ORNL in the News

A new use for old tires

(Knoxville News Sentinel) ...old tires could prove beneficial in upgrading lithium-ion batteries that are used to power plug-in vehicles. “By modifying the microstructural characteristics of carbon black, a substance recovered from discarded tires, a team led by Parans Paranthaman and Amit Naskar is developing a better anode for lithium-ion batteries...8/27

Scientists learn to control reactions with the shape of a rare-earth catalyst

(DOE Research News) Scientists at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have discovered they can control chemical reactions in a new way by creating different shapes of cerium oxide, a rare-earth-based catalyst. Their finding holds potential for refining fuels, decreasing vehicle emissions, producing commodity chemicals and advancing fuel cells and chemical sensors...8/27

HFIR’s fuel conversion seeming less likely

(Knoxville News Sentinel) ...The High Flux Isotope Reactor was built in the 1960s. That’s pretty old by reactor standards. But the HFIR has undergone a significant makeover in recent years — replacement parts, infrastructure upgrades and new research capabilities — and lab officials have stated their intention to operate the 85-megawatt reactor for decades to come...8/27

The Surprising Science Behind Everyday Products

(HPC Wire) ...Oak Ridge Science Writer Dawn Levy shares how Procter & Gamble and research partners at Temple University leveraged Oak Ridge systems, Jaguar and Titan, to perform challenging molecular dynamics simulations...8/27

Science and Technology

Underground experiment confirms what powers the sun

(Science Magazine) Scientists have long believed that the power of the sun comes largely from the fusion of protons into helium, but now they can finally prove it...8/27

An Icy Solution To The Mystery Of The Slithering Stones

(NPR) A century ago, miners working in California's Death Valley reported seeing boulders on the desert floor with long trails behind them — as if the stones had been pushed across the sand. But, despite 60 years of trying, no one ever saw what moved them...8/28

Energy and Science Policy

Potential and Problems: House Hearing on Nanotechnology

(AIP) “Nanotech is a true science race between the nations, and we should be encouraging the transition from research breakthroughs to commercial development.  I believe the U.S. should excel in this area.”  So stated House Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Chairman Lee Terry (R-NE) at a hearing last month on nanotechnology...8/27


DOE responds to advisory board recommendation on groundwater studies

(Oak Ridge Today) ...The U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management has responded to a recommendation made earlier this year by the Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board...8/27

Composition of Earth’s mantle revisited

(R&D Magazine) Research published last week in Science suggested that the makeup of the Earth's lower mantle, which makes up the largest part of the Earth by volume, is significantly different than previously thought. The work, performed at the Advanced Photon Source at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory, will have a significant impact on our understanding of the lower mantle...8/27

UC Berkeley researchers take part in national effort to predict climate change

(The Daily Californian) The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is taking part in a comprehensive effort to develop a model that can project how climates are likely to change in the next 40 to 50 years...8/26

Local and State

TDEC appoints Chris Thompson deputy director for Remediation; will play lead role in DOE oversight

(Knoxville News Sentinel) Chris Thompson, who most recently served as director of external affairs for the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s Knoxville field office, has been appointed deputy director for the Division of Remediation and will play a lead role in the DOE Oversight Office in Oak Ridge...8/27

DENSO Boosts UT Engineering’s Hybrid Vehicle Research

(Tennessee Today) Engineering students researching hybrid vehicle technology at UT recently got a $50,000 shot in the arm from the DENSO North America Foundation...8/21

NRC approves nuclear waste storage to allow TVA to proceed with Watts Bar

(Times Free-Press) The Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved a plan Tuesday to allow nuclear wastes to be stored on site at nuclear plants, ending a two-year suspension of new plant licenses over waste concerns and clearing the way for the Tennessee Valley Authority to add another reactor at its Watts Bar Nuclear Plant...8/27