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Senior R&D Staff Member - Radioisotope Power Systems

Date: Jun 1, 2021

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 4688 


Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), is seeking candidates for a senior/distinguished scientist position that will provide scientific leadership and innovation for expanding research and development (R&D) in radioisotope power systems and industrial applications.


The position will reside within the Radioisotope Science and Technology Division (RSTD), in the Isotope Science and Engineering Directorate at ORNL. The Radioisotope Science and Technology Division is a world leader in isotope production and provides leadership in actinide science, delivers new innovations in isotope production technology, and advances the field of radiochemical processing methods to provide radioisotopes for science, medicine, industry, and security. ORNL’s nuclear, radiological, and scientific facilities with highly specialized equipment are unique resources for radioisotope R&D. These combined expertise and resources include the High Flux Isotope Reactor and specialized hot cell and glove box capabilities which are currently used to produce an array of radioisotopes (e.g. Ac-225, Ac-227, Cf-252, Pu-238, Ni-63, Th-229) for medical and industrial applications and scientific discovery (e.g., super-heavy elements). ORNL also offers access to state-of-the-art user facilities such as the Center for Nanophase Material Sciences, and the Spallation Neutron Source, and is home to world class super-computing capabilities i.e. Summit and Frontier.


This senior scientific leader will work in close collaboration with researchers, sponsors, program and line managers in RSTD and across ORNL to build visionary, far-reaching research programs.  This innovative leader will have demonstrated expertise and national/international impact in one or more fields such as: nuclear and radiochemistry, materials science and engineering, nuclear physics, and nuclear and chemical engineering.


The successful candidate will be highly motivated and capable of forging ties across organizations, both internal and external to ORNL. They will create integrated teams to provide transformational applications impacting the development of radioisotope power systems. They will partner with internal and external collaborators to establish new research areas and develop new radioisotope technologies to address unmet needs across a variety of application areas.


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

  • Provide scientific leadership in the development of nuclear power systems through the formation of collaborative cross disciplinary teams internal and external to ORNL, develop research proposals, and conduct world-class research that is published in peer-reviewed journals
  • Science and technology areas of interest include direct and indirect energy harvesting approaches for radioisotope power systems.
  • Formulate and implement novel ideas and impactful approaches that will foster the growth of integrated approaches to ongoing radioisotope R&D within ORNL and the national laboratory system
  • Initiate and conduct research supporting the industrial and research applications of radioisotopes, serving as a critical strategic interface between radioisotope production and emerging applications research.
  • Advance R&D for the production and purification of radioisotopes and stimulate ideas for their use in research and industrial applications
  • Interact effectively across organization structures with staff scientists and engineers at all levels and be an effective representative of ORNL and their research to sponsors and the professional community
  • Serve as a role model for integrity and safety in the conduct of research, mentoring of early career staff, and engagement with scientific and professional societies


Basic Qualifications:

  • The position requires a PhD in the scientific and engineering disciplines with at least 6 years of combined experience in areas such as radiochemistry, material science, solid state chemistry and / or industrial applications of radioisotopes
  • Practical laboratory and engineering experience related to radioactive materials processing and handling is required
  • Candidates must be recognized leaders in their fields with an extensive publication record, excellent problem-solving skills, and a proven track record in program development, and team building
  • Excellent communication skills are required in both verbal and written forums to enable effective interaction with peers, program managers, and sponsors


Preferred Qualifications:

  • 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 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.


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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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