and verification. With the support of senior technical professionals, the staff member will be responsible for setting up measurement instrumentation, aliquoting appropriate sample sizes, performing the measurement based on a procedure, and logging data. This position resides in Material Signatures and Standards (MSIS) Group in the Nuclear Analytical Chemistry (NAC) Section, Chemicals Sciences Division (CSD), Physical Sciences Directorate (PSD) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).   


As part of our research team, you will be responsible for supporting current and new research focus areas to strengthen current programs and capabilities. In this role you will work closely with the Group Leader and other team members to support sample material preparation and collection programs to delivery high quality data and meet milestones.  As technical professional (TP) staff, you will be responsible for working with staff to provide input to reports. The ideal candidate will lead/support preparation projects and novel chemistry protocols. Daily tasks will focus primarily on labware preparation, digestions using hot plates/microwaves, dissolutions, separations, sample preparation, UF6 handling, data collection, documentation, and report generation. These will support analyses such as isotope dilution mass spectrometry, pycnometry, alpha spectrometry, and titrations. In general, the sample streams are unique and varied in nature, the candidate should not expect to perform the same task daily. In addition, this position will require the candidate to use their previous knowledge to apply solutions to different materials. Your work will contribute to advancement of material characterizations for trace and ultra-trace materials using a suite of high precision analytical methodologies. The candidate should have some familiarity with inorganic mass spectrometry sample preparation.


The (MSIS) group is a new group on the cutting edge of high precision analytical measurements for nuclear signatures and reference materials. The team is located in the Building 4500S which houses a suite of laboratories. The facility contains engineering controls for the safe handling of radioactive materials included hoods and gloveboxes. Analytical capabilities in MSIS include high precision isotopic mass spectrometry, Davies and Gray titration, pycnometry, trace metals quantification, age dating, and alpha spectrometry.


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Support the development of new and novel c chemistry protocols.

  • Create and write reports and scientific documents.

  • Independently plan, design, and execute experiments.

  • Wet chemistry techniques such as dissolution, solution preps and column separations.

  • Make material balance measurements.

  • Assist with instrument operations, troubleshooting and maintenance.

  • Interpret data (including quality control) from measurements to apply to real-world application and purpose through report writing.

  • Have technical proficiency in Microsoft office suite and basic computer software.

  • Have a strong understanding of pipette operation, and labware functionality.

  • Lead and/or participate in collaboration with other scientists and technical personnel in a fast-paced, flexible work environment.

  • Maintain effective communications concerning scientific efforts internal and external to the laboratory, including publication of results in peer-reviewed journals and presentation of results at scientific meetings.

  • Participate/ lead in the initiation of new research directions and development of research proposals to compete for internal and external funding.

  • Travel well be required to brief sponsors, field collect material, or attend scientific conferences. 

  • 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.


Basic Qualifications:

  • A Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry, Biology, Geology, Geochemistry, , Cosmochemistry, Oceanographic, Biochemistry, Psychology  or a related discipline.

  • Experience in a laboratory setting.

  • Demonstrated professional experience with analytical chemistry.

  • Experience working with radioactive material.


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Generally understanding and operation of laboratory infrastructure.

  • Experience with sample preparation, storage, and handling.

  • Experience working in a clean room environment.

  • Experience working in an applied analysis environment.

  • Experience working in ISO-Compliant laboratory setting.

  • Experience executing data analysis and review under standard operating procedures.

  • Experience following standard operating procedures.

  • Experience translating R&D activities to analytical protocols.

  • Knowledge or experience of alpha spectrometry or mass spectrometry

  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.

  • Motivated self-starter with the ability to work independently and to participate creatively in collaborative teams across the laboratory.

  • Ability to function well in a fast-paced research environment, set priorities to accomplish multiple tasks within deadlines, and adapt to ever changing needs.


Special Requirements:

  • Visa Sponsorship: Visa sponsorship is not available for this position.

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

  • 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.


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, 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