Rafford L. Faulkner, 70, retired director of the raw materials division of the Atomic Energy Commission, died Thursday at his home in Bethesda of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He had suffered from emphysema.

He joined the AEC in 1950 as assistant to the director of the raw materials division and became director in 1963, retiring in 1972.

Mr. Faulkner was born in Somerville, Mass. He earned a degree in mining and metallurgy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1933.

After working in Peru for the Cerro de Pasco Copper Co. as a geologist, he returned to this country in 1940 and became an engineer examiner with the Reconstruction Finance Corporation.

During World War II, Mr. Faulkner served as a Navy lieutenant in the Pacific. He returned to the RFC after the war and then was a mining engineer with the Export-Import Bank for a year before joining the AEC.

Mr. Faulkner was a specialist in uranium. After retiring, he continued to serve as a consultant to the AEC, now the Energy Research and Development Administration. He also was a member of the Nuclear Task Group in an energy study by the National Petroleum Council.

He was the author of a number of papers on the availability of uranium for nuclear fuel.

Mr. Faulkner was a member of the American Nuclear Society, the Atomic Industrial Forum, the National Society of Professional Engineers and the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers.

He is survived by his wife, Concetta D., of the home; two daughters, Carol Bickley, of Washington, and Helen Burton of Bowie; a sister, Dorothy Joyce of Nahant, Mass., and two grandchildren.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Lung Association of Mid-Maryland in Rockville.