Oak Ridge National Laboratory hosts thousands of visitors every year. The information below may help make your visit more productive and enjoyable. If you have any questions about visits to the laboratory, please contact ORNL Visitor Services at ORNLvisit@ornl.gov or 865.574.7199.
ORNL welcomes visitors to the Laboratory. However, because of increased security requirements, we've made some changes in how the site is accessed.
Bethel Valley Road, which is the main access route to Oak Ridge National Laboratory from both directions, is now closed to the public. If you are planning a visit to ORNL, your host will arrange for you to proceed past entrance stations on Bethel Valley Road leading to the Laboratory's Visitor Center. Please be aware that effective March 30, 2015 ORNL became fully compliant with the REAL ID Act. This Act requires that anyone accessing a Federal Facility, which ORNL is, must present a compliant form of identification. If you are from one of the noncompliant states, you will need to provide another form of approved identification. Here is a list of acceptable identification if you are from one of these states. If you are from a non-compliant state and you do not have another form of compliant identification, ORNL will allow you to access the site, but you will be required to be escorted during your visit.
Foreign national visitors must always present a Visa and Passport upon arrival at the ORNL Visitor Center.
It is very important, if you are not a DOE or DOE contractor employee, to arrange your visit to ORNL ahead of time.
If you're not sure how to arrange your visit, contact ORNL Visitor Services (ORNLvisit@ornl.gov, 865.574.7199).
The Visitor Services Office prepares a daily list of visitors for the Protective Force personnel, which is finalized by 4:30 p.m. EST on the preceding day. Your host or sponsor will submit your name to that list. Upon your arrival at one of the Bethel Valley Road entrance stations, have a compliant form of identification ready for the Protective Force officers so that they can quickly confirm you with the list. If you do not have a compliant form of identification, you will be allowed past the entrance station, but will be required to report to the ORNL Visitor Center where your host will need to meet and escort you for the duration of your visit.
Foreign national visitors must always present a Visa and Passport upon arrival at the ORNL Visitor Center.
Once verified, you will be issued a Temporary Entry Pass, which authorizes you to travel from the entrance to the ORNL Visitor Center.
Follow the signs directly to the ORNL Visitor Center to receive an ORNL visitor ID, or to the ORNL badge office for badging, as appropriate. If you arrive and are not on the list of registered visitors, your ORNL host or sponsor will then have to verify your visit with ORNL Security. So it's very important that arrangements are made before your visit.
ORNL Visitor Services (ORNLvisit@ornl.gov, 865.574.7199) can provide you with access to specific Laboratory areas based upon your needed access requirement for as long as your stay requires.
Deliveries to ORNL
Non-DOE badged vendors and delivery personnel delivering goods to ORNL must have in their possession either a bill of lading, purchase order, or shipping order showing the need for access to ORNL and the name and phone number of a point of contact at ORNL who knows about the delivery. Persons in this category who do not have one of the above items in their possession will not be allowed site access. If a bonafide delivery is involved, the delivery vehicle driver will be afforded an opportunity to contact Visitor Services by telephone for needed assistance.
Access to many buildings at ORNL is now controlled with a "proximity card reader" system. The ORNL proximity card you receive at the Visitor Services Office should provide entrance into your building simply by placing the card in front of the proximity reader, located beside the doorway. When the light turns green and the door lock clicks, you may enter the building. If your proximity card does not give you access to a desired building, report to the Visitor Services Office.
As a visitor to Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), access to the ORNL wireless network is available to you in many of our buildings. To gain access, you must have a PC or other portable device with wireless capability. If your PC or portable device does not have wireless capability, a limited number of wired-to-wireless Ethernet bridges may be available from your host organization.
Special-guided, general orientation and other customized tours are offered for groups of 10 persons or more interested in learning more about the history, current missions and research and development at ORNL. Participants must be at least 10 years old, and a minimum of two weeks’ advance registration is required. For more information about the tour programs, contact Barbara Penland (email@example.com, 865.574.3664).
Special guided, general orientation, and other customized tours of ORNL are offered primarily for educational groups, which are interested in learning more about history, current missions, and research and development at ORNL. A minimum of two weeks' advance registration is required, participants must be at least 10 years old, and other restrictions may apply. For more information about the tour programs, contact Barbara Penland (firstname.lastname@example.org, 865.574.3664).
