Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)

Since its operation began in 1943, the primary mission of ORNL has been to conduct research and development in support of DOE. The original ORNL facility consisted of an air-cooled graphite reactor for producing plutonium; a pilot plant for isolating plutonium; and some support facilities.  Construction for the chemical separations pilot plant began in March 1943. The reactor began operation on November 4, 1943. The site initially had several major goals including:

  1. Conducting necessary studies and developing a workable and dependable method for chemically separating and isolating plutonium from uranium metal and fission products.
  1. Developing a process for recovering the partially depleted uranium metal that had been irradiated and used in the development work at the pilot plant.
  1. Developing methods for producing certain other radioisotopes such as barium and lanthanum for use at other Manhattan project sites.

After completion of its original goals, ORNL continued to conduct reactor research; pilot plant and production work in the areas of isotope production, separation and purification. Today ORNL is involved in neutron science research, biotechnology research, alternative energy research and advanced materials research.

ORNL is managed for the DOE by UT-Battelle, LLC.
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