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Frequently Asked Questions

What does ORNL do?

The laboratory’s mission is to deliver scientific discoveries and technical breakthroughs that lead to advances in the areas of clean energy and global security, as well as boosting the U.S. economy.

What are the benefits of the laboratory’s research?

ORNL researchers apply unique facilities, sophisticated tools, and signature strengths in neutron science, high-performance computing, advanced materials, biology and environmental science, nuclear science and engineering, isotopes and national security research to benefit science and society.

What is the lab’s annual budget?

The lab’s annual budget is about $2.4 billion.

Who runs ORNL?

Oak Ridge National Laboratory is managed by UT-Battelle, LLC, for the U.S. Department of Energy.

Can I take a tour of ORNL facilities?

Oak Ridge National Laboratory hosts thousands of visitors every year. Note: ORNL is not currently open to public tours, but a number of virtual options have been made available for self-guided tours and hosted tours upon request.

When was ORNL created?

ORNL was created in 1943 as part of the U.S. government’s Manhattan Project during World War II.

What was here before the laboratory was built?

Before the laboratory was built, the area was home to century-old family farms and small crossroads communities, such as Scarboro, Wheat, Robertsville and Elza. Outsiders considered the region a quaint reminder of the 19th-century frontier that time and progress had passed by.

How many people are employed at the ORNL?

ORNL has more than 6,000 staff members and hosts about 3,200 visiting scientists each year from over 60 different countries.

What’s the difference between ORNL, Y-12 and K-25?

The Oak Ridge Reservation is also home to two other DOE facilities: the Y‑12 National Security Complex and the East Tennessee Technology Park, formerly known as the K-25 Site or the Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant. Both of these sites are completely separate entities from ORNL and are located several miles apart and managed by different contractors.