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R&D Associate - Nuclear Engineering

Date: Jun 8, 2021

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 5816 

Description of job: The Nuclear Nonproliferation Division (NND) is a division operating within the National Security Sciences Directorate at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). The NND performs research and development (R&D) to detect, characterize, and monitor nuclear fuel cycle activities and nuclear explosions; develops concepts, approaches, and technologies to strengthen global security for nuclear and radiological material; and engages with federal agencies to enhance international nonproliferation regimes.


The Material Security and Stewardship (MSS) group within the NND at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) seeks applications for an R&D Associate Nuclear Engineer. MSS group conducts R&D in nuclear nonproliferation and performs analysis and methods development in areas such as reactor core physics, nuclear fuel cycle assessments, radionuclide inventories, and source terms. The MSS group also collaborates closely with other NND groups in areas such as safeguards, criticality safety, material and fuel irradiation, and the use of SCALE and other code systems. The major customers of the work performed in this group are the National Nuclear Security Administration, the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense, and other government agencies. The function of this position is to perform reactor core physics analysis, reactor core depletion analysis, characterization of reactor inventories, and participation in the development of nuclear analysis methods for nonproliferation.


The National Security Sciences Directorate conducts research and development to confront some of the nation’s most difficult security challenges and adversaries.  Our directorate houses S&T leadership in cybersecurity and cyber-physical resiliency, data analytics, geospatial science and technology, nuclear nonproliferation, and high-performance computing for sensitive national security missions. We draw on the Laboratory’s exceptional facilities and work closely with leading researchers in other areas at the lab such as nuclear and chemical sciences and engineering, applied materials, advanced manufacturing, biosecurity, transportation, and computing.  Our multi-disciplinary research teams are passionate about discovery and innovation as we create science-based solutions to complex security threats that put public safety, national defense, energy infrastructure, and the economy at risk.


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. 


Job Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Conceptualizing, leading and performing research and development in the areas of nuclear reactor core analysis, including some or all of the following: cross section preparation, steady-state core analysis, reactor kinetics, fuel cycle analysis and evaluations, research reactor design and analysis, characterization of isotopic content of nuclear materials, and radiation sources in reactors systems and spent fuel
  • Develop and implement methods for calculating the burnup and Pu content of spent nuclear fuel to compare to measurements using destructive analysis (DA) and non-destructive analysis (NDA) techniques.
  • Developing and validating mathematical methods for analyzing spent nuclear fuel to reconstruct its operational history and will integrate these methods into existing modeling and simulation (M&S) tools.
  • Address applications in nuclear forensics utilizing mathematical inverse problem formulations.
  • Maintain and develop the codes used for this evaluation and test performance on different operating systems.
  • Perform the validation analyses using numerically-generated data and actual measurements of spent nuclear fuel composition.
  • Collaborate across divisions and directorates with researchers and engineers to execute excising NNSA programs.
  • Collaborate with nonproliferation experts across the national laboratory complex to propose and  execute R&D and build capabilities.
  • Occasional travel to support domestic and international engagements related to work scope.
  • Ensure compliance with environment, safety, health and quality program requirements.
  • Maintain strong commitment to the implementation and perpetuation of values and ethics.


Qualifications Required:

  • Candidates for this position must have a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering, and a minimum of two years of recent experience in nuclear reactor analysis and/or reactor analysis methods development
  • A firm understanding of the physics of nuclear reactors backed by demonstrated recent and relevant research and development in the field is a fundamental requirement of this position.
  • It is highly desirable for the candidate to have experience with the SCALE code system, lattice physics code systems, reactor core physics analysis codes, radiation transport codes, and computer code development.
  •  Excellent verbal, presentation, and writing skills are required to enable effective interaction and communication with technical peers, program managers, and sponsors.
  • 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.


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.

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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.

Nearest Major Market: Knoxville