Nuclear Science


Criticality Safety

Nuclear Criticality Safety

SCALE model of a lattice critical experiment at Sandia National Laboratory.

ORNL is the lead national laboratory responsible for supporting the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) in managing the US Nuclear Criticality Safety Program. NCSP is chartered to maintain the technical infrastructure (integral experiments, computational tools, training, data, etc.) needed to support safe, efficient fissionable material operations.

ORNL has extensive expertise in the area of nuclear criticality safety (NCS) based upon years of experience in the following areas: 

  • Operations Support: providing fissionable material operations support for enrichment, fabrication, production, and research;
  • Critical Experiments: performing experiments at the Y-12 Critical Experiment Facility;
  • Standards Development: leadership in domestic and international NCS standards development;
  • Expert Consultation: providing technical support to Department of Energy (DOE) and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in the development of regulatory guidance, training programs, and technology advancements;
  • Modeling & Simulation: development and maintenance of state-of-the-art radiation transport modeling and simulation software (e.g., the SCALE code system) that is used throughout the world to perform nuclear analyses.

ORNL continues to lead NCS research through the development and use of computational nuclear methods and practical application analyses to provide criticality safety problem-solving tools and technical solutions to customers within DOE, the NRC and other government and private organizations. ORNL is responsible for the development, enhancement, and maintenance of several key codes and capabilities in the SCALE code system to support nuclear criticality safety application analyses.

For More Information, Contact:

Group Leader, Nuclear Data and Criticality Safety
Mike Dunn

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