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Research Associate - Nuclear Forensics

Date: Jul 28, 2022

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 8348 

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 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.


Within the NND, the Detonation Forensics and Response (DFR) group focuses on nuclear detonation fallout prediction for support of improved capabilities in detonation characterization and forensics and provides enhanced tools to support incident response and consequence management. The DFR group seeks applicants for a research associate position with a background in post-detonation nuclear forensics research and with expertise in atmospheric dispersion processes, in particular with relation to the transport and deposition of nuclear debris over local and global domains.


Job Duties and Responsibilities:

  • This position will contribute to basic research of nuclear weapons effects for forensics, consequence management, and health physics applications.
  • The successful candidate will be proficient in modeling and simulation of post-detonation nuclear forensics, including both forward and inverse modelling of irradiation/decay processes, material formation and evolution, and atmospheric fate and transport.
  • The successful candidate will be expected to engage programmatically and technically across the division, directorate, and laboratory to help sustain and grow ORNL impact on nuclear nonproliferation and nuclear security missions.
  • The candidate is expected to work well both in a team environment and independently and to fully document work performed in technical reports, papers, and presentations. The candidate will be responsible for contributing to and expanding DFR’s capabilities and scientific impact through proposals and other program development.
  • Support senior staff in the development and execution of projects that provide valued and timely deliverables supporting the National Security Sciences Directorate (NSSD) and nonproliferation customers.
  • Ensure compliance with environmental, safety, health, and quality program requirements.
  • Maintain a strong commitment to the implementation and perpetuation of institution values and ethics.


Qualifications Required:

  • Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering, Physics, or related field
  • Experience with modeling and/or analysis of nuclear fireball physics, chemistry, or fate and transport.
  • General approaches to solving inverse problems, e.g., parameter estimation, optimization, and applied statistics.
  • Demonstrated proficiency with computationally oriented computer programming.
  • Demonstrated problem-solving skills, a willingness to apply those skills to a variety of problems, and the ability to determine and understand the broader context of his or her research.
  • Strong written and oral communication skills and a commitment to a team environment.


Qualifications Preferred:

  • Successful post-doctorate experience in post-detonation nuclear effects or related research.
  • Experience with atmospheric transport codes such as HYSPLIT, SCIPUFF, or FLEXPART.
  • Experience developing software in a production or similarly structured environment.
  • Familiarity with continuous integration / continuous development (CI/CD) code development practices.
  • Demonstrated history of communicating research and development results through peer-reviewed journal articles, conference publications, and technical manuals.


Special Requirement:

This position requires the ability to obtain and maintain a clearance from the Department of Energy.



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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