Reactor Design Engineer (R&D Engineer 2/3)

What You Will Do

Are you passionate about contributing to a dynamic team that may play a significant role in returning American astronauts to the Moon and enabling human exploration missions to Mars and beyond? Do you find ensuring U.S. national security exciting and an intriguing technical challenge? If you answered yes to either question, then joining the Systems Design and Analysis Group (NEN-5) may be right for you. NEN-5 is seeking a highly resourceful, technically equipped, and motivated Reactor Design Engineer (R&D Engineer 2/3) with diverse nuclear engineering expertise and high emotional intelligence to play an impactful role in a myriad of cutting-edge scientific projects that may define the Nuclear Age in the 21st century. NEN-5 is a multi-disciplinary team of approximately 24 employees comprised of scientists, engineers, and students that command a burgeoning annual budget of $12M dollars. Today, NEN-5 is well-positioned to expand its expertise across Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL)'s Global Security Directorate due to the growing global demand for advanced nuclear reactors and nuclear threat science expertise to guarantee America's leadership in space and beyond.

Specifically, our dynamic team focuses upon a broad spectrum of nuclear system applications including: special purpose reactor design and demonstration for space and terrestrial applications, radiation transport code applications, high fidelity simulation of nuclear systems and nuclear fuels, systems modeling, nuclear fuel cycles, and nuclear security. Recently, our team successfully designed, developed, and tested a prototype fission reactor named Kilowatt Reactor Using Stirling Technology (KRUSTY). Our diverse and dynamic team thrives in a collegial work environment that values creative problem solving where everyone's ideas and opinions are considered. Moreover, there are opportunities for technically advanced work performed at LANL that may be published in journals and/or conference proceedings.

This position will be filled at either the R&D Engineer 2 or R&D Engineer 3 level, depending on the proven skills of the selected candidate. Additional job responsibilities (outlined below) will be assigned if the candidate is hired at the higher level.

As a R&D Engineer 2 ($101,700 - $168,200), you will:
  • Execute high-quality modeling and/or simulation research in a nuclear-related field in a timely manner within a dynamic team environment and competing requirements.
  • Actively participate in a fast-paced environment with collaboration between multiple scientific disciplines; effectively, document and present advanced technical work.
  • Periodically, undertake domestic travel based on programmatic needs.
  • Identify strategic partners that could benefit from NEN-5's multi-disciplinary expertise.
  • Promote a collaborative, respectful, and engaging culture that enables mission success; Proactively demonstrate camaraderie, team building, safe operations, an insatiable desire to learn beyond your professional expertise, and a humble questioning attitude.

R&D Engineer 3 ($122,300 to $206,300)

In addition to what was outlined as the lower level, successful Level 3 candidates will:
  • Develop innovative and/or advanced concepts, theories, methods, techniques of approaches to address specialized problems.
  • Lead technical discussions within a project with the utmost professionalism amongst technical and non-technical decision makers to foster favorable programmatic outcomes.
  • Proactively mentor and train junior staff and/or students as they hone their research.
  • Regularly, develop and/or contribute ideas for new proposals and business development opportunities for our dynamic team and/or NEN-5, as a cohesive Group.
  • Lead peer review of the work of others within NEN-5 and participate in peer reviews across other organizations and/or scientific disciplines at LANL.

As a collaborative team, NEN-5:
  • Verifies and validates advanced nuclear reactors for special purpose applications through specific testing, analysis, and multi-physics computational methodologies.
  • Performs detailed systems analysis of nuclear weapons stockpiles through intensive systems analysis and modeling that directly supports national strategic decision making.
  • Supports the technical analyses and forensics on nuclear and radiological materials in the U.S. and foreign environments to inform security practices, policies, and procedures.
  • Conducts technical analysis of international treaty monitoring in support of nuclear nonproliferation, arms control, and the design of future nuclear weapons treaties

What You Need

Minimum Job Requirements:

Technical Leadership

Demonstrated "people first, mission always" mentality coupled with sound technical expertise. Recent experience fostering a collaborative, inclusive, and highly productive culture that gets the job done correctly the first time without damaging relationships with collaborators, stakeholders, and/or sponsors is a plus. Recent experience leading, managing, and/or delivering technical work on schedule.

Technical Knowledge

Proven expertise in modeling and simulations related to one or more of the following disciplines: nuclear engineering, radiation transport calculations, reactor depletion simulations, computational thermal/solid/fluid modeling, nuclear fuels and/or materials, nuclear chemistry, process modeling, or nonproliferation.

Team Building

Proven ability to succinctly communicate and relate to personnel at all levels of an organization. Experience collaborating cross-functional and/or cross-cultural on multi-disciplinary projects on-site and/or abroad. Superior emotional intelligence, high interpersonal skills, and ability to read the room in order to foster team cohesion.


Unwavering commitment to scientific excellence, superior research, and integrity. Proven ability to contribute and (occasionally) own project and/or program deliverables from conception to completion on schedule, with little to no supervision. Demonstrated experience in developing and delivering oral, written, and/or visual technical presentations and publishing in one or more of the following areas: nuclear engineering, mechanical engineering, physics, or closely related technical fields.

Safety and Security

Record of commitment to safety, security, compliance, quality, and diversity in the workplace. Ability to foster a safety culture and questioning attitude.


Ability to obtain a DOE Q-level clearance, which typically requires U.S. Citizenship.

