Wednesday, March 16, 2011
ORNL in the News

US physics feels the squeeze

(Nature News) Obama's pro-science 2012 budget hides some bitter pills for physical scientists. For example, the budget proposes to shutter operations at the Holifield Radio­active Ion Beam Facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, saving US$10.3 million a year....3/15

Oak Ridge experts list radiation threats

(Knoxville News Sentinel) Dr. Albert Wiley, director of the Radiation Emergency Assistance Center/Training Site, and Steve Sugarman, a health physicist on the REACTS staff, said Tuesday they were not permitted to discuss specifics of what's taking place in Japan - although they are privy to informed briefings by federal agencies - or speculate about possible outcomes at the nuclear reactors damaged by last week's massive earthquake and devastating tsunami....3/16

Explainer: What Are Spent Fuel Rods?

(NPR) When the spent fuel pins come out, they are hot. But the heat is not just lingering heat from the fission reaction. "These are radioisotopes that come from the products of the fission," says Jeffrey Binder, director of the fuel cycle and isotope program at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory....3/15

Asylum Research Introduces Electrochemical Strain Microscopy for Energy Storage Research

(Nano Werk) Developed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Asylum Research, electrochemical strain microscopy is an innovative scanning probe microscopy technique capable of probing electrochemical reactivity and ionic flows in solids on the sub-ten-nanometer level. It is the first technique that measures ionic currents directly, providing a new tool for mapping electrochemical phenomena on the nanoscale....3/15

DOE

Oral Testimony of Energy Secretary Steven Chu at the Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development of the House Committee on Appropriations

(DOE Press Release) The Department of Energy has sent two experts to Japan to provide advice and technical assistance. One is an emergency response representative deployed as part of the U.S. Agency for International Development Disaster Assistance Response Team, and the other is a nuclear engineer with Japanese language skills....3/15

East Tennessee

Oak Ridge Mayor reaches out to sister city in Japan

(WBIR-TV) Oak Ridge's sister city, Naka, Japan, sits inland, just north of Tokyo, in part of the country that was rattled by last week's earthquake. It's also Japan's research hub for atomic energy, much like Oak Ridge is for the United States....3/15

National

GOP rift forms as House passes stopgap spending bill. What happens next?

(Christian Science Monitor) Republican freshmen revolt, saying the three-week spending bill cuts too little – $6 billion – from the 2011 budget. House Democrats who backed the measure say the GOP rift gives them an edge. ...3/16

State & Regional

Japan lessons for TVA?

(Chattanooga Times Free Press) The Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan was designed for a stronger quake than its sister plant here — Browns Ferry near Athens, Ala. Both are the same design, a General Electric Mark 1 boiling-water reactor....3/16

Gov. Haslam pledges $40 million to start new charter schools

(Tennessean) Tennessee will launch 40 new charter schools and invest in up to six charter school management organizations to run them....3/16

energy & science policy

Despite incentives, doctors are wary about switching to electronic health records

(Washington Post) Under a plan to modernize health care, federal officials would provide up to $27 billion over 10 years to encourage hospitals to go electronic....3/14

Inside Energy Extra

3/15 A daily report on U.S. energy policy
[ORNL users only]
** US reactors are safe, Chu tells House
** Data sought on reactors in quake zones
** House panel approves stop-EPA bill
** House passes latest CR, with EPA cuts

science & technology

Japan Says 2nd Reactor May Have Ruptured With Radioactive Release

(New York Times) Japan's nuclear crisis intensified dramatically on Wednesday after the authorities announced that a second reactor unit at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi plant in northeastern Japan may have ruptured and appeared to be releasing radioactive steam....3/16

From Single Cells, a Vast Kingdom Arose

(New York Times) The origin of animals was one of the most astonishing and important transformations in the history of life. From single-celled ancestors, they evolved into a riot of complexity and diversity. An estimated seven million species of animals live on earth today, ranging from tubeworms at the bottom of the ocean to elephants lumbering across the African savanna....3/15

Unique Japan tsunami footage boon to scientists

(PhysOrg) Vision of the disastrous tsunami rolling onto Japan after last week's massive 9.0-magnitude earthquake will provide valuable data to scientists for years to come, Australian experts said Wednesday....3/16

Hubble Snaps Close-Up of Tarantula Nebula

(Science Daily) The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has produced an outstanding image of part of the famous Tarantula Nebula, a vast star-forming cloud of gas and dust in our neighboring galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud....3/15

Other Stories

What to Expect: X-Ray Vision, Doubled Life Spans and Lots of Robots

(New York Times) Michio Kaku surveyed researchers in fields like medicine, nanotechnology and astronautics to determine what advances may occur by 2100....3/15