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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 works with other labs, the state of Tennessee, universities and  industries to solve problems related to energy, advanced materials,  manufacturing, security and physics.

What is the lab’s annual budget?

The lab’s annual budget is about $1.65 billion.

Who runs ORNL?

Oak Ridge National Laboratory is a 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. If you have questions about visits to the laboratory, please contact check our Visitor Information page or contact ORNL Visitor Services at or 865.574.7199.

When was ORNL created?

ORNL was created in 1943 as part of the US government’s WWII Manhattan Project.

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 Scarborough, 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 4,400 staff members and hosts about 3,000 visiting scientists each year from over 100 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: Y-12 and the East Tennessee Technology Park, formerly known as the K-25 Site (see Wikipedia article) 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.