Share this Job

R&D Associate - Risk Modeling Development Engineer

Date: Nov 11, 2022

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 9473 


The Risk Methods and Analysis (RMA) Group within the Nuclear Energy and Fuel Cycle Division (NEFCD) at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is seeking applicants for an Associate Research and Development Staff position. The RMA Group is developing new risk, safety, security, economic, and other integrated models to support energy transition efforts and global decarbonization through the deployment of advanced nuclear energy systems.


As a member of this research and development group, you might contribute to:

  • Characterization of the both the safety (radiological) risk and benefits (carbon reduction, economic, etc.) of novel nuclear energy systems 
  • Development of dynamic and other probabilistic risk analysis (PRA) models
  • Development of new methods and tools for the safety and security analysis of nuclear energy systems
  • Development of surrogate and reduced order models (machine learning) for nuclear design optimization
  • Demonstration of additive manufacturing and other advanced manufacturing approaches for use in critical industries such as nuclear energy
  • Support the development of regulatory guidance related to PRA, risk, safety, and security
  • Support the ideation and development of proposals in new areas of research related to risk, safety, security, economics, and nuclear energy


Work in these areas supports the research programs of the US Department of Energy, partnerships with other federal programs, industry collaborations, and operations at ORNL’s major research facilities, such as the Spallation Neutron Source and High Flux Isotope Reactor.


Our team members have the opportunity to work collaboratively with diverse subject matter experts from across the laboratory to solve challenging and important problems related to the development, construction, and operation of nuclear energy technologies, other carbon-free energy technologies, and ORNL scientific facilities. RMA staff members are expected to perform work consistent with Environment, Safety, Security, Health, and Quality (ESH&Q) requirements and business rules.  Further, all staff members are expected to support a diverse and inclusive work environment where every employee feels safe, heard, and appreciated—a workplace that sets an example for the broader community.


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Support Principal Investigators with the development, design, and analysis of high-impact risk and nuclear safety related research.
  • Thoroughly document work performed to meet sponsor and mission needs, including preparation of peer-reviewed papers for publications in journals and conference proceedings.
  • Collaborate with other members of the division to develop new programs, write proposals, and pursue new funding opportunities.
  • Exercise the principles in ORNL’s “Research Code of Conduct” as a guide for proposing, performing, and communicating research.
  • Lead ESH&Q by example, maintain a questioning attitude, and ensure all work is carried out safely, securely, and in compliance with ORNL policies, standards, and procedures.


Basic Qualifications:

  • PhD in nuclear engineering, mechanical engineering, engineering physics, mathematics, or closely related field


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Demonstrated knowledge of nuclear fundamentals, radiation protection, nuclear energy systems, and/or statistical approaches to risk characterization
  • Documented experience working with or developing PRA and/or dynamic PRA models for nuclear energy systems
  • Proficiency in risk and reliability analysis tools such as CAFTA, RISKMAN, SAPHIRE, Crystal Ball, etc.
  • Experience working with nuclear safety analysis software such as MCNP, RELAP, MELCOR, GOTHIC, TRACE, SCALE, MAAP, etc.
  • Experience with Python, C#, Matlab, R, or other scientific programming language
  • Experience working with or creating databases in SQL or Access
  • Demonstrated experience writing scientific and technical reports and giving presentations to prominent government, industry, or research communities


About Fusion and Fission Energy and Science Directorate:

The Fusion and Fission Energy and Science Directorate (FFESD) addresses compelling challenges in fission and fusion energy systems, enabling Oak Ridge National Laboratory to pursue national priorities in current and advanced nuclear research, development, and deployment.


FFESD traces its roots to the X-10 Graphite Reactor, the world’s first continuously operated nuclear reactor, and to early innovations in fusion research and engineering. The directorate’s unique facilities, capabilities, and talented scientists and engineers are currently tackling such challenges as extended operations of the current US nuclear reactor fleet; investigating economical and flexible advanced reactor systems; and making fusion energy a viable power source. The directorate leverages synergies between fusion and fission across domestic and international programs.


FFESD leads US ITER, which has the responsibility of designing, fabricating, and delivering hardware for the international ITER fusion project. The directorate also leads the Transformational Challenge Reactor program and the Material Plasma Exposure eXperiment (MPEX), a future world-leading capability that will produce the extreme plasma environments to test materials for use in fusion energy devices. To learn more about FFESD at ORNL go to

Special Requirements:

  • Physical Requirements: Work involves various physical requirements and working conditions. As such, a pre-hire physical will be required after offer.
  • Export control, no clearance: This position requires access to technology that is subject to export control requirements. Successful candidates must be qualified for such access without an export control license.


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