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Nuclear Energy and Fuel Cycle Division


Advancing nuclear power for the next generation

As a world leader in innovation for nuclear energy, a significant clean energy source globally, ORNL is accelerating the deployment of new and economical technologies—all the way from concept through regulatory acceptance and adoption by industry. 

Some of the pressing problems the Nuclear Energy and Fuel Cycle Division is providing science and technology breakthroughs to solve are extending the lives of current nuclear plants; furthering modeling and simulation capabilities for nuclear application; delivering new insights into nuclear fuel performance at all stages of the fuel cycle; and providing innovations for nuclear fuel systems—current and future.

Scientists are also looking at other advanced reactor concepts, assessing and improving the systems and components they use to make them more effective and cost-efficient, and developing and testing new fuels and fuel systems, molten-salt components, and other energy conversion methods. 

State-of-the-art modeling and simulation, done with complex codes and supercomputers, help to create better reactors and make existing reactors more predictable and cost-effective, more quickly meeting regulatory requirements. ORNL scientists help bring the benefits of high-performance computing directly to the nuclear industry. 

Researchers in the division are also looking at how to reprocess fuel, extracting useable elements and generating less waste; delivering longer-lasting fuel; and safely transporting, storing, and tracking the nation’s inventory of used fuel.

These new breakthroughs in fission energy will inform increasingly smaller, better, less expensive, more predictable reactors—resulting in clean power for the generations to come.


Interim Division Director, Nuclear Energy and Fuel Cycle Division
Dave Pointer, Head Shot

ORNL has always been an innovator in reliable and resilient carbon-free nuclear energy. Today, we continue that legacy, leveraging the scientific and engineering strengths of our unique facilities and exceptional team. Better together, our work with external partners ensures the success of today’s nuclear facilities and advances tomorrow’s technologies. — W. David Pointer, NEFCD Interim Director