Bruce A. Moyer, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge TN 37831, USA



Oak Ridge National Laboratory started as dual experiments in neutron science and separation science. Could plutonium be separated and purified from neutron-irradiated natural uranium at gram scale? To this day, ORNL stands as a global powerhouse in both neutron and separation science, having further diversified its innovations across the landscape of energy-related science and technology. This presentation focuses on the author’s successes in separation science and technology in the context of the long history of ORNL’s triumphs that continue to this day. ORNL has developed landmark separation processes that have truly changed the world. As highlighted in a few examples, this remarkable tradition continues in the areas of isotope separations, nuclear fuel recycle, environmental remediation, waste treatment, carbon sequestration, and critical materials. The author’s contributions have dealt with new concepts for nuclear fuel recycle, nuclear waste treatment, and rare earth separation. His most impactful achievement has been the chemistry for cesium separation now used at the Savannah River Site as the centerpiece for the $2B Salt Waste Processing Facility.

This research was supported by multiple offices of the U.S. Department of Energy: Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences, Chemical Sciences, Geosciences, and Biosciences Division; Nuclear Technology Research and Development program, Office of Nuclear Energy; Critical Materials Institute, an Energy Innovation Hub funded by the US Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Technologies Office; and Office of Technology Innovation and Development, Office of Environmental Management, U.S. Department of Energy.

This submission has been authored by a contractor of the U. S. Government under contract No. DE-AC05-00OR22725. Accordingly, the U. S. Government retains a non-exclusive, royalty-free license to publish or reproduce the published form of this contribution, or allow others to do so, for the U. S. Government purposes.



Biographical Sketch:

Bruce A. Moyer

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Oak Ridge TN 37831, USA


Bruce Moyer, a Corporate Fellow at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), specialized over his 43-year career in both fundamental and applied aspects of separation science and technology, especially on the chemistry of solvent extraction and ion exchange. His more than 250 open-literature publications include 175 journal articles, 17 patents, 8 patent applications pending, 6 edited books, 15 book chapters, 30 peer-reviewed proceedings articles, and 26 open-literature ORNL reports. 

He earned his B.S. degree summa cum laude with chemistry honors from Duke University in 1974 and a Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1979 under the direction of Prof. Thomas J. Meyer. His graduate work dealt with fundamental mechanisms of redox catalysis, oxygen atom transfer, and proton-coupled electron transfer.

In 1979, he joined ORNL where he has worked on a variety of problems in separations chemistry, always with an eye on incorporating principles of molecular recognition. While serving as group leader for chemical separations in the lab’s Chemical Sciences Division, Dr. Moyer provided leadership for three programs for the U.S. Department of Energy: Principles of Chemical Recognition and Transport in Extractive Separations (Office of Science), the Sigma Team for Advanced Actinide Recycle (Office of Nuclear Energy), and the Diversifying Supply Focus Area of the Critical Materials Institute, a DOE Energy Innovation Hub (Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy). He also serves as co‑editor of the journal Solvent Extraction and Ion Exchange, as well as of the book series Ion Exchange and Solvent Extraction.

He led the chemical development of the Caustic Side Solvent Extraction (CSSX) process implemented in 2012 at the Savannah River Site for removal of cesium from tens of millions of gallons of legacy nuclear waste. As a result, he received the Secretary of Energy’s Award in 2013. He considers CSSX and Next Generation CSSX processes to be his most successful technology application. CSSX is operating successfully in the $2 billion Salt Waste Processing Facility at the DOE Savannah River Site. Both processes previously operated sequentially for 11 years in the Modular CSSX Unit at the Savannah River Site, processing over 7 million gallons of high-level waste. 

Dr. Moyer’s 17 patents are for his innovations ranging from solvent extraction of cesium for nuclear-waste cleanup to supported liquid membrane systems and novel anion-exchange resins. In 2019 he became a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has received a number of awards: 2019 Glenn T. Seaborg Actinide Separations Award, 2017 R&D 100 Award for ACE: The Ageless Aluminum Revolution; 2013 DOE Secretary’s Award for Salt Waste Technologies Team; 2011 Council of Chemical Research Collaboration Award for Development and Implementation of High-Level Salt-Waste Processing Technology (team award); R&D 100 Award in 2004 for A Highly Selective, Regenerable Perchlorate Treatment System; UT-Battelle Technical Achievement Award in 2000 for Contributions to the Development of Novel Resin Regeneration Techniques; three Lockheed Martin Research Corporation Achievement awards in 1999—Leadership Award, Development Award (novel bifunctional anion exchange resin), and Development Award (novel process for cesium separation from waste). 

Recently, he co-chaired and co-edited the 2022 workshop report, Innovative Separations Research and Development Needs for Advanced Fuel Cycles and served on the National Academy of Science Committee on A Research Agenda for a New Era in Separations Science in 2018–2019. He also served as the technical chair of the 2008 International Solvent Extraction Conference (ISEC 2008) and editor-in-chief of the proceedings. In 2011, he served as member of the Advisory Committee, program chair for nuclear separations, and co-editor of the proceedings of ISEC 2011.

Bruce Moyer