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Reactor Fuel & Core Components Nuclear Fabrication Engineer

Date: Jan 11, 2023

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 9830 


The Systems Engineering Section within the Research Reactors Division (RRD) is looking for a highly motivated Nuclear Fuel and Component Fabrication Engineer.  The primary responsibility of the Fuel & Component Fabrication Engineering  Group is to provide engineering support and oversight for reactor fuel fabrication. This position will be responsible for the Nuclear Fuel Fabrication Engineering role which supports manufacturing of reactor fuel elements, U3O8 powder, core components, control rods and plates, etc. This position may also be asked to provide engineering and project management assistance for fabrication of items outside the Fuel / Core Components area needed for a long shutdown in 2025.


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

Nuclear Fuel Fabrication Engineering:

  • Works with a team of engineers to manage Fuel Supplier’s fabrication of 7 high quality element assemblies per year.
  • Provides technical support and engineering oversight for a variety of processes including compacting, various NDE processes such as Radiographic Testing and Homogeneity evaluation.
  • Evaluates existing processes for potential improvements to quality and productivity.
  • Reviews Operating Procedures for accuracy and opportunities for improvement.
  • Visits Fuel Fabricator on site once per two months to support fabrication challenges and verify proper processing methods.
  • Supports activities to improve supplier quality through implementation of a Corrective Action Plan.
  • Provides engineering support to evaluate and disposition non-conformities produced by the supplier.
  • Provides technical support and engineering oversight at the Fuel Fabrication sub-supplier’s factory producing U3O8 powder.


Core Components Fabrication Engineering:

  • Identifies core component inventory deficiencies and vulnerabilities to maintaining continuous reactor operation.
  • Supports development of reactor core components replacement plan.
  • Supports HFIR 3-Year Planning Activities.
  • Prepares design specifications to define and determine acceptance criteria for component upgrades.
  • Prepares material specifications and provides technical support in procurement of materials.
  • Implements modifications in accordance with RRD configuration control processes.
  • Applies relevant codes and standards, such as ASTM, ASME, AWS, GD&T, QS9000, ISO14001, etc.
  • Fulfills role of project manager working with companies fabricating required core components.
  • Provides on-site technical support and project direction for fabricators of core components.
  • Works with Metrology Groups on site &/or at fabricator site to ensure fabricated components are inspected accurately to required specifications.
  • Prepares and maintains as-built documentation for assigned HFIR SSCs, including engineering drawings, specifications, system descriptions, relevant databases and labeling.
  • May support preparation of work packages providing instruction for installation of modified core components.
  • May provide field technical support to maintenance engineers and craft personnel during core components installation.  


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.
  • A minimum of 5 years of experience in the nuclear fuel fabrication field.
  • Experience in project management, process development, process trouble-shooting, materials/parts procurement, and procedure development.
  • A strong understanding of reading and interpreting mechanical design drawings.
  • Ability to diagnose mechanical equipment problems and develop formal work package instructions for performance and documentation of repairs.


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Excellent understanding of powder metallurgy, compacting, annealing with a sound understanding of process development and machine design. 
  • Master’s degree in nuclear or metallurgical engineering
  • 10 or more years of experience in the nuclear fuel fabrication field.
  • Experience working with QC Inspection Labs and a fundamental understanding of basic measurement techniques.
  • Familiarity with mechanical design and maintenance activities in a nuclear reactor operating environment. 
  • Familiarity with the regulatory programs which define the HFIR work environment, including DOE Orders pertaining to the conduct of operation and maintenance, and understanding of OSHA requirements is a plus. 
  • 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.


This position requires the ability to obtain and maintain a “Q” 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.


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


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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