Wednesday, February 16, 2011
ORNL in the News

Genetically Modified Switchgrass Offers Bright Perspective on Bioethanol

(IBTimes) Ethanol is already being used to supplement gasoline, as you may already know. Still, researchers are trying to find methods to produce bio-ethanol from plant sources that are both less costly to grow and to process, while at the same time keeping the efficiency into account. Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers found how newly-modified prairie grass may be the perfect candidate....2/16

Energy Science: Obama's Darling, Congress's Target

(Science) For fiscal year 2012, the Administration would increase the DOE science office's budget by $452 million, or 9% over current spending levels, to $5.4 billion. "In context, it's a very strong budget" that underscores the Administration's commitment to energy research and innovation, says Thom Mason, director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee....2/14

UT-Battelle gives $140K for Oak Ridge waterfront pavilion

(Oak Ridger) UT-Battelle has donated $140,000 to help Oak Ridge build a large pavilion at Melton Hill Lake as part of a waterfront development plan approved by the City Council in December 2009....2/15

DOE

State says DOE's proposed cleanup budget for 2012 is workable; 2013 a big question mark

(Knoxville News Sentinel) John Owsley, who heads the Oak Ridge oversight office for the Tennessee Dept. of Environment and Conservation, said today it appears that the Obama administration's budget request will be enough to maintain compliance -- with the help of about $90 million in Recovery Act money that's being added to the $400 million base for Oak Ridge EM work....2/15

National

Obama banks on bipartisan talks to solve budget crisis

(USA Today) President Obama on Tuesday adamantly defended his decision not to offer bold proposals to rein in Medicare and Social Security or overhaul the tax code in his 2012 budget, arguing that only a bipartisan effort would succeed....2/16

State & Regional

Former TVA critic now board member

(Knoxville News Sentinel) Four decades ago, he was "probably the leading public critic of TVA in the (Tennessee) Valley," Neil McBride said. The former member of consumer advocate Ralph Nader's staff had formed a public interest law firm in the early 1970s that badgered TVA, seeking public input on its decision-making....2/16

energy & science policy

3 States Challenge Federal Policy on Storing Nuclear Waste

(New York Times) The attorneys general of New York, Connecticut and Vermont sued the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Tuesday, challenging a new commission policy stating that nuclear waste can be safely stored at a nuclear power plant for 60 years after a reactor goes out of service....2/16

Inside Energy Extra

2/15 A daily report on U.S. energy policy
[ORNL users only]
** Boeing, Fluor eye Sandia lab contract
** Amendments take aim at energy programs
** DOE awards first transmission loan aid
** DOE approves Freeport LNG exports

science & technology

NASA Grabs a Second Look at a Comet

(New York Times) The Stardust spacecraft, traveling 24,000 miles per hour, passed 110 miles from the comet Tempel 1 at 11:40 p.m. Eastern time on Monday. This was the first time a comet had been seen close up twice....2/16

Big Blue vs. Big Red? IBM Battles China for World's Fastest Supercomputer

(FoxNews) China currently holds the title of world's fastest supercomputer, a boast-worthy title that swelled Chinese chests back in October. But China had better get ready: IBM is gunning for them....2/16

Monarch butterfly count bounces back from bad year

(Reuters) Monarch butterfly colonies in Mexico more than doubled in size this winter after bad storms devastated their numbers a year ago, conservationists report....2/15

Other Stories

Iran's Natanz nuclear facility recovered quickly from Stuxnet cyberattack

(Washington Post) A feverish effort to replace broken centrifuges at the Natanz facility followed last year's mysterious Stuxnet attack, a U.N. nuclear watchdog says....2/16 [Registration Required]

IBM's Supercomputer Pulverizes Puny Humans In First Jeopardy Game

(Forbes) IBM's Watson supercomputer didn't merely win the world's first-ever televised game of man vs. machine Jeopardy! Tuesday night. It reduced its two human opponents, former champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, to steaming puddles of inferior organic matter....2/16