Oak Ridge National Laboratory


News Release

Media Contact: Media Relations (news@ornl.gov)
Communications and External Relations


Atlanta company first African-American firm to license ORNL technology

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., May 9, 1995 — An Atlanta company has become the first African-American-owned business to license a technology from a Martin Marietta Energy Systems-managed Department of Energy (DOE) facility in Oak Ridge.

The technology, developed by researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), enables Advanced Systems Technology (AST) to identify uranium and transuranic wastes inside sealed drums faster and more reliably than is possible using other methods. In fact, this new technique significantly reduces the time required to analyze waste. In addition, its cost per drum is one-fourth that of other methods, according to researchers in ORNL's Waste Management and Remedial Action Division.

AST uses the Active/Passive Neutron Examination and Assay (APNEA) system to "look for neutrons," said ORNL researcher David Hensley. With the APNEA system, workers can analyze and find even tiny amounts of uranium without opening sealed drums. This ORNL-developed system allows AST to meet extremely strict regulations governing nuclear waste.

APNEA gives the Georgia-based company increased capabilities in nuclear, environmental and defense services.

Martin Marietta Energy Systems negotiated the license agreement under a waiver of patent rights from DOE. The company claims no interest in funds received under the license. Instead, under a DOE-approved formula, royalties are used to support other technology transfer activities. The licensing agreement with AST is one of 122 such pacts between Martin Marietta Energy Systems and businesses nationwide.

AST, founded in 1981, is certified in the Small Business Administration 8(a) program. The company employs more than 200 engineers, scientists and technicians in its nine offices throughout the U.S.

ORNL, one of DOE's multiprogram national research and development facilities, is managed by Martin Marietta Energy Systems, a Lockheed Martin company, which also manages the Oak Ridge K-25 Site and the Oak Ridge Y-12 Plant.