Researcher in Mechanical Engineering

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

United States

Researcher in Mechanical  Engineering 

Date: Mar 26, 2024

Location: Oak Ridge, TN, US, 37830

Company: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Requisition Id 12759 


The Irradiation Engineering (IE) Group within the Fuel Development Section of the Nuclear Energy and Fuel Cycle Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) seeks applications for an applied research staff position, with emphasis in the area of irradiation engineering.


A central mission of the IE Group is to design, fabricate, and build irradiation capsules to support characterization of fluence-resistant structural materials and improved nuclear fuel for customers within the US Department of Energy, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Department of Defense, and other government and private organizations. The IE Group provides an important combination of advanced analytical analysis, experiment development, and hands-on fabrication skills. The primary function of this position is to conceptualize and develop experiments for the purpose of irradiating advanced structural materials and fuels. This includes thermal, structural, and neutronic design, management of fabrication and irradiation steps, and hands-on support to the experiment assembly process. Performing research to support the development of novel irradiation vehicles and experiments is also critical to meeting the IE group mission.


For information about the Irradiation Engineering Group of the Nuclear Energy and Fuel Cycle Division, please visit our web site at: Information about the Nuclear Energy and Fuel Cycle Division is available from:


Major Duties/Responsibilities: 

The successful candidate will:

  • Develop designs using modern computer aided design tools;
  • Perform thermal and structural analyses using commercial finite element software such as ANSYS;
  • Perform safety analyses to ensure safe experiment operation;
  • Calculate nuclear heating rates using codes such as MCNP, SCALE, etc.;
  • And manage and assisting in the fabrication of experiments, and tracking experiments as they are irradiated.


This position requires analytical, design, and managerial skills to successfully complete assigned projects. The selected candidate will be responsible for interacting with staff members inside and outside the IE Group and working on projects in a team environment. The successful candidate is expected to be able to work independently, develop creative design solutions, lead or perform thermal/structural and neutronic analyses, fully document work performed, and effectively interface with project sponsors. Additionally, this position requires that the candidate work with other members of the IE group to write proposals, estimate costs, and pursue new funding opportunities.


Basic Qualifications:

  • An PhD in nuclear or mechanical engineering or physics. Excellent verbal, presentation, and writing skills are required to enable effective interaction with technical peers, program managers, and sponsors.
  • Clearance Requirements: This position requires the ability to obtain and maintain a DOE “Q” clearance. Candidates must be US citizens.
  • This position is a Workplace Substance Abuse Program (WSAP) testing designated position which requires passing a pre-placement drug test and participation in an ongoing random drug testing program in which employees are subject to being randomly selected for testing. The occupant of this position will also be subject to an ongoing requirement to report to ORNL any drug-related arrest or conviction or receipt of a positive drug test result.


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience designing and executing experiments and experiment components
  • Experience working in a mechanical laboratory environment
  • Experience using finite element (e.g., ANSYS) or finite difference methods and software for solving thermal/structural problems
  • Background and experience in thermal-hydraulics analysis methods
  • Experience using neutronics codes such as MCNP and the SCALE code system
  • Experience using modern computer aided design software such as Creo and Solidworks
  • Experience working on projects in a nuclear or other high-qualification environment
  • An aptitude in the application of design methods and experimental techniques
  • Problem-solving skills and a willingness to apply those skills to a variety of problems


About Fusion and Fission Energy and Science Directorate:

The Fusion and Fission Energy and Science Directorate (FFESD) addresses compelling challenges in fission and fusion energy systems, enabling Oak Ridge National Laboratory to pursue national priorities in current and advanced nuclear research, development, and deployment.


FFESD traces its roots to the X-10 Graphite Reactor, the world’s first continuously operated nuclear reactor, and to early innovations in fusion research and engineering. The directorate’s unique facilities, capabilities, and talented scientists and engineers are currently tackling such challenges as extended operations of the current US nuclear reactor fleet; investigating economical and flexible advanced reactor systems; and making fusion energy a viable power source. The directorate leverages synergies between fusion and fission across domestic and international programs.


FFESD leads US ITER, which has the responsibility of designing, fabricating, and delivering hardware for the international ITER fusion project. The directorate also leads the Transformational Challenge Reactor program and the Material Plasma Exposure eXperiment (MPEX), a future world-leading capability that will produce the extreme plasma environments to test materials for use in fusion energy devices. To learn more about FFESD at ORNL go to

Physical Requirements: Work involves various physical requirements and working conditions. As such, a pre-hire physical will be required after offer.


Q clearance: 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.


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.

In your application, please refer to