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Another project was the world's first light water reactor.

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The materials research budget at ORNL doubled after initial uncertainty regarding Reagan's economic policy of less government expenditure.

In 1981 the Holifield Heavy Ion Research Facility, a 25 MV particle accelerator, was opened at ORNL.

The US Military funded much of its development, for nuclear-powered submarines and ships of the US Navy.

In the early 1960s there was a large push at ORNL to develop nuclear-powered desalination plants where deserts met the sea to provide water.

The project called Water for Peace was backed by John F. Johnson and presented at a 1964 United Nations conference but increases in the cost of construction and public confidence in nuclear power falling caused the plan to fail.