Coates Photo

Alyson L Coates

Senior Technical Staff Member

Degrees and Qualifications

  • Current PhD Student at University of Tennessee focusing on Nuclear Security Science and Analysis
  • Masters of Engineering, Nuclear Engineering Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville
  • Bachelor of Science, Nuclear Engineering Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville

Alyson Coates is a senior technical staff member at ORNL. Mrs. Coates has been at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) since May 2020. She is the International Nuclear Security (INS) country lead for Slovenia and Slovakia, the Project Manager and Technical Project Officer for the INS Ukraine and Belarus Teams, and the insider threat mitigation representative on the INS Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) Initiative for Sabotage Mitigation and Energy Security. She has supported the INS Sabotage Working Group and Transport Security Team. She collected data on nuclear transportation for input and co-author of the Desktop Assessment Report for Nuclear Material for Germany, India, Mexico, Slovakia, and South Africa. Her goal is to participate in more nuclear security focused projects. She is currently working on her PhD in Nuclear Engineering and intends to receive certificates in Nuclear Security Science and Analysis. She has taken courses at the University of Tennessee on Global Nuclear Security Culture and Management of Radioactive Material. She has taken professional development classes from the University of New Mexico on Advanced Nuclear Security System Design & Analysis course, INMM on Fundamentals of Physical Security, and the INS Physical Security Bootcamp. In addition to her security work, she has worked on the development of regulatory documents and papers associated with the Transformational Challenge Reactor (TCR) and additive manufacturing.

Mrs. Coates has experience in commercial nuclear industry cyber security. Prior to joining ORNL, she was the cyber security program lead at Entergy’s River Bend Station. In this role she performed the following activities.

  • Reviewed proposed plant modifications to ensure that potential Critical Digital Assets (CDAs) were identified, assessed, and appropriate controls were included in the design to reduce the risk of cyber security sabotage.
  • Implemented the portable digital media program to ensure that media connecting to CDAs did not contain malicious software.
  • Performed field walkdowns per periodic activities to ensure that the cyber security infrastructure has not changed, or controls effectiveness reduced.
  • Responded to and investigated cyber incidents such as Splunk alerts related to the Security Information and Event Management System (SIEMS), vulnerability and compliance scanners, networking components, servers and workstations.
  • Performed self-assessments, benchmarks, and trend analyses of the cyber security program to identify weaknesses and areas for improvements.

In addition to her cyber experience, Mrs. Coates has over 20 years of commercial nuclear industry. She held numerous engineering positions at River Bend Station and H.B. Robinson. She was the 10 CFR 50.59 Site Coordinator, Lead Licensing Engineer on the License Renewal Application for River Bend, Senior I&C Design Engineer, Fuel Movement Supervisor, Corrective Action Program Root Cause Analysis Expert, and Site Trend Coordinator.  Alyson also worked for Dow Chemical as an Operations Leader and Project Engineer.