Tuesday, January 11, 2011
ORNL in the News

DOE Starts at the Top in Bid to Cut Emissions, Set Good Example on Efficiency

(NY Times) To gain access to the latest energy advancement at the Department of Energy's headquarters complex in Washington, D.C., you must travel a maze of hallways and find the door marked with the cryptic code "1E029."...The new roof is one very visible way that DOE is going about achieving President Obama's goal of reducing the government's greenhouse gas emissions...DOE headquarters is not the first department building with a cool roof. Several exist at DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee and in a few other locations...1/10

Switchgrass — growing a new cash crop

(Knoxville News Sentinel) ...Thanks to millions of dollars from the state of Tennessee, along with federal sources, researchers at the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory and corporate partner DuPont Danisco Cellulosic Ethanol are working out the science and mechanics of turning plants into transportation fuel. DuPont Danisco produced 5,000 gallons of cellulosic ethanol last year at the pilot biorefinery in Vonore, Tenn. - capable of producing up to 250,000 gallons of the fuel - and plans to produce between 100,000 and 150,000 gallons this year...1/9

Oak Ridge rep announces Science, Tech appointment

(Oak Ridger) On Wednesday morning, just hours before he was to be sworn into office, U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Third District, announced on a Knoxville radio station that he had been appointed to a new House committee -- the Committee on Science, Space and Technology..."And I found out (Tuesday), I'm going to be put on the Science and Technology Committee -- and that is consistent with my strong support of Oak Ridge and our outstanding national energy mission there at ORNL and Y-12."...1/6

Speaker 'warms up' lunch crowd

(Oak Ridger) Scientists have been warning us of this problem for years: The levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in Earth's atmosphere are increasing because of humans, and the planet is heating up due in large part to the increased gas levels. Still, reports on global warming -- it's frequently referred to as climate change now -- bring out the skeptics. The skepticism often comes from special interest groups, such as the oil industry and electric utilities, or people with strong political opinions, said T.J. Blasing, a climatologist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory...1/6

High level of pollutant detected in Oak Ridge well

(Knoxville News Sentinel) A high level of trichloroethylene, an industrial solvent, was found in one of the new monitoring wells installed across the river from Oak Ridge National Laboratory's nuclear burial grounds, but Oak Ridge officials said it's too early to determine if the pollution is linked to the old waste sites...The west side of the Clinch River actually showed that the groundwater was flowing from the wells back toward the river, which would seem to reinforce the unlikelihood that pollution could be coming from ORNL's nuclear burial grounds on the east side of the river...1/10

GPU Computing Ushers in Progress

(HPC Wire) In the future, 2010 may be known as the year of the GPU, or at least its big debut. China stole TOP500 glory using the massively parallel processing power of the graphics chip. And while the US can claim no GPU-based supercomputers among the top 10, GPGPU computing is having a big influence on US science and research...Many, if not most, supercomputing centers are themselves evaluating hybrid CPU-GPU architectures, among them Tokyo Tech, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center and PNNL...1/10

DOE

Fermilab closing its Tevatron in September

(Chicago Tribune) Fermilab's particle accelerator known as the Tevatron, a 4.26-mile underground loop that had been the leading facility of its kind in the world, will close Sept. 30, the lab near Batavia said Monday. Closing the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory's Tevatron, which accelerates protons so scientists can study the collisions, had been expected in large part because of the construction of the more powerful Large Hadron Collider, a 17-mile loop on the Swiss-French border. Work on the LHC started in the late 1990s, and the facility started functioning in September 2008...1/10

Ed Westcott's photography goes on the road

(Oak Ridger) A traveling photographic display of 48 framed images, primarily the result of work done during the Manhattan Project by famed local photographer Ed Westcott, is going on the road. The Oak Ridge Secret City Photographic History Exhibit consists of selected images from many of Westcott's works that have artistic merit while providing a rich historic story...1/7

 

National

Gates Warns of North Korea Missile Threat to U.S.

(NY Times) In a major new assessment of North Korea, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said on Tuesday that the country is becoming a direct threat to the United States and was within five years of developing a missile with the potential of hitting Alaska or the West Coast...1/11

East Tennessee

A new war on weeds: UT and R&D partners work to bolster switchgrass as biofuel crop

(Knoxville News Sentinel) Switchgrass is pretty good at growing anywhere — on poor soil, in drought conditions, and even in seawater. But the native grass turned bioenergy crop has a nemesis: weeds. Without exception, the farmers, researchers and businesses working to grow the plant say alien competitors, most notably crab grass, give newborn switchgrass fields a run for their money...1/10

State & Regional

TN ranks low in female officeholders

(Tennessean) Lawmakers are expected today to name the first woman ever as speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives, but the state still lags behind much of the nation in the number of women in higher office...1/10

energy & science policy

2010 In Review: Budget and Policy Highlights from FYI

(AIP) National Science Board released “Science and Engineering Indicators 2010.”  Report issued that offered consensus recommendations on expanding public access to scholarly articles. House Science and Technology Committee started work on the reauthorization of the America COMPETES legislation.  A Blue Ribbon Commission was established to develop “a safe, long-term solution for the management of used nuclear fuel and nuclear waste.”...1/7

Military eyed for biofuel help

(Knoxville News Sentinel) ...according to Jim Lane, editor and publisher of Biofuels Digest, an online publication based in Miami, additional government assistance is needed to make the new industry a success. Progress on development of ethanol has been slower than originally anticipated, and the question of a market is partly to blame, Lane said...1/10

Inside Energy Extra

1/10 A daily report on U.S. energy policy
[ORNL users only]
- Inspectors on site at TAPS spill
- High Court rejects climate lawsuit
- Captain questions turbines off Md.
- Loan aid for advanced ethanol sought
- N-waste commission to visit WIPP

science & technology

Kepler Space Telescope Spots Its First Rocky Planet

(NPR) A big hot rock made its debut Tuesday. It's a planet orbiting a star 560 light-years away and it is claimed to be the smallest planet discovered outside our solar system...1/11

Climate Change to Continue to Year 3000 in Best Case Scenarios, Research Predicts

(Science Daily) New research indicates the impact of rising CO2 levels in Earth's atmosphere will cause unstoppable effects to the climate for at least the next 1000 years, causing researchers to estimate a collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet by the year 3000, and an eventual rise in the global sea level of at least four metres...1/10

Northeast US saw record heat in 2010

(CS Monitor) ...The researchers looked at temperature data collected by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration at various sites in cities across the northeastern United States...1/10

Other Stories

Australia’s Third-Largest City at Risk From Floods

(NY Times) Australian officials urged thousands of people to flee to higher ground on Tuesday in Australia’s third-largest city, Brisbane, as floodwaters that killed at least 10 people rushed toward the coastal capital of 2 million people...1/11