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Research Chemist/Physicist

Date: Sep 15, 2022

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 9049 


Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s National Security Sciences Directorate (NSSD) is focused on 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. The Nuclear Nonproliferation Division (NND) is part of the NSSD with a key mission focused on delivery of R&D needed to improve the protection of nuclear materials and fuel cycle technology and prevent the theft, diversion, and illicit use of those materials or technologies, while at the same time allowing for their peaceful use in the global arena. The division is responsible for a range of expertise, facilities, and equipment and applies these combined assets to address R&D and operational challenges related to nonproliferation, safeguards, treaty verification, counterproliferation, and global nuclear security. The division activities also play a vital role in implementation of national policy issues that strive to ensure global nuclear security.  The Analytical Development and Operations Group within the Nuclear Nonproliferation Division seeks applications for an R&D Staff Member, responsible for advancing the analytical characterization of solid-state fuel cycle materials and translating basic science discovery to an operational setting. The group leads cutting edge research in applied materials science, and leverages extensive knowledge in fuel cycle processes, for the betterment of the nuclear nonproliferation mission space.  The group leverages cutting-edge scientific resources across the DOE complex for the solid-state characterization of materials specific to the nuclear fuel cycle.  Fulfillment of this position seeks to broaden the group’s expertise in the fields of solid-state physics and to facilitate a more in depth understanding of solid-phase actinide and non-actinide materials and, specifically, their structural transitions under relevant environments and external stressors and translating these to operational analytical workflows.  


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. Our commitment extends beyond our workforce to the next generation of researchers with STEM education outreach that seeks to engage a diverse range of students.


Major Duties/Responsibilities:

This position will entail leading the growth of our work in experimental and applied materials science associated with structural transitions and degradations of solid-phase materials associated with fuel cycle operations, with intention of advancing the scientific basis for nonproliferation materials characterization.  The ideal candidate will be expected to bring expertise in experimental methods, as applied to solid-phase actinide and relevant non-actinide systems.  Furthermore, this role requires the candidate to leverage past experiences in fundamental physics/chemistry to solve current and future threats to the nuclear nonproliferation mission space.   A R&D contributor is expected to draw on ORNL’s exceptional scientific resources to strengthen our national capabilities to analyze, assess, and interpret unique chemistries of the nuclear fuel cycle.  


Job Description:

The successful candidate will be required to advance our ability to characterize of materials associated with fuel cycle processes.  In doing so, the position requires the ability to grow the breadth of research being executed within the group in the fields of experimental and operational materials analysis.  Therefore, the candidate must have demonstrated prior experience succeeding in a dynamic team environment.  The ideal candidate is expected to produce high-impact science delivered in the form of peer-reviewed journal articles, sponsor reports, or other transferrable knowledge products.  Demonstrated excellent communication skills are required.


Basic Requirements:

  • Doctoral degree in Physics, Applied Physics, Physical Chemistry, or related field
  • Experience in solid-state physics or materials science
  • Demonstrated record of excellence, as evident by publication
  • Demonstrated experience in a variety of characterization techniques including vibrational spectroscopy, crystallography, and mass spectrometry


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Extensive knowledge of the nuclear fuel cycle and associated technologies
  • Experience in the fields of nuclear nonproliferation, counterproliferation, or intelligence as it pertains to nuclear fuel cycle 
  • Experience with operational analytical workflows
  • Experience with data analytics and machine learning 


Special Requirement:

This position requires the ability to obtain and maintain a Sensitive Compartmented Investigation (SCI) 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. In addition, due to the SCI, you may also be subject to random polygraph testing.


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