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Senior R&D Staff Member, Nuclear Fuel Synthesis and Characterization

Date: Sep 13, 2022

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 9034 


Oak Ridge National Laboratory is the largest US Department of Energy science and energy laboratory, conducting basic and applied research to deliver transformative solutions to compelling problems in energy and security.


The ORNL Advanced Fuel Fabrication and Instrumentation Group is seeking a highly motivated individual to lead nuclear fuel fabrication and characterization research focused on nuclear energy applications. The selected candidate will be a scientific leader supervising a small team of researchers including students and postdocs. Scientific output, program development, and international visibility will be an emphasis throughout these activities.


The AFFI Group applies modern materials science to design, characterize, optimize, and test advanced nuclear fuels and fabrication methods that will accelerate the deployment of nuclear energy systems. The selected individual will provide ORNL leadership in the development and assessment of novel nuclear fuel forms to fuel existing and future reactor designs. As part of our research team, you will lead staff and utilize existing radiological processing capabilities and characterization equipment to fabricate actinide materials and improve understanding of the fundamental behaviors that govern nuclear fuel performance. A major objective of this position will be directing emergent research activities in additive and advanced manufacturing of nuclear fuels. Strong collaboration with the Particle Fuel Form and Nuclear Fuel Element Performance groups within the Nuclear Fuel Development Section (NFDS) and the Materials Science and Technology Division will be necessary. Collaboration with other national laboratories, industry, and academia is a priority of AFFI. If selected for this role, you will be asked to maintain and grow our network of national and international collaborators in development and characterization of nuclear fuel forms and actinide materials.

Metrics for success will include scientific output, program and capability development, and growth of key programs supporting the Office of Nuclear Energy, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and other sponsors.


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Lead experimental work in radiological materials laboratories centered on thermophysical and thermomechanical property characterization of metals, ceramics, and composite materials
  • Develop novel characterization methods and approaches for assessment of nuclear fuel performance
  • Supervise a team members in the areas of modeling, property measurements, irradiation design, post irradiation examination, and other relevant areas to advance science-based understanding of nuclear fuels and actinide materials
  • Assess and develop opportunities for incorporation of advanced techniques such as machine learning, in situ process monitoring, embedded sensing, and other methodologies into fuel development
  • Leverage and deploy state-of-the-art fabrication and characterization methods emerging in other fields to revolutionize nuclear fuel design and qualification
  • Produce high impact publications and conference presentations in the field of nuclear fuel materials
  • Lead program interfaces including supervision of programmatic milestone reports and summary presentations
  • Advise organizational leadership on strategic opportunities and research priorities as driven by sponsor interests 
  • Collaborate within a multi-disciplinary research environment consisting of experimentalists, computational scientists, and engineers conducting basic and applied research in support of the Laboratory’s missions
  • Perform work according to specific rules and requirements for quality assurance, nuclear material control, radiological work, and general laboratory safety
  • Maintain strong dedication to the implementation and perpetuation of values and ethics


Basic Qualifications:

  • PhD in chemistry, materials science, nuclear engineering, or a related field and six years of post graduate experience
  • Possess a strong background in nuclear materials science with a focus on nuclear fuel materials as evidenced by prior work and publications


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience leading development activities of novel nuclear fuel forms in industry or at a national laboratory
  • Familiarity with nuclear fuel development and licensure pathways when viewed through commercial and regulatory frameworks
  • Demonstrated success linking modeling to experimental efforts
  • Experience mentoring students and postdocs in nuclear materials research
  • Experience working for or collaborating with DOE National Laboratories (or similar R&D organizations). 


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