Nuclear Engineering Science Laboratory Synthesis

The Nuclear Engineering Science Laboratory Synthesis (NESLS) program is a cooperative research initiative geared toward students working in nuclear engineering and science. Through one- to three-year summer internships, NESLS offers students on-the-job educational and research opportunities at a multidisciplinary national laboratory.


  • Maximize the abilities of students through cooperative research with mentors at a national laboratory
  • Increase on-the-job research opportunities
  • Provide a learning environment useful to both national laboratories and students
  • Train next generation nuclear scientists
Nuclear Security Technologies
Material protection,
control, and accounting
Radiation detection
Safeguards Transportation technologies
Arms control assessments Fissile material Detection
Export control Fissile material disposition
Nuclear threat reduction  
Nuclear Systems Analysis, Design, and Safety
Radiation shielding Systems analysis
Reactor physics Facility safety
Criticality safety Risk assessment
Thermal hydraulics Regulatory support
Nuclear data and codes System instrumentation and controls
Material and fuel irradiation Enrichment technology
Advanced space reactors  
Fuels, Isotopes, and Nuclear Materials
Nuclear fuels Separations science and technology
Heavy element production Nuclear process and equipment design
Stable and radioactive isotopes Robotics and remote handling
Medical isotope development Chemical engineering

While You Are Here:

  • Enrich your laboratory experience by attending the lecture series to learn of the work of outstanding speakers
  • Network with laboratory research staff and with fellow students through work and social events
  • Take technical tours of facilities at ORNL
  • Prepare and present your project to laboratory staff and fellow students

Eligibility: The ORNL NESLS program is open to full- or part-time students enrolled at a U.S. college or university in a nuclear engineering, science, or eligible related degree with a 3.0/4.0 cumulative GPA at the time of appointment. Community college students must be working towards an Associate of Science or Associate of Engineering degree. All awards and active participation in the program are contingent upon security access approval to Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Qualifications: Student applicants will be chosen on the basis of academic performance, class standing, career goals, recommendations, and compatibility of educational interests and abilities with the needs of ORNL.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Degree: Currently pursuing a Bachelor's degree, Master's degree, Doctoral degree or Associate's degree
  • Overall GPA: 3.00
  • Affirmation: I certify that my cumulative GPA is at least 3.0/4.0, I will be 18 years old by start of appointment, and I am currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate nuclear engineering, science or related eligible degree program at a U.S. college or university. If in a community college, I am enrolled in an Associate of Science or Associate of Engineering degree program.
  • Discipline(s):
    • Physics (All)
    • Earth and Geosciences (All)
    • Engineering (All)
    • Life Health and Medical Sciences (All)
    • Mathematics and Statistics (All)
    • Other Physical Sciences (All)
    • Computer Sciences (All)
    • Environmental and Marine Sciences (All)
    • Social and Behavioral Sciences
      • International Relations
      • Political Science and Government
      • Public Policy
      • Risk Analysis
      • Science Policy/Science & Society
    • Nanotechnology (All)
    • Other
      • Public Affairs
  • Veteran Status: None

Application Procedure: Applications for the summer program must be submitted prior to the February 28 program deadline. A limited number of slots are available during fall and winter sessions. Applicants may apply for NESLS via the online application form.

Selection: The award will be based on mentor's selection and project funding availability. Applicants will be notified of acceptance on or around April 15 for the summer session.

Duration: The award is an appointment of at least 10 weeks. Renewals are limited.

Benefits: Travel to and from (max $1000); Housing allowance of $150/week if located more than 50 miles from laboratory.

NESLS Weekly Stipend Rates

 Class Status*


 First Year (Freshman)


 Second Year (Sophomore)


 Third Year (Junior)


 Fourth Year (Senior)


 Masters Student


 PhD Student

*Denotes class status completed prior to ORNL report date.

Health Insurance: Each participant is required to have coverage in a health insurance plan. It is the responsibility of each participant to secure insurance coverage before arriving at the appointed site.

Have questions on how to apply? Contact Leslie Fox at ORNLedu@orau.orgFor general program questions or additional program information, contact Julie Ezold at

Deadline for applications:
To apply for NESLS Fall 2016 (open June 1, 2016 – September 15, 2016, click the link below:
ORNL NESLS Program Application ***NEW***

For additional information contact:
Leslie Fox


Last Updated: Tuesday, June 7, 2016 6:58 PM