A L Qualls

Reactor Technology Integration Lead

Dr. Lou Qualls is a Distinguished Researcher in the Nuclear Energy and Fuel Cycle Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He serves as the NEFCD Reactor Technology Integration Lead and has extensive experience in fission and fusion energy research. He served as the inaugural National Technical Director for the Department of Energy Molten Salt Reactor Program (2017-2021) and has led or contributed to a number of reactor-based design, analysis, and experimental efforts including the 100 MW Fluoride High-Temperature Reactor Demonstration Reactor (FHR-DR) (2016), the ORNL Advanced High Temperature Reactor (AHTR) and SmAHTR reactor conceptual designs.

As the ORNL Program Manager for Space Power Program (2007-2017) he provided technical and management support for joint DOE/NASA projects related to fission-based systems for power and propulsion, and for radioisotope power system development including the Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator Project, the NASA Dynamic Radioisotope Power System Project, and the Mars2020 MMRTG Project.

Lou has also worked in the area of fusion technology development beginning with his graduate research (University of Tennessee 1988-1991 while in residence at ORNL).  He led experimental activities on deployed ORNL pellet injection systems including the Tritium Pellet Injection System as a resident researcher at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory and the Centrifugal Pellet Injector on the CEA Tore Supra Superconducting Tokamak in Cadarache, France. He continues to provide technical and management support to the U.S. ITER Program (2014—present), currently supporting ITER tritium pellet injection system development and pellet disruption mitigation technology development and demonstration.

Dr. Qualls has a demonstrated record of formulating, planning, and executing complex technical energy related projects involving multiple and diverse stakeholder groups. He serves as an adjunct professor in the University of Tennessee Nuclear Engineering Department, in addition to his work as a member of the Tennessee Energy Policy Committee, the Roane County Chamber of Commerce, and the Kingston Planning Commission.