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Enrichment Science and Engineering Division

Enrichment Science and Engineering Division

The Enrichment Science and Engineering Division serves the nation in two critical areas: advancing enrichment technologies, and exploring stable isotope production and applications. The division leverages an elite staff of scientists and engineers with the world-leading capabilities of Oak Ridge National Laboratory to deliver groundbreaking advancements with a variety of applications, from national security to life-saving medical treatments.

ESED is the national steward for the research, development, and demonstration of centrifuge technology. Researchers work with state-of-the-art systems, applying advanced theoretical and engineering analysis principles to design machines and manufacture prototypes using novel fabrication tools and techniques. Their research advances the physics and engineering understanding of gas centrifuge systems. Beyond advancing current technology, the division is also exploring new ways to enrich stable and radioactive isotopes.

ORNL has extensive institutional knowledge in the area of stable isotopes, most recently producing ruthenium-96 in 2018—the first domestic enrichment of an isotope since 1998. ESED is continuing to expand the nation’s stable isotope portfolio by advancing electromagnetic isotope separations technology and pursuing new enriched isotope production approaches. The division is also identifying new applications for stable isotopes.

By bringing enrichment science and stable isotope production under one organization, ESED is designed for innovation that will ensure ORNL meets the nation’s need for these vital materials and technology.

There are enriched stable isotopes in short supply or simply unavailable, and we don’t want to be dependent on other countries to produce them.

- Alan Tatum, Stable Isotope production manager

ESED Sections

Centrifuge Engineering and Fabrication

ORNL serves as the nation's steward of research, development and demonstration of new gas centrifuge technology, continually improving processes for enriching isotopes.

Stable Isotope Production, Research and Development

These experts lead the development of new processes and dispensing protocols to deliver stable isotopes for medical, industrial and national security applications.