Balendra Sutharshan

Balendra Sutharshan

Deputy for Operations

Deputy for Laboratory Operations Dr. Balendra Sutharshan coordinates overall operations and support functions at ORNL: facilities operations; environment, safety, and health; business operations; security; human resources; communications; and technology transfer. In concert with the Deputy Director of Science and Technology, Sutharshan supports the Laboratory Director in the planning, integration, and execution of Laboratory-level initiatives as ORNL’s chief operating officer. He also holds the position of executive vice president, operations, for UT-Battelle LLC.

Sutharshan joined ORNL in 2021 as the associate laboratory director of the Isotope Science and Engineering Directorate (ISED). In this position, he led the organization responsible for delivering high-impact isotopes, advancing the nation’s enrichment technology, and operating the unique facilities that make up ORNL's isotopes and nuclear materials complex.

Sutharshan came to ORNL from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, where he served as deputy associate laboratory director and chief operations officer for the Operational Systems Directorate. In that role, he provided leadership in the areas of capability stewardship and programmatic execution, including integrating all support functions with each research and development organization. Previously, he was responsible for strategic and tactical operations for Argonne National Laboratory’s Energy and Global Security Directorate as its chief operations officer. Before that, he spent 18 years at Westinghouse Electric Co., holding several engineering and leadership positions, with responsibilities that included negotiating and executing partnerships across Asia and implementing innovative new plant design engineering in the United States and China.

Sutharshan holds a doctoral degree in nuclear engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; a master of business administration from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; and a master of science degree in chemical and nuclear engineering from the University of Toronto, from which he also holds a bachelor of science in chemical engineering. In addition, he completed executive leadership development and management training from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. He is a Six Sigma Academy Certified Master Black Belt.