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