For people interested in Oak Ridge's role in the WWII Manhattan Project, ORNL participates in the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge Public Bus Tour. The tour departs from the American Museum of Science and Energy on weekdays at noon, and returns at 3 pm. The 2015 tour runs from March 2 through November 27, except May 25 July 2 & 3, and September 7.
Tour stops include the Y-12 historical museum; the Spallation Neutron Source and the historic Graphite Reactor at Oak Ridge National Laboratory; and a drive around the old K-25 plant site. Since its inception in 1996, the DOE public tour program has attracted approximately 35,000 visitors from all 50 states.
Contact AMSE (email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, 865.576.3200) for a complete bus schedule (varies depending on time of year), more information, and to register in advance.
The bus tour is open only to US citizens, and current photo ID is required for people 18 or older.
The American Museum of Science and Energy, 300 South Tulane Avenue in downtown Oak Ridge chronicles the World War II Manhattan Project that created the secret city of Oak Ridge, provides interactive exhibits on energy, neutrons, and parallel computing along with live presentations that demonstrate basic science principles for all ages. There is a nominal admission charge. Allow two hours for the self-guided tour for the two levels of exhibits. AMSE, a Smithsonian Affiliate Program Participant, is open 9 am - 5 pm Mondays through Saturdays and 1-5 pm Sundays. Visit the museum website for updated information on museum programs, events, exhibits and membership. To schedule a group visit contact AMSE (email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, 865.576.3200) for more information.
ORNL's Partnerships Office serves as the access office for all ORNL user facilities and many collaborations including technology transfer, industrial and economic development and university partnerships.
Researchers needing assistance in beginning new collaborations with ORNL can contact the Office of Industrial and Economic Development Partnerships. Contact Tom Rogers, Director (email@example.com, 865.241.2149) for assistance.
Researchers seeking to license ORNL intellectual property can contact the Office of Technology Transfer. Contact Mike Paulus, Director, (firstname.lastname@example.org, 865.574.1051) for assistance.
University faculty needing assistance in beginning new collaborations with ORNL can contact the Office of University Partnerships. Contact Doug Speight, Director, (email@example.com, 865.241.6564) for assistance.
Researchers seeking to access ORNL's user facilities, see the list of contacts for individual facilities.
Prospective guest researchers at ORNL's user facilities are invited to submit research proposals directly to the facility in which they are interested.
Getting to ORNL
ORNL is located in Roane County, Tennessee, about 7 miles from the center of the city of Oak Ridge and about 25 miles from the McGhee Tyson Airport near Knoxville.
Speed limits: Speeds limit signs are posted along the Bethel Valley Road entrance to ORNL. Once you have arrived at ORNL, the campus speed limit is 25 mph, unless otherwise posted. These limits are strictly enforced for the safety of staff members and visitors. Please observe the speed limits as you drive at ORNL.
The ORNL Guest House is located on the Oak Ridge National Laboratory campus, just a short walk away from the Spallation Neutron Source and within a five-minute drive of any part of the campus, including the High Flux Isotope Reactor and the Conference Center. The Guest House is a three-story, 47-room, 71-bed facility. All rooms have a mini fridge and microwave. Reservations can be made 24/7 by calling 865-576-8101 or you can make an online reservation.
For more information, see the Guest House website.
ORNL has established a Smoking Policy (view policy excerpt) that restricts smoking tobacco products and use of electronic cigarettes to only designated smoking areas. Select an area map for the building number that you are in or nearest to. For example, designated smoking areas for Building 5700 are found on the "4000 & 5000" area map. Area maps: 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000 & 5000, 6000, 7000, 7600, 7900, and 8600 (SNS).
A Word About Radiation
The ORNL campus includes several research facilities where radioactive materials are present or radiation generating equipment is used. Additionally, owing to its role in the Manhattan Project and other pioneering activities of the atomic age, ORNL has several historical facilities with legacy radioactive materials that are awaiting or undergoing demolition. These buildings and areas where radiological hazards may be present are visibly posted as Controlled Areas and are not generally accessible. Unescorted access to Controlled Areas is limited to individuals who have received appropriate training and are wearing an assigned personnel dosimeter (i.e., TLD). Visitors may be escorted into certain Controlled Areas by their sponsor or host provided they are part of an organized tour or have satisfied the necessary access requirements for the particular area. Radiological areas across the ORNL campus do not pose any risk to the visiting public when posting requirements and designated boundary restrictions are properly observed.