Friday, June 17, 2011
ORNL in the News

Unlocking the structure of lignin, and feasible pathways to cellulosic conversion

(Biofuels Digest) Recently a team down at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory led by Jeremy Smith combined simulations on ORNL's Jaguar supercomputer, and neutron scattering at the lab's High Flux Isotope Reactor, to resolve lignin's structure at scales ranging from 1 to 1,000 angstroms....6/16

ORNL's Guest House ready for action

(Knoxville News Sentinel) Construction was completed May 31 on the new $9 million mini-hotel near the Spallation Neutron Source....6/16

New solar cell technology cranks up efficiency news

(domain-B) With the creation of a 3-D nanocone-based solar cell platform, a team led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Jun Xu has boosted the light-to-power conversion efficiency of photovoltaics by nearly 80 per cent....6/16

Jack Wells to Head Up Science at NCCS

(HPC Wire) In his new position, Wells will be responsible for an NCCS scientific strategy that ensures cost-effective, state-of-the-art computing to facilitate the scientific missions of the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Computing Research Center....6/16

DOE

DOE Offers Support for Innovative Manufacturing Plant That Will Produce High Quality Solar Silicon at Low Cost

(DOE Press Release) U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu has announced the offer of a conditional commitment for a $275 million loan guarantee to Calisolar Inc. to commercialize its innovative solar silicon manufacturing process....6/16

Oak Ridge contractor offers jobs to 227

(Knoxville News Sentinel) URS/CH2M Oak Ridge (UCOR), the U.S. Department of Energy's new environmental management contractor in Oak Ridge, has offered jobs to 227 Bechtel Jacobs Co. employees as part of the transition of contractors....6/17

East Tennessee

German nuclear waste headed to Tennessee

(Chattanooga Times Free Press) The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved licenses that will allow up to 1,000 tons of Germany's low-level radioactive waste to be brought to Oak Ridge, Tenn., for incineration....6/16

National

As Europeans Wince at Austerity, Markets Fear Turmoil

(New York Times) The instability rocking Greece this week is the latest manifestation of a troubling new phase in the global financial crisis: political turmoil is sweeping through Europe, toppling governments and threatening to undermine efforts to rescue the financial system and, ultimately, the euro zone itself....6/17

State & Regional

TVA, contractor sign letter for pre-fab reactors

(Chattanooga Times Free Press) TVA has signed a letter of intent with a contractor to design, license and build six prefabricated nuclear reactors to be sited at the former Clinch River Breeder Reactor site in Roane County....6/17

UT asks for 12 percent tuition increase

(Knoxville News Sentinel) The University of Tennessee's Knoxville campus is asking the board of trustees for a 12 percent tuition increase in the fall to make up for state funding cuts, create a salary pool for faculty and establish a fund to help make the university a top-25 school....6/17

energy & science policy

NSA allies with Internet carriers to thwart cyber attacks against defense firms

(Washington Post) The National Security Agency is working with Internet service providers to deploy a new generation of tools to scan e-mail and other digital traffic with the goal of thwarting cyberattacks against defense firms by foreign adversaries....6/16

House FY 2012 Defense Appropriations Bill: Science and Technology Programs

(AIP Bulletin) This bill provides a base appropriation of $530 billion in "non-emergency" funding for FY 2012, an increase of $17 billion over the current year, and $9 billion less than the Administration's request....6/16

Senate votes to end ethanol tax breaks: What it means

(Christian Science Monitor) A Senate vote to eliminate $6 billion in tax breaks for ethanol producers is a strong sign that ethanol is losing allies and Congress is increasingly open to getting rid of tax breaks....6/16

science & technology

Powerful cosmic blast as black hole shreds star

(BBC) Astronomers have spied a star's swan song as it is shredded by a black hole. Researchers suspect that the star wandered too close to the black hole and got sucked in by the huge gravitational forces....6/16

Advanced Tornado Technology Could Reduce Deaths

(NPR) Better radar and alternatives to weather balloons are ways technology could help protect people....6/17

Team reports scalable fabrication of self-aligned graphene transistors, circuits

(PhysOrg) Graphene, a one-atom-thick layer of graphitic carbon, has the potential to make consumer electronic devices faster and smaller...6/17

Scientists Develop a Fatty 'Kryptonite' to Defeat Multidrug-Resistant 'Super Bugs'

(Science Daily) A team of Canadian scientists discovered that specific mixtures of antimicrobial agents presented in lipid mixtures can significantly boost the effectiveness of those agents to kill the resistant bacteria....6/17

Other Stories

Nerds! Darpa Wants Your Advice on Interstellar Flight

(Wired) Remember how you read those issues of Silver Surfer from the '60s and reflected long and hard about the possibility of pacifism when all an intergalactic traveler encounters was warlike aliens? The mad scientists at Darpa want you to put those musings to work on its most cosmic project yet....6/17