Education Requirements:

Education/Experience (R&D Engineer 2) - This Position requires a Bachelor's Degree in Engineering from an Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc. (ABET) accredited institution and 4 years related experience; or, an equivalent combination of education and Industry experience directly related to the occupation.

Education/Experience (R&D Engineer 3) - This Position requires a Master's Degree in Engineering from an Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc. (ABET) accredited institution and 6 years related experience; or, an equivalent combination of education and Industry experience directly related to the occupation. At this level, a PhD may be preferred.

Desired Qualifications:

Demonstrated experience in one or more areas of nuclear science or computational areas:
  • Nuclear systems, reactor design, or high-fidelity reactor simulations.
  • Advanced knowledge in designing reactors or developing multi-physics models.
  • Experience in modeling and simulation using one or more of the following: MCNP, Serpent, OpenMC, MOOSE, BISON, Griffin, or radiation burn or depletion codes.
  • Application of multi-physics simulation tools such as MOOSE-based suite or VERA
  • Experience in designing or modeling criticality experiments.
  • Familiarity with emerging reactor technologies, nuclear fuel cycles, or their vulnerabilities to diversion or theft; material processing; nuclear security concepts.
  • Ability to program and knowledge of one or more programming languages, such as: Python, MATLAB, Java, SQL, Perl, C++, Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), or Fortran.
  • Active DOE Q-level and SCI clearance is highly desirable.

Work Location: The work location for this position is onsite and located in Los Alamos, NM. All work locations are at the discretion of management.

Position commitment: Regular appointment employees are required to serve a period of continuous service in their current position in order to be eligible to apply for posted jobs throughout the Laboratory. If an employee has not served the time required, they may only apply for Laboratory jobs with the documented approval of their Division Leader. The position commitment for this position is 1 year.

Note to Applicants: For full consideration, applicants must submit a resume and a comprehensive cover letter that addresses the minimum requirements, and any desired qualifications, of the position.
Where You Will Work

The Systems Design and Analysis Group (NEN-5) conducts multi-disciplinary systems engineering and analysis across various projects impacting advanced nuclear reactor designs, nuclear nonproliferation, stockpile stewardship, and international treaty monitoring. Moreover, NEN-5 collaborates across LANL'S Global Security Directorate, other national laboratories, and Industry to meet emerging global nuclear energy needs and safe operations. Since developing KRUSTY, NEN-5 is well-positioned to address national security requirements.

Located in beautiful northern New Mexico, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) is a multidisciplinary research institution engaged in strategic science on behalf of national security. Our generous benefits package includes:
  • PPO or High Deductible medical insurance with the same large nationwide network
  • Dental and vision insurance
  • Free basic life and disability insurance
  • Paid childbirth and parental leave
  • Award-winning 401(k) (6% matching plus 3.5% annually)
  • Learning opportunities and tuition assistance
  • Flexible schedules and time off (PTO and holidays)
  • Onsite gyms and wellness programs
  • Extensive relocation packages (outside a 50 mile radius)
Additional Details

Directive 206.2 - Employment with Triad requires a favorable decision by NNSA indicating employee is suitable under NNSA Supplemental Directive 206.2. Please note that this requirement applies only to citizens of the United States. Foreign nationals are subject to a similar requirement under DOE Order 142.3A.

Clearance: Q/SCI (Position will be cleared to this level). Selected applicants will be subject to a background investigation conducted by or on behalf of the Federal Government, and must meet eligibility requirements* for access to classified matter. This position requires a Q clearance. and obtaining such clearance requires US Citizenship except in extremely rare circumstances. Dependent upon the position, additional authorization to access classified information may be required, which may or may not be available to dual citizens. Receipt of a Q clearance and additional access authorization ultimately is a decision of the Federal Government and not of Triad.

*Eligibility requirements: To obtain a clearance, an individual must be at least 18 years of age; U.S. citizenship is required except in very limited circumstances. See DOE Order 472.2 for additional information.

New-Employment Drug Test: The Laboratory requires successful applicants to complete a new-employment drug test and maintains a substance abuse policy that includes random drug testing. Although New Mexico and other states have legalized the use of marijuana, use and possession of marijuana remain illegal under federal law. A positive drug test for marijuana will result in termination of employment, even if the use was pre-offer.

Regular position: Term status Laboratory employees applying for regular-status positions are converted to regular status.

Term position: Regular-status Laboratory employees applying for term-status positions may retain regular status with approval of the cognizant Principle Associate Director.

Internal Applicants: Regular appointment employees who have served the required period of continuous service in their current position are eligible to apply for posted jobs throughout the Laboratory. If an employee has not served the required period of continuous service, they may only apply for Laboratory jobs with the documented approval of their Division Leader. Please refer to Policy Policy P701 for applicant eligibility requirements.
Equal Opportunity: Los Alamos National Laboratory is an equal opportunity employer and supports a diverse and inclusive workforce. All employment practices are based on qualification and merit, without regard to race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status or spousal affiliation, physical or mental disability, medical conditions, pregnancy, status as a protected veteran, genetic information, or citizenship within the limits imposed by federal laws and regulations. The Laboratory is also committed to making our workplace accessible to individuals with disabilities and will provide reasonable accommodations, upon request, for individuals to participate in the application and hiring process. To request such an accommodation, please send an email to or call 1-505-665-4444 option 1.