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Postdoctoral Research Associate - Fusion Plasma Fueling

Date: Mar 18, 2023

Location: San Diego, CA, US, 92121

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 10162 


Oak Ridge National Laboratory is the largest US Department of Energy science and energy laboratory. In partnership with public and private fusion efforts worldwide, ORNL is establishing the technical basis to sustain a burning plasma, pursuing next-generation materials that can withstand the extreme fusion environment, and developing critical fusion nuclear technology for fuel production and energy extraction.  We’re urgently working to make credible fusion reactor designs and bring reliable, economical fusion electricity to the grid as soon as possible.


We have an exciting opportunity for a Postdoctoral Research Associate to join our Advanced Tokamak Group and conduct high-impact research on pellet fueling at the DIII-D National Fusion Facility in San Diego, CA, which is currently the largest tokamak in the U.S. No prior experience in this topic is required. This is a unique opportunity to work with ORNL’s world leading scientists, engineers, and technicians, build strong collaborations with the multi-institutional DIII-D Team, and perform high visibility, career-building research. 


You’ll be responsible for conducting modeling and experimental studies to assess the compatibility of pellet fueling with edge-localized mode (ELM) control. These studies will combine leading computational codes with new experimental capabilities for pellet fueling at DIII-D to develop and optimize pellet-fueling processes for controlling and sustaining the plasma scenarios required for ITER and other future burning plasma devices.


This position is in the Advanced Tokamak Group in the Fusion Energy Division of the Fusion and Fission Energy System Directorate. The work location will be at the DIII-D National Fusion Facility at General Atomics in San Diego, CA.


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

Duties include, but are not limited to:

  • Computational modeling of pellet fueling and pedestal MHD response in tokamak plasmas.
  • Development, execution, and analysis of experimental studies including comparisons with simulation results.
  • Collaboration with a broad and diverse team, including experimentalists and computational colleagues.
  • Timely dissemination of research results through publications and presentations at scientific conferences and workshops.
  • Maintain a strong commitment to the implementation and perpetuation of values and ethics.


Basic Qualifications:

  • Ph.D. in Physics, Nuclear Engineering, or a closely related field completed within the last 5 years.
  • Experience in computational modeling, experimental research, or both.
  • Scientific research ability demonstrated by peer-reviewed publications and/or presentations at technical conferences.
  • Experience with IDL, Python, Fortran, or other science relevant programming languages.


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Existing experience in plasma or MHD modeling, and general proficiency in the execution and coupling of scientific codes.
  • Strong interest in contributing to the pursuit of fusion energy to enable a sustainable future.
  • 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.


Applicants cannot have received their Ph.D. more than five years prior to the date of application and must complete all degree requirements before starting their appointment. The appointment length will be for up to 24 months with the potential for extension. Initial appointments and extensions are subject to performance and the availability of funding.


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.

For more information about our benefits, working here, and living here, visit the “About” tab at



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.

Nearest Major Market: San Diego