Tuesday, August 17, 2010
ORNL in the News

Earthquake Simulation Rocks Southern California

(HPCwire) California takes earthquakes very seriously. The state straddles two major tectonic plates and is subject to relatively frequent, often major, potentially devastating quakes...It should come as no surprise, then, that the most advanced simulation of an earthquake ever performed on a supercomputer focuses on California and its San Andreas Fault. A team led by Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC) director Thomas Jordan is using Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Jaguar supercomputer to simulate a magnitude-8 quake shaking a 125,000-square-mile area of Southern California and assess its impact on the region...8/16

Tennessee Solar Institute announces $4.5 million of grants

(Cooler Planet) The Tennessee Solar Institute is providing 65 grants worth a cumulative $4.5 million for solar power projects around Tennessee..."Today's announcement marks an important milestone in the advancement of Tennessee's position as a leader in solar innovation," University of Tennessee executive vice president David Millhorn said. The Tennessee Solar Institute is a collaborative effort between UT and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, under which scientists and researchers collaborate on solar technology development...8/16

Homeland Security Capital Corporation's Subsidiary Safety and Ecology Corporation Defends

(Forbes) Homeland Security Capital Corporation, an international provider of specialized technology-based radiological, nuclear, environmental, disaster relief and security solutions to government and commercial customers, announced that its subsidiary, Safety and Ecology Corporation (SEC), has received a protest on an active project in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The protest, made by the unsuccessful bidder for the project, is disputing SEC's business size under the rules of the Small Business Administration. As previously announced, SEC was awarded the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge Office task order for complex environmental cleanup operations at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory as a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act...8/17

16 wells in place, samples taken, results pending

(Knoxville News Sentinel) Bechtel Jacobs Co., DOE's environmental manager, said contractors safely installed 16 monitoring wells on private properties across the Clinch River from the federal reservation and recently completed the first quarter of groundwater sampling. "No data from the wells is available yet," BJC spokesman Dennis HIll said. The Recovery Act-funded project is supposed to address concerns of possible migration of radioactive wastes from Oak Ridge National Laboratory's burial grounds to the other side of the river, perhaps through seepage in underground rock formations or some other means...8/16

DOE

Y-12's veteran event sets attendance record

(Knoxville News Sentinel) The Y-12 National Security Complex is a nuclear defense facility, historically producing parts for every nuclear weapon in the U.S. arsenal. The Oak Ridge plant has many ties to the military, which makes it a natural place to host the annual East Tennessee Veterans' Business Conference. This year's conference, an all-day event held at Y-12's New Hope Center in early August, was a record-setter...8/16

State & Regional

Plant species may go off endangered list

(USA Today) The Tennessee purple coneflower has been proposed for removal from the nation's endangered species list after a three-decades-long rebound. The success of the Middle Tennessee native, the first plant in the state ever listed as federally endangered, is the result of a cooperative effort spanning those many years, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The agency proposed the change on Thursday...8/16

National

Defense Secretary Gates Plans to Step Down in 2011

(Wall Street Journal) Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said he intends to retire next year, a long-anticipated step that would remove a primary architect of U.S. policy in Iraq and Afghanistan and could cast doubt on recently announced plans to trim Pentagon spending...8/16

East Tennessee

Campus construction greets UT students

(WBIR.com) It's welcome week at the University of Tennessee, with classes starting on Wednesday. While new students are learning their way around campus, they're also learning about some serious changes to the school's landscape...8/16

energy & science policy

Lighting a Fire Under Clean Coal

(National Geographic News) Work is underway on a project at American Electric Power's Mountaineer Plant in New Haven, West Virginia, to clean the carbon out of coal, but advocates say stronger policy is needed to get carbon capture and storage technology off the ground...8/13

Inside Energy Extra

8/16 A daily report on U.S. energy policy
[ORNL users only]
- BOEM to restrict environmental waivers
- More time needed for relief well: Allen
- Gulf well partners seen speaking out
- Obama again touts battery funding
- Pro-climate-bill advocates take to road

science & technology

'Big Solar' Struggles To Find Home In California

(NPR) California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has set an ambitious plan that requires a third of the state's electricity to come from renewable sources by 2020. But a fight over where to build large clean-energy projects is slowing the green revolution...8/17

Reverse-Engineering of Human Brain Likely by 2030, Expert Predicts

(Wired news) Reverse-engineering the human brain so we can simulate it using computers may be just two decades away, says Ray Kurzweil, artificial intelligence expert and author of the best-selling book The Singularity is Near.

Coming Generation of Lasers May Be the Most Powerful Lasers That Will Ever Lase

(Popular Science) The most powerful lasers now being built, such as the forthcoming Extreme Light Infrastructure (ELI) project underway in Europe, may approach the physical ceiling of laser intensity -- they may turn out to be the most powerful lasers that ever can be built...8/11

How Will The Gulf Oil Spill Affect Public Health?

(Popular Mechanics) A new commentary penned by public health researchers outlines the health-related repercussions of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill...8/16

Other Stories

Experts confirm January thru July this year are the warmest on record

(WBIR.com) This has been one of the hottest summers on record, and because there is still more than a month left of it, you might want to revisit some ideas that will allow you to save money in cooling costs. Weather experts say January thru July were the warmest on record...8/17

U.S. Said to Plan Easing Rules for Travel to Cuba

(NY Times) The Obama administration is planning to expand opportunities for Americans to travel to Cuba, the latest step aimed at encouraging more contact between people in both countries, while leaving intact the decades-old embargo against the island’s Communist government, according to Congressional and administration officials...8/16