Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Jobs

Job Information

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Post Masters RA - Ultra-Low Background Radiation Detection in RICHLAND, Washington

Organization and Job ID

Job ID: 311134

Directorate: National Security

Division: Signatures Science & Technology

Group:Detection Physics

Job Description

The Detection Physics (DP) Group within PNNL’s National Security Directorate is seeking recent MS graduates to work at the intersection of national security, environmental sciences, and nuclear/particle physics instrumentation.

We are interested in one or more highly motivated, capable individuals to work in a multidisciplinary environment making quantitative environmental measurements in ultra-low background systems, particularly aimed at radiometric age-dating. The endeavors span from the production mechanisms in the environment to the quantitative measurements in the laboratory, and the development of all the systems that are required. The work will primarily focus on the production of naturally occurring noble gas radioisotopes, collection and separation of noble gas samples, and the radiometric measurements. Tritium and carbon age-dating are also a focus. The positions will involve significant hands-on work with low-background radiation detectors (germanium detectors, gas proportional counters, and liquid scintillators), sample collections and preparation (e.g. noble gas processing from whole air, noble gas purification, electrolytic enrichment of water samples for tritium measurements), and the fundamental development of radiation detectors and gas separations systems.

The post-masters researcher will also have the opportunity to participate in the DP Group’s other applied radiation detection programs. These programs may provide bench-scale, hands-on laboratory instrumentation development opportunities, including working in the PNNL shallow underground laboratory cleanroom.

Minimum Qualifications

Candidates must have received a Master’s degree within the past 24 months or within the next 8 months from an accredited college or university. Minimum overall GPA of 3.0 required.

Preferred Qualifications

  • The candidate must be highly motivated and possess the interpersonal skills necessary to work with others in a team environment

  • They must also be capable of working independently, and able to contribute in a professional manner via written and verbal communication

  • Excellent laboratory and problem-solving skills are desired

  • The successful candidate must demonstrate an aptitude for meticulous attention to detail and the discipline to closely follow established procedures to perform intricate and exacting tasks associated with the preparation and handling of high purity materials

Preferred Education/Credential

The ideal candidate will have

  • a MS in nuclear engineering, environmental science, or nuclear/particle physics, with experience in low-level detection techniques, gas chemistry, and detector development

  • Experience with noble gas detectors (gas proportional counters and cryogenic noble liquid scintillators) and understand the challenges to low-background techniques associated with these technologies

  • Experience with cleanroom, low-background measurements, and gas chemistry is desirable

  • Experience with C++ and the ROOT analysis framework is beneficial

  • Experience with sample processing and measurement for stable isotope geochronology is beneficial

Special/Hazardous Working Conditions or Environment

The position will require significant hands-on work in the lab.

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

Please be aware that the Department of Energy (DOE) prohibits DOE employees and contractors from participation in certain foreign government talent recruitment programs. If you are offered a position at PNNL and are currently a participant in a foreign government talent recruitment program you will be required to disclose this information before your first day of employment.

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.

Directorate: National Security

Job Category: Post-Graduates and Post-Docs

Group: Detection Physics

Opening Date: 2020-08-27

Closing Date: 2020-11-29