The increased demand on fossil fuels for energy production has resulted in expanded research and development efforts on direct use of fossil fuels and conversion of fossil fuels into synthetic fuels. These efforts have focused on the efficiency of the energy production and/or conversion processes, and of the emission control technology, as well as delineation of the health and environmental impacts of those processes and their by-products. A key ingredient of these studies is the analytical capability necessary to identify and quan- tify those chemicals of interest in the process and by-produce streams from coal combustion, oil shale retorting, petroleum refin- ing, coal l1quifaction and gasification. These capabilities are needed to analyze a formidable range of materials including liquids, solids, gases and aerosols containing large numbers of criteria and pollutants including potentially hazardous polynuclear aromatic hy- drocarbons, organo-sulfur and organo-nitrogen species, trace elements and heavy metals, among others. Taking notice of these developments we sought to provide a forum to discuss the latest information on new and novel applica- tions of a subset of those necessary analytical capabilities, namely atomic and nuclear techniques. Consequently, we organized the con- ference on Atomic and Nuclear Methods in Fossil Fuel Energy Research, which was held in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico from December 1 to December 4, 1980.