Who we are

Chemical separations development at the Radiochemical Engineering Development Center (REDC) (hi-res image)

The Nuclear Security and Isotope Technology Division is built on ORNL’s historic expertise in nuclear fuel cycle research and development (R&D), nuclear material processing and characterization, and radioisotope production. The ability to address the nuclear security mission is further strengthened by expertise in radiation detection and imaging, material and facility protection, material control and accounting, analytic chemistry, systems integration, and safeguards and export control policy implementation. Modeling and simulation is being increasingly used to support both the nuclear security and isotope missions.

The nuclear security portfolio within the division is focused on research, development, and deployment of technology that enhances nuclear nonproliferation and safeguards, reduces threats to nuclear material and facilities at risk, expands the national capabilities in radiation detection and nuclear forensics.  The division collaborates across the laboratory to provide science, technology, and mission support to nuclear security sponsors: the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of State, and other government agencies.

The radioisotope portfolio relies heavily on the High Flux Isotope Reactor and the shielded hot cells and glove box laboratories within ORNL’s nuclear and radiological facilities. Feedstock processing, target design and fabrication, safety assessments, target disassembly, and radiochemical science and engineering to purify the product involve ongoing science and technology development to assure efficient delivery of high-purity product that can meet industrial, medical, and national security needs.   

The NSITD signature capabilities in radiochemical science and engineering and isotope enrichment science and engineering continue to be relied upon to help advance and innovate the nuclear energy fuel cycle through improvements in used fuel recycling technologies, uranium enrichment designs, and modern technologies for enrichment of stable and radioisotopes.

The division consists of 10 groups composed of experienced and professional staff; state-of-the-art equipment and instrumentation; and integrated focus on programs and projects of national importance. Core capabilities of the division staff include engineering, chemistry and radiochemistry, physics, computational analysts and software developers, radiochemical technicians, and technical and business support professionals. NSITD collaborates with other organizations, both internal and external, to build stronger teams and achieve maximum success. 


Cecil V Parks

Director, Nuclear Security and Isotope Technology Division