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Icenhour named ORNL deputy for operations

Alan Icenhour
Alan Icenhour

Alan Icenhour has been named deputy for operations at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He will succeed Jeff Smith, who is retiring this spring after serving in the role since UT-Battelle began operating the lab in 2000.

Icenhour joined ORNL in 1990 as an engineer and served most recently as associate laboratory director for the Isotope Science and Engineering Directorate. He led the Nuclear Science and Engineering Directorate from 2014 until the isotopes directorate was formed in October 2020, and he has held a variety of other leadership positions as well as an assignment as senior technical adviser to the National Nuclear Security Administration.

“Alan is a disciplined, thoughtful leader with broad experience at ORNL and proven success in a variety of roles,” ORNL Director Thomas Zacharia said. “His ability to evaluate complex problems, find creative solutions and build highly productive relationships will ensure the operational excellence necessary to support world-leading research and development.”

As the chief operating officer, Icenhour will lead the formulation and implementation of cross-cutting operation plans and integrated facility strategies to enable ORNL’s missions. He also will play a lead role in the lab’s commitment to community engagement.

“Oak Ridge National Laboratory is one of the world’s premier research institutions,” Icenhour said. “It’s an honor to help steward its remarkable capabilities to fulfill our important national missions, support scientists from around the world and give back to the communities we call home.”

Before joining ORNL, Icenhour served in the U.S. Navy as a nuclear submarine officer. After leaving active duty, he continued service as an active reservist and, over a 26-year career, rose to the rank of captain. He is a fellow of the American Nuclear Society and former chairman of the East Tennessee Economic Council. He holds a bachelor’s degree in nuclear engineering from North Carolina State University and a master’s and doctorate in nuclear engineering from the University of Tennessee.

UT-Battelle manages ORNL for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States. The Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit