Skip to main content

Nuclear Security Advanced Technologies

The Nuclear Security Advanced Technologies Group seeks to provide mission-focused basic and applied R&D focused on nonproliferation missions for the DOE, basic science studies of fuel cycle-relevant materials, nuclear forensics basic and applied research and development, and enrichment science and technology. These efforts advance ORNL’s standing as a leader in applied and basic R&D that strengthen ORNL’s fuel cycle and nuclear forensic science expertise, facilities, and capabilities. The breadth of the group expertise and wide range of programmatic applied R&D and basic science investigations into fuel cycle processes and materials provides a unique array of competencies that advance the state of the art in nonproliferation R&D and forensic science. 

The NSAT group is comprised of world-class nuclear engineers, chemical engineers, mechanical engineers, chemists, physicists, meteorologists, and logistics and program management professionals with significant inter-and intra-group collaborations established to take advantage of a multi-disciplinary approach to solutions to our sponsors most challenging research problems.

Three focus areas of research have emerged where NSAT exhibits significant technical strength and leadership:

  • Focused process operations and R&D support including enrichment science and engineering
  • Basic chemistry and physics of materials supporting forensics and operational R&D efforts
  • Analytical chemistry and development of advanced analysis methods


Through the efforts of NSITD and led by the NSAT group, the Ultra-Trace Forensic Science Center was initiated in 2010 as a multi-directorate center and has grown to include significant capabilities in mass spectrometry, sampler design and deployment, unmanned aerial vehicle development, advanced microscopy and spectroscopy, and a new Nano secondary ion mass spectrometry (Cameca NanoSIMS 50L) capability dedicated to national security research problems.

In addition, the group maintains laboratories and capabilities supporting chemical and materials science investigations into solid nuclear fuel cycle materials, computational chemistry and modeling, and a significant mechanical and chemical engineering effort focused on enrichment science and technology in support of the ORNL Enrichment Science Program.