Nick G Russell

Irradiation Design Engineer

Nick Russell is a Technical Staff Design Engineer in the Irradiation Engineering Group (IEG) within the Nuclear Energy and Fuel Cycle Division (NEFCD). His primary function is to design and fabricate irradiation experiments for isotope production, fuels, and materials research. He is a registered professional engineer in the state of Tennessee. Nick joined ORNL as a post-master’s researcher in January 2019. He received his B.S. (2017) and M.S. (2019) in Mechanical Engineering from Tennessee Tech University where he studied cryogenic thermal cycling effects on Sn/Pb solder joints using mechanical testing and finite element modeling.

In his current role, Nick is working to:

  • Increase irradiation capabilities to include liquid coolant testing in the HFIR flux trap. He has successfully designed and irradiated an experiment capsule testing the corrosion of liquid tin on AFA forming steels. This experiment is leading the way for developing a platform for quicker, cheaper, and more precise liquid coolant testing. 
  • Optimize the current rabbit capsule irradiation vehicle for increased size BWR cladding testing in the HFIR. Traditionally, BWR cladding specimens are irradiated in HFIR using subsize specimen. The new capability will benefit BWR industry, and any customer interested in the 22% larger form capsule. 
  • Restart Pu-238 production at ORNL. The Pu-238 production target was redesigned to allow irradiation of the target at either HFIR (ORNL) or ATR (INL). He is overseeing engineering drawings for the target, as well as, optimizing the basket for irradiation in HFIR and developing the safety basis for hydraulic performance in HFIR.
  • Optimize the Target Rod Rabbit Holder (TRRH) facility that makes up the central flux trap of HFIR. The TRRH facility was a late introduction to HFIR following its initial mission for heavy actinide production. Therefore, the TRRH was not optimized to increase loading in the flux trap and restricts coolant flow to experiment. Optimizing the facility will increase flux trap loading by an estimate of 30%.