R&D, Geosciences Engineer

Carlsbad, New Mexico (US)
April 09 2019
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

We are seeking a Geosciences Engineer or Scientist to join our dynamic team and utilize state-of-the-art facilities. If you are someone who has passion, expertise, and experience in computational rock mechanics, this might be your next career move. Do you want to be part of a multi-disciplinary and innovative team? Are you passionate about the work you do? We need you to join our diverse and multi-disciplinary team of experts.

On any given day, you may be called on to:

  • Simulate creep closure of open rooms and drifts excavated in bedded salt. Utilize simulation tools to numerically investigate consolidated properties, and their associated time scales, for salt rock in an underground room that is creeping closed. Numerically investigate the feasibility of channels remaining extant in a “healed” rubble/open room configuration. Investigate and develop tools to predict temporal and steady-state porosities and permeabilities for such a configuration;
  • Document findings of numerical investigations in analysis reports and papers. Present results to a variety of audiences, including government customers, regulators, public partners/stakeholders, and the rock mechanics technical community;
  • Write requirements for, test, validate, and document computational rock mechanics codes in accordance with NQA-1 and our DOE-specific QA requirements;
  • Perform scientific investigations and implement/document process model or parameter improvements;
  • Be an integral and valued contributor to a multi-disciplinary team in the development of technical publications and presentations.

About Our Team

The Sandia Performance Assessment and Decision Analysis Group is responsible for performing long-term environmental assessments of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), the nation’s only operating geologic nuclear waste repository, to ensure that current and future designs meet federal regulations. The WIPP is located in a bedded salt layer roughly 2,150 feet below the ground surface. The closure behavior of WIPP open rooms and drifts is modeled in WIPP Performance Assessment (PA) as part of the repository representation used to assess performance. The closure time scale, i.e. the length of time taken for an opening to close to a steady-state configuration, is an important quantity as are the physical properties as the space transitions from open to closed. Foremost among these physical properties are values specified for porosity and permeability as a room or drift transitions from open to closed. Recent roof falls in WIPP open areas indicate that closure of these regions is not a smooth, continuous process as was originally envisioned. Rather, open room closure time scales and properties may be highly influenced by roof fall events, with changes in the open space shape and regions of rubble located on the floor highly influencing the porosity and permeability of the overall closure process. Investigating these issues numerically, with validation against experimental results where possible, is a challenging undertaking that requires careful planning and forethought.

About Sandia

Sandia National Laboratories is the nation’s premier science and engineering lab for national security and technology innovation, with teams of specialists focused on cutting-edge work in a broad array of areas. Some of the main reasons we love our jobs:

  • Challenging work with amazing impact that contributes to security, peace, and freedom worldwide
  • Extraordinary co-workers
  • Some of the best tools, equipment, and research facilities in the world
  • Career advancement and enrichment opportunities
  • Flexible schedules, generous vacations, strong medical and other benefits, competitive 401k, learning opportunities, relocation assistance and amenities aimed at creating a solid work/life balance*

World-changing technologies. Life-changing careers.  Learn more about Sandia at: http://www.sandia.gov

*These benefits vary by job classification. 


All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or veteran status.

Qualifications We Require

  • Master's degree or a PhD in a relevant Engineering discipline (i.e. Environmental, Civil, Mechanical), Geomechanics, or a related discipline;
  • Demonstrated experience with numerical modeling of geomechanics applications;
  • Numerical/scientific computer programming experience;
  • Ability to obtain and maintain a DOE L-level security clearance.

Applicant must reside in or have the ability to reside in Carlsbad, New Mexico.

Qualifications We Desire

  • Strong writing, presentation, and communication skills;
  • Demonstrated problem solving skills;
  • Self-directed: able to both work independently and collaboratively as necessary;
  • Experience modeling geomechanics applications located in salt host rock.
  • Experience applying uncertainty quantification/risk assessment to engineering problems.
  • Experience developing numerical software in Python, FORTRAN, C/C++ and working with HPC UNIX/Linux environments.
  • Experience applying systems engineering methods to ensure software QA.
  • Experience performing engineering analyses and software development following regulated QA guidelines and requirements.
  • Demonstrated record of technical publication and presentation.

Security Clearance

Position requires a Department of Energy (DOE) L-level security clearance.

Sandia is required by DOE to conduct a pre-employment drug test and background review that includes checks of personal references, credit, law enforcement records, and employment/education verifications. Applicants for employment must be able to obtain and maintain a DOE L-level security clearance, which requires U.S. citizenship.  If you hold more than one citizenship (i.e., of the U.S. and another country), your ability to obtain a security clearance may be impacted.

Applicants offered employment with Sandia are subject to a federal background investigation to meet the requirements for access to classified information or matter if the duties of the position require a DOE security clearance. Substance abuse or illegal drug use, falsification of information, criminal activity, serious misconduct or other indicators of untrustworthiness can cause a clearance to be denied or terminated by the DOE, resulting in the inability to perform the duties assigned and subsequent termination of employment.