Senior Nuclear Engineer - Neutronics Analyst for Isotope Production

Date: Feb 8, 2024

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 12329 


Oak Ridge National Lab is seeking a Senior Nuclear Engineer who will focus on the design and optimization of targets for irradiation to produce critical radioisotopes. Most of the target design effort will focus on irradiation in the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR), although design for other reactor targets or even accelerator targets may be required. You will be working with scientists, engineers, technicians, and safety and quality assurance staff to lead the design HFIR isotope production targets. A successful candidate for this position would be able to lead efforts to achieve specific isotope production objectives including HFIR target design, qualification, fabrication, irradiation, and post-irradiation chemical processing. We are seeking a person who can be a team player with excellent attention to detail, critical thinking ability, and strong communication skills.


Major Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Become subject matter expert for radioisotope production target design by performing transmutation, heat generation, dose, and shielding calculations using advanced particle transport and reactor physics codes.
  • Lead the development of radioisotope production efforts, managing resources and schedules toward specific research and production objectives.
  • Produce safety basis calculations to rigorous quality standards documenting the performance of radioisotope production targets within HFIR and demonstrate compliance with the facility safety analysis report.
  • Collaborate within ORNL and with external institutions to prepare proposals and participate in novel research advancing radioisotope targetry, processing, and handling as well as various other aspects of radioisotope production.
  • Mentor early career staff, post-docs, and interns.
  • Lead research and development on alternative target designs, including alternative material matrices for pressed cermet pellets, complex geometries of pellets, novel encapsulation methodologies, and other innovations utilizing advanced manufacturing.
  • Prepare peer-reviewed journal articles, reports, and presentations for sponsors and the technical community.
  • Serve in professional societies and standards development committees.


Basic Qualifications:

  • PhD in Nuclear Engineering, Physics, or a similar field, and a minimum of eight years of related experience. Candidates with significant experience and a related M.S. degree will also be considered.
  • Advanced theoretical understanding of particle transport methods and/or reactor physics including experience with particle transport modeling and simulation codes such as MCNP, PHITS, GEANT4 and/or activation/depletion codes such as ORIGEN.
  • Experience in research and development with established publication record.


 Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience leading projects, including those that involve working with small interdisciplinary teams.
  • Ability to use modern programming languages (i. e. Python, C++, Java etc.) to develop tools that aid in target optimization studies.
  • Experience in a heavily regulated environment, with strong quality control over analysis.
  • A working understanding of traditional and advanced fabrication methods.

Special Requirements:

  • Ability to obtain DOE clearance preferred.


About the Isotope Science and Engineering Directorate (ISED):
Established in 2020, the Isotope Science and Energy Directorate is strengthening Oak Ridge National Laboratory's leadership in isotope production and enrichment technology innovation. ISED is guiding the Lab's pursuit of the fundamental science and technology that broadens the application of isotopes for energy, environmental, medical, and national security purposes. These efforts are made possible through the High Flux Isotope Reactor, the Radiochemical Engineering Development Center (REDC), ORNL's other nuclear facilities, and an assemblage of world-leading scientists and engineers.  Please visit for more information about ISED.


This position resides within the Target Design, Analysis, and Qualification (TDAQ) group in the Radioisotope Production Engineering and Analysis Section, in the Radioisotope Science and Technology Division of the Isotope Science and Engineering Directorate. The TDAQ group enables the production of a variety of important medical, scientific, and industrial radioisotopes by developing target designs that are safe, efficient, and reliable. These include several alpha/beta emitting radioisotopes either deployed or under clinical trial for treatment of cancer (e.g., Ac-225, Ac-227, Ra-224/Pb-212, and W-188); heavy actinides Bk-249, Es-254, and Fm-257 for fundamental chemistry research and new element discovery; Cf-252 for neutron emitting applications; Pu-238 for space exploration; and Ni-63, Pm-147, and Ba-133 for industrial applications. The list of radioisotopes produced at ORNL is constantly expanding to meet global demand, and the TDAQ group is expanding to support this effort. Supporting the largest radioisotope research and production portfolio within the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science for Isotope R&D and Production, as well as extensive isotope production programs for the DOE Office of Nuclear Energy and National Nuclear Safety Administration, this position will grant you the opportunity to work with rare nuclear materials and the unique facilities at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, including HFIR and REDC.


 Benefits at ORNL:
UT-Battelle offers a quality benefits package, including a matching 401(k), contributory pension plan, paid vacation, and medical/dental plan options.  Onsite amenities include a credit union, medical clinic, cafeteria, and fitness facilities.


Moving can be overwhelming and expensive.  UT-Battelle offers a generous relocation package to ease the transition process.  Domestic and international relocation assistance is available for certain positions.  If invited to interview, be sure to ask your Recruiter (Talent Acquisition Partner) for details.
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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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