Nuclear Science


Facilities and Capabilities

ORNL maintains expertise and facilities to address the breadth of nuclear science and engineering. The ORNL facilities described here support R&D in radioisotopes and stable isotopes; radioisotope production; radiochemistry; global nuclear security technologies; fusion energy science; nuclear criticality safety; and all aspects of nuclear power technology (modeling & simulation, fuel cycle, materials, remote operation systems, and advanced reactor systems).


Coated Particle Fuel Development Lab
The Coated Particle Fuel Development Laboratory is a modern, integrated facility for laboratory scale fabrication and characterization of uranium-bearing coated particle fuel (CPF).

Containment & Surveillance Systems Laboratory
The Containment and Surveillance Systems Laboratory is an arm of the highly acclaimed ORNL Safeguards Technology Integration Center. This lab is used to evaluate and develop custom technology, as well as integrate, mock up, and stage equipment for evaluation deployments for a variety of containment and surveillance applications.

Electromagnetic Isotope Separation Lab
ORNL established the Stable Isotope Enrichment Laboratory (SIEL) as part of a project funded by the DOE Office of Science, Nuclear Physics Program to develop a modernized electromagnetic isotope separator (EMIS), optimized for separation of a wide range of stable isotopes.

High Flux Isotope Reactor
The High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) first achieved criticality on August 25, 1965, and achieved full power in August 1966. It is a versatile 85-MW isotope production, research, and test reactor with the capability and facilities for performing a wide variety of irradiation experiments and a world-class neutron scattering science program.

Irradiated Fuels Examination Laboratory
The Irradiated Fuels Examination Laboratory (IFEL) was initially designed and constructed to permit the safe handling of increasing levels of radiation in the chemical, physical, and metallurgical examination of nuclear reactor fuel elements and reactor parts. The IFEL was constructed in 1963 and is a two-story brick building with a partial basement.

Irradiated Materials Examination and Testing Facility
The Irradiated Material Examination and Testing (IMET) Facility was designed and built as a hot cell facility. It is a two-story block and brick structure with a two-story high bay that houses six heavily shielded cells and an array of sixty shielded storage wells.

Isotope Research Materials Laboratory
The Isotope Research Materials Laboratory (IRML) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory manages and distributes the entire DOE stable isotope inventory which has a list price of $360M. It consists of over 2,000 batches of 225 stable isotopes of approximately 50 multi-isotopic elements. Most isotopes were enriched using electromagnetic isotope separation (EMIS)technology.

Low Activation Materials Design and Analysis Lab
The LAMDA facility is a multipurpose laboratory for evaluation of materials with low radiological threat without the need for remote manipulation. The radiological threat is defined both by the potential for absorbed dose and the possibility of radiological contamination.

Radiation Inspection System Lab
The Radiation Inspection System Lab team has the responsibility to perform analysis of the data received from the radiation portal monitors (RPM) that are installed around the world to evaluate their health and operability. This team also provides training to host country partners to analyze their respective RPM data using an ORNL developed analysis tool, and training of program personnel on the basics of operation of radiation portal monitors, detector components, spectroscopy, shielding and moderation.

Radiochemical Engineering Development Center
The Radiochemical Engineering Development Center (REDC) comprises two facilities – Building 7920 and Building 7930. Building 7920 was designed and built as a hot cell facility that also houses glove box laboratories for radiological work, laboratories for nonradiological work, and a chemical make up area. Building 7920 is classified as a Category 2 nuclear facility.

Safeguards Laboratory
The Safeguards Laboratory is a Department of Energy user facility equipped with a comprehensive set of field-deployable instrumentation for safeguards system development and personnel training. Mock-ups using industrial equipment and reference nuclear materials simulate real-world conditions for training, testing, and evaluations.


Security Sciences Field Laboratory
The Security Sciences Field Laboratory (SSFL) is designed to support testing and evaluation of a wide range of intrusion detection, assessment, surveillance, and peripheral physical security equipment including: sensors; cameras; alarm communication and display; power generation; access control; unattended stand-alone, remote communication; unmanned aerial and activated delay systems.

Transportation Safeguards and Security Test Bed
The Transportation Safeguards and Security Test Bed consists of a test-bed vehicle and a monitoring/laboratory/training room located at ORNL's National Transportation Research Center (NTRC). The test-bed vehicle is a Dodge Sprinter cargo van configured for testing and monitoring during over-the-road operation of on-vehicle and on-package security technologies.


Ultra-Trace Forensics Science Facility
The Ultra-trace Forensic Science Center (UFSC) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory strengthens the nation’s forensic science capability by providing state-of-the-art analysis and research facilities within clean, legacy-free facilities.


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