Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Nuclear Engineer, Probabilistic Risk Assessment in RICHLAND, Washington

Organization and Job ID

Job ID: 308273

Directorate: Energy & Environment

Division: Earth Systems Science

Group: Risk & Decision Sciences

Job Description

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is seeking highly-qualified candidates with expertise in nuclear plant probabilistic risk assessment (PRA), including broad experience and knowledge in assessing the technical adequacy of PRAs as part of regulatory review and performance of PRA studies. This includes but is not limited to compiling, analyzing and interpreting decision support data, leading development of and delivering regulatory and project reports and presentations, managing tasks and projects as part of a team of PRA experts, developing/maintaining strong client relationships, and developing new business opportunities. The candidate would also be expected to apply his/her nuclear PRA skills to other areas, such as project and safety risk assessment/management of energy, environmental, national security, and research and development systems.

Initially, this position will support Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)-funded projects to assess the technical adequacy of PRA models and analyses used in risk-informed applications. The longer term goal is to develop business in additional regulatory applications. The scientist/engineer will actively focus on technical contributions, project management and business development. The scientist/engineer will:

  • Prepare technical reports and deliver presentations to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

  • Lead proposal teams for developing business, and managing significant projects/programs.

  • Demonstrate a strong background in Level 1 and Level 2 PRA of nuclear power plants, with various applicable hazards including internal events and flooding, internal fires, high winds, seismic, and low-power shutdown.

  • Apply in-depth knowledge of PRA methodology and related data analysis techniques in support of NRC licensing and regulatory activities.

  • Apply extensive practical experience of PRA applications, along with an understanding of what model attributes are necessary for the sound and defensible use of a PRA study in a series of applications, including:

  • Risk-informed changes to plant technical specifications,

  • Responses to 10 CFR 50.54(f) recommendations,

  • Risk-informed safety classification of systems, structures, and components (SSCs),

  • Tornado-generated missile protection analyses using PRA methods,

  • Transition of fire protection programs to NFPA 805,

  • NPP plant life-extension,

  • Licensing decision-making,

  • Reliability-centered maintenance,

  • Severe accident management.

  • Interpret standard analytical/engineering theories, principles, methods, tools and technologies, and adaptations of technical alternatives.

  • Assemble multi-disciplinary PRA teams and manage and mentor early career staff in accomplishing reviews and building capabilities in PRA across applicable PNNL groups.

  • Manage technical products (e.g., NRC technical evaluation reports) for the project to assure that they are delivered with the required level of quality, timeliness, and cost to meet or exceed program manager and client expectations.

  • Publication of research and participation in professional activities that advance the reputation of PNNL as a premier S&T institution.

The scientist/engineer will be accountable to:

  • Program Managers for performing assigned project roles for following applicable project and laboratory procedures and performance of assigned tasks on time and within budget.

  • Risk and Decision Sciences Technical Group Manager for general staff performance and development, operational discipline (e.g., maintaining training qualifications, procedural compliance, safe operations), and program development.

  • Project Management Office Director for fully assessing project risks, accurately representing project manager skills, and for properly planning projects and controlling risks.

  • Professional Experience: Demonstrated experience in nuclear plant probabilistic risk assessment (PRA) and applying nuclear PRA skills to other areas, such as risk management of energy systems and/or national security to support business development and project implementation. Effective technical leadership of teams on multiple or significant PRA projects and tasks. Experience managing moderate to large, complex projects in PRA.

  • Technical Expertise and Breadth of Knowledge: Technical expertise and knowledge of PRA methodology and related data analysis techniques for studies conducted to PRA Level 2. Extensive knowledge and practical experience of PRA applications, along with an understanding of what model attributes are necessary for the sound and defensible use of a PRA study in a series of applications, including transition of commercial nuclear power plant fire protection programs to NFPA 805, plant life-extension beyond 60 years/reactor aging management, reliability-centered maintenance, and severe accident management.

  • Technical Judgment: Past performance must demonstrate attributes of being self-motivated and self-directed, and must demonstrate experience managing multiple projects and leading interdisciplinary teams. Excellent written and oral communications skills are required. Must have experience in preparing, reviewing, and presenting the results of complex technical reports.

Minimum Qualifications

  • BS/BA with 9 years of experience

  • MS/MA with 7 years of experience

  • PhD with 5 years of experience

Preferred Qualifications

  • Master’s Degree in nuclear engineering or related field with at least 10 years of experience directly related to probabilistic risk assessment (PRA) of nuclear power plants.

  • Recognized as an expert in PRA methods and applications, and advancing state of the art concepts.

  • Ability to establish network across PNNL, and with other national laboratories, academia, professional societies, and clients.

  • Demonstrated ability to (1) conceive, plan, and execute tasks/projects with considerable influence on scientific and technological developments, (2) display leadership in defining scientific and technical objectives with clients, (3) leads in the capture, planning, and technical execution of complex interdisciplinary projects and programs across organizational boundaries and outside of the laboratory, and (4) capture and enable sufficient funding to support self and project teams.

  • Displays a significant record of technical products influencing the PRA discipline.

Equal Employment Opportunity

Battelle Memorial Institute (BMI) at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer and supports diversity in the workplace. All employment decisions are made without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, marital or family status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or genetic information. All BMI staff must be able to demonstrate the legal right to work in the United States. BMI is an E-Verify employer. Learn more at

Other Information

This position requires the ability to obtain and maintain a federal security clearance.


  • U.S. Citizenship

  • Background Investigation: Applicants selected will be subject to a Federal background investigation and must meet eligibility requirements for access to classified matter in accordance 10 CFR 710, Appendix B.

  • Drug Testing: All Security Clearance (L or Q) positions will be considered by the Department of Energy to be Testing Designated Positions which means that they are subject to applicant, random, and for cause drug testing. In addition, applicants must be able to demonstrate non-use of illegal drugs, including marijuana, for the 12 consecutive months preceding completion of the requisite Questionnaire for National Security Positions (QNSP).

Note: Applicants will be considered ineligible for security clearance processing by the U.S. Department of Energy until non-use of illegal drugs, including marijuana, for 12 consecutive months can be demonstrated.

Special/Hazardous Working Conditions or Environment:

  • Primary work location will be office environment; offsite travel to nuclear power plants and NRC offices may be required.

Directorate: Energy & Environment

Job Category: Engineering/Engineering Techs

Group: Risk & Decision Sciences

Opening Date: 2018-09-04

Closing Date: 2019-01-21