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National Security Science Area

We Advance the Science Behind National Security

Oak Ridge National Laboratory is a global leader in science-based solutions for complex security threats that put public safety, national defense, and the economy at risk. Through a multidisciplinary approach, ORNL applies signature strengths in nuclear science, high-performance computing, energy, advanced materials, neutron science, and other areas to enduring and emerging threats to national security. The results are real-world technological solutions, critical scientific input to decision makers, and vital training for federal agencies and international partners.

Exploiting Basic and Applied Sciences to Counter Weapons of Mass Destruction

ORNL’s fundamental contribution to global nuclear security is its basic and applied nuclear research. The Lab fulfills an international role in advancing scientific and technical capabilities to detect illicit nuclear activities, secure fissile and radiological materials, and counter the threat of weapons of mass destruction.

Integrating Computing, Cyber Technologies, and Energy Sciences to Protect the Power Grid

The combination of high performance-computing and staff expertise in cybersecurity and energy systems enables ORNL to improve the electric power grid’s resiliency and security. Signature strengths include robust power systems design, reliability engineering, and cybersecurity for physical systems.

Using Computational Sciences to Develop Specialized Risk Management Tools

ORNL researchers have developed vital software applications that enable government agencies to track high-risk materials and respond more quickly to incidents. 

Applying Materials Science to Defense Missions

ORNL researchers apply materials science discoveries to national defense missions. ORNL’s breakthrough process for producing graphite foam with heat transfer capabilities is used to cool soldiers and their weapons in hot climates and to increase the longevity of satellite radiators. Other research has led to anticorrosion coatings and novel materials used in additive manufacturing for military applications.

Using Data Sciences to Develop Intelligence Information

ORNL applies its world-leading data science to help defense and intelligence agencies triage overwhelming volumes of data into actionable information based on in-depth analysis, often in real time. The Laboratory is home to the Extreme-Scale Systems Center, a national center of excellence in high-performance computing infrastructure, software, and data analytics funded by the US Department of Defense.