Friday, April 1, 2011
ORNL in the News

Risk Assessment: Balancing Safety With Cost

(NPR: Talk of the Nation) [Audio]
LYNN NEARY: Now, I'm wondering: In terms of risk assessment, it's a risky job in the sense that it's hard to get people to listen - or is it hard to get people to listen or even to follow the advice of risk assessors like yourself?
JOHN SORENSEN: I would say that despite fairly large efforts by organizations, including FEMA and the Red Cross, to get the American public more prepared for a range of events, that we still as a country have not achieved the level of preparedness that we should be at to be more resilient to particularly large events....3/31

Are nuclear reactions restarting at Fukushima?

(New Scientist) Horrific as the situation at Fukushima Daiichi is, at least the plant's nuclear chain reactions have been shut down. But could chain reactions have started up again in small globs of nuclear fuel? Jim Rushton of Oak Ridge National Laboratory says that spontaneous chain reactions are very unlikely. Even if they did occur briefly, they would not add much radioactivity or heat beyond what workers are already dealing with from the radioactive material that accumulated when the reactors were running at full power....3/31

DOE

Y-12 seismically at risk

(Knoxville News Sentinel) Despite millions of dollars spent on upgrades, the 60-year-old production hub at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant remains seismically vulnerable and could be severely damaged or disabled by a major earthquake....4/1

East Tennessee

East Tennessee educators say No Child Left Behind Act flawed

(Knoxville News Sentinel) For many non-English speaking students, after just one academic year they may not be ready to take the same standardized exams as their peers who are native English speakers. Yet, a state law based on the federal No Child Left Behind Act requires they be tested the same way, and their poor grades are counted against the school district....4/1

National

Employment seen solid in March, jobless rate steady

(Reuters) Employment likely posted a second straight month of solid gains in March, marking a decisive shift in the labor market that should help to underpin the economic recovery....4/1

Can the US really take a supporting role in Libya operation?

(Christian Science Monitor) President Obama has emphasized a supporting role as NATO takes command of the Libya mission. But it remains to be seen just how secondary the US will be in the coming days....3/31

State & Regional

TVA to explain Browns Ferry reactor valve problem

(Knoxville News Sentinel) The failure of a reactor coolant valve at the Tennessee Valley Authority's Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant months ago has raised questions about apparent violations of Nuclear Regulatory Commission requirements....3/31

energy & science policy

Nuclear Industry Pins Hopes on Longtime Foe

(Wall Street Journal) U.S. nuclear-power industry officials have long regarded Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko as an adversary, but following the earthquake and nuclear crisis in Japan they now view him as a potential ally....4/1

FDA panel rejects need for warnings on food coloring

(Washington Post) An expert advisory panel to the Food and Drug Administration said Thursday that there was not enough scientific evidence linking artificial colors with hyperactivity to warrant a warning label or new restrictions on thousands of processed foods colored by chemicals....4/1

science & technology

Ring 'ripples' in Saturn and Jupiter linked to comets

(BBC) Scientists say that strange ripples observed in the ring systems of Saturn and Jupiter were caused by comets. The ripples, which the researchers say resemble the undulations of corrugated metal, were detected in both Saturn's rings and in Jupiter's lesser-known rings....4/1

For Fukushima's Farmers, Growing Uncertainty

(NPR) The nuclear disaster is now also a disaster for Fukushima's farmers. The government has banned the sale of milk, spinach and other leafy vegetables, not just from here but also from the neighboring prefectures....4/1

Quantum mapmakers complete first voyage through spin liquid

(PhysOrg) Scientists from Oxford University have mapped a state of matter called 'quantum spin liquid', whose existence was proposed in the 1970s but which has only been observed recently....4/1

Other Stories

For federal workers, anxiety over a possible shutdown

(Washington Post) While Congress and the White House debate the budget, rank-and-file federal workers have questions....4/1