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Nuclear Engineering Science Laboratory Synthesis (NESLS)

The Nuclear Engineering Science Laboratory Synthesis (NESLS) program at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) provides nuclear engineering research opportunities and associated activities for undergraduate and graduate students.


  • Maximize the abilities of students through cooperative research with mentors at a national laboratory
  • Increase research opportunities
  • Provide a learning environment useful to both national laboratories and students
  • Train the next generation of nuclear scientists


  • Applications are accepted on a semester basis
    • Spring deadline: January 6
    • Summer deadline: February 28
    • Fall deadline: September 15
  • Flexible appointment duration; suggested minimum of 10 weeks in summer with poster session required
  • Full-time or part-time research or technical appointments may be offered


  • First Year (Freshman) - $529/week
  • Second Year (Sophomore) - $593/week
  • Third Year (Junior) - $653/week
  • Fourth Year (Senior) - $726/week
  • Master’s Student - $863/week
  • Ph.D. Student - $935/week
    • Class status is defined by the college/university and is based on completion prior to ORNL report date.
  • $150 housing allowance if permanent address is at least 50 miles from Oak Ridge. Learn more about Housing for ORNL Research Participants.
  • Up to $500 each way for travel reimbursement to and from Oak Ridge, if permanent address is at least 50 miles from Oak Ridge.


  • Be a full- or part-time student enrolled at an accredited U.S. college or university in a nuclear engineering, science, or eligible related degree –OR– a community college student working towards an Associate of Science or Associate of Engineering degree. If graduating with a degree before or during the appointment period, must provide proof on continuing education in an accredited degree-seeking program.
  • Have a cumulative minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale - copy of academic record required
  • Be 18 years or older
  • No citizenship requirement
  • Have medical insurance during appointment - verification required
  • Have two references - one academic preferred


  • Complete program requirements, and avoid activities that could present a conflict
  • Participate in a required poster presentation and all associated activities (if attending in the summer)
  • Attend optional enrichment activities (with mentor approval), including professional development workshops, Laboratory tours, lectures, and seminars
  • Behave in a responsible and professional manner
  • Complete pre- and post-appointment surveys


NESLS Internship Term Spring Summer Fall
Deadline* January 6 February 28 September 15

*Applications are subject to change each year.

Next Steps

If you are ready, you can apply to the NESLS Fall posting now.


Nuclear Engineering Science Laboratory Synthesis (NESLS)

More research programs for:

ORNL Intern Michael Moore

Michael Moore

Nuclear Engineering, Ph.D. Student
University of Tennessee, Knoxville

“My research focuses on reconfiguring past nuclear yield estimations for 80 atmospheric nuclear weapon tests conducted by the U.S. between 1948 and 1962. I explored the use of a non-traditional alternative method that predicts yield based on initial gamma radiation data. This early yield estimation could be crucial in the rapid response analysis of a post nuclear detonation event. A dose based prediction has the potential to allow for an accurate yield estimate, without requiring specific knowledge of the detonated nuclear weapon.”


“I have an excellent impression of my experience with ORNL and ORISE, and I would recommend the NESLS program to anyone who is genuinely serious about furthering their education in nuclear engineering. It was truly my mentor, Dr. Jodoin, who made my involvement rewarding, enjoyable and all around a phenomenal experience.”


“I appreciate the flexibility and willingness of the NESLS program to assist the interns in achieving a meaningful practicum that is tailored to the individual’s interests and strengths, while working with students’ complex schedules. Setting aside all of the specialized in-house codes, professional development courses, and networking opportunities for a moment, the experience of performing world-class research at a leading national laboratory is irreplaceable.”

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