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ORAU may cover your travel costs for conferences, training events, sampling expeditions, and other travel that will promote the educational goals of the appointment, provided that your mentor approves the trip’s destination, purpose and estimated cost. Please check with your ORAU program coordinator to learn about the types of travel that your program may fund. Participant travel will be in accordance with the ORAU Travel Policy.

Additionally, some programs will reimburse one-round trip or dislocation to the work site. Check your program’s information page for details. (Find your program on the Applicants page.)

Planning your trip

As soon as a trip is planned and has been verbally approved by your mentor, you should complete the online Travel Authorization Request form (TAR). Make your cost estimates as complete and accurate as possible to avoid unnecessary complications in the approval process. Print the final page of the TAR and have it signed by your mentor. Scan and email the completed form to ORAU Travel Central.

For foreign travel, you should fill out both the TAR and the Request for Approval of Foreign Travel (RAFT). Participants must notify ORAU at least 45 days in advance of all foreign travel related to their appointment, even if ORAU will not be paying the cost of the travel. The Department of Energy must approve all foreign travel. This is a lengthy process.

Once ORAU has received your TAR and your mentor’s approval, we will begin processing your travel request. Our travel agent will locate the most cost-effective airfare that meets your scheduling needs, and e-mail the itinerary to you for your approval. No tickets will be purchased until you have approved them.

Rental vehicles will be approved only if there is a business justification, and other modes of transportation are not available. We strongly recommend that you allow ORAU to reserve the rental vehicle for you, so the vehicle will be covered under our corporate insurance policy. Insurance policies purchased through the rental company are not reimbursable. More information on approved expenses may be found in the ORAU Travel Manual.

Due to DOE restrictions on conference attendance and although you submit your TAR on time, you may not be approved to attend the conference. Therefore you are urged to submit your Travel Authorization Request form as early as possible.

Cash Advances

If you pay your own registration fee (for conferences, training sessions, etc.), ORAU can reimburse you that cost before the trip has been completed. Please submit proof of payment and indicate the cost of the registration in the cash advance section of the TAR. You will receive this advance shortly after we have processed your TAR.

You may also request a cash advance up to the amount of your per diem. This advance will be direct deposited into your account shortly before your departure. To find per diem rates for various localities, visit the GSA website or contact ORAU Travel Central.

If you receive a cash advance, and your trip is cancelled or the costs are less than estimated, you will be required to return the advance to ORAU.

ORAU cannot prepay hotel costs.

Travel Reimbursements

Within ten days of the completion of your trip, please complete the Travel Expense Statement (TES). Mail the completed TES and all necessary receipts to:

ORAU Travel Central
PO Box 117, MS-36
Oak Ridge, TN 37831-0117

Original receipts are required; we will not be able to process your reimbursement until we receive them.

Once we have received all of the necessary documents, you can expect to receive your reimbursement in approximately two weeks. It will be direct deposited into the same account where you receive your other payments.

Personal Travel

You are permitted to add personal travel days in conjunction with business travel provided that it is approved by your mentor and the ORAU program contact. Personal travel days may not exceed the rate of 1 personal day to every 2 business days. The ORAU Travel Central Team will do a cost comparison for business-only travel versus business-with-personal travel. The participant will be responsible for all costs that exceed the business-only travel estimate.

ORNL Intern Chandler Hinton

Chandler Hinton

Electrical Engineering, Undergraduate
Tennessee Tech University

“My task was to assist the U.S. Air Force Precision Measurement Equipment Laboratory in upgrading and improving devices known as wind tunnels used to calibrate diagnostic measurement and test equipment. Our research will help the Air Force achieve mission success as they work to protect this nation. After all, a pilot relies heavily on his or her instruments.”


“Being able to see where theoretical science meets real world applications was very insightful. In school, we mainly get to see the theoretical world meet the real world in small, pre-planned, pre-tested experiments. At the lab, I got to try new things. The challenges and difficulties weren’t always known, and it was interesting to have to think on my feet and problem solve on the spot.”


“There is a vast amount of knowledge at the lab. Within one building there can be several different types of cutting edge research going on. As an intern, being prompted to ask questions, go on tours and learn as much as possible is a great opportunity.”

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