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Nuclear Operations Section

John Courtney and Dan Bettinger, part of ORNL's Californium team, use manipulators for Cf-252 processing at Cell G in the Radiochemical Engineering Development Center.

The Nuclear Operations Section conducts operations within the lab's many and varied hot cell facilities, ensuring safe and compliant execution of the research and development mission. 

The section consists of four groups:

  • One each covering 7920 and 7930, which together comprise the Radiochemical Engineering Development Center, the production, storage and distribution center for the Department of Energy's heavy element research and distribution program. It includes glove boxes, chemical and analytical laboratories, safe storage space, and heavily shielded hot cells designed to separate, purify and process radioisotopes.  


  • One covering 3525/3025, which includes both the Irradiated Fuels Examination Laboratory and the Irradiated Materials Examination and Testing hot cell facility. The two-story IFEL permits the safe handling and study of radioactive fuel elements and reactor parts. The IMET contains six interconnected hot cells, along with 600 square feet of work space for test equipment control systems, to allow study of materials after they've been irradiated.


  • One covering 3047, the Radioisotopes Development Laboratory, a three-story facility housing four high-level beta-gamma cells, one alpha hot cell, seven labs for handling low-level radioactive materials, and a decontamination room. This facility is used for both research and development and isotope production.