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Come see us

ORNL's main campus

Before arriving

ORNL welcomes visitors to the laboratory. Currently, the lab is not hosting tours onsite for public visitors. However, a number of virtual options have been made available for self-guided and hosted tours upon request.

For approved visitors , we've made some changes in how the site is accessed because of increased security requirements.

Bethel Valley Road, which is the main access route to Oak Ridge National Laboratory from both directions, is 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 Main Visitor Center or the Chestnut Ridge 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, or have a license that states “Not For Federal Identification” 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 or have the license that states “Not For Federal Identification”  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 Main Visitor Center or the Chestnut Ridge 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.

Virtual tours

ORNL has added 16 virtual tours to its campus map, each with multiple views to show floor plans, rotating views and 360-degree navigation. As a user travels through each map, pop-out informational windows deliver facts, videos, graphics and links to other related content. For more information, visit

DOE Public Bus Tours

The Department of Energy’s Public Bus Tour visits the three primary sites of the Manhattan Project in Oak Ridge, TN. Information about DOE Public Bus Tour times, registration and itinerary is available on the DOE Public Bus Tours website. ​

Research visits

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 or are seeking to license ORNL intellectual property can contact Mike Paulus, director of the Office of Technology Transfer, (, 865.574.1051) for assistance.

University faculty needing assistance in beginning new collaborations with ORNL can contact the Office of University Partnerships. Contact Moody Altamimi, Director, (, 865.241.9700) 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.

Entering ORNL

Personnel Security prepares a daily list of approved 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 Main Visitor Center or the Chestnut Ridge 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 Main Visitor Center or the Chestnut Ridge Visitor Center.

Follow the signs directly to the ORNL Main Visitor Center or the Chestnut Ridge Visitor Center to receive an ORNL visitor or photo badge, as appropriate. All photo badges are done as the Main Visitor Center. 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.

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.

Building access

Access to many buildings at ORNL is 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.

Wireless networking

As an approved visitor to 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.

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.

Guest House

For more information, see the Guest House website.

Smoking policy

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: 1000200030004000 & 50006000700076007900, and 8600.

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.

Visiting US ITER

US ITER visitors should note that the project office is located outside the laboratory. Visitors can check in at the project office at 1055 Commerce Park (Google Map).