Monday, February 14, 2011
ORNL in the News

Where will pay-freeze savings be spent?

(Knoxville News Sentinel) ORNL communications chief Billy Stair said no decision has been made regarding where savings from the DOE-mandated pay freeze will be spent. Asked about a report that the money would be shifted to the LDRD (laboratory-directed research and development) fund, Stair said, "DOE has not yet made a decision on how to use any savings that may accrue due to the freeze, so we have received no guidance. Given the budget uncertainties, we are trying to save money wherever we can."..2/11

Administration to Push for Small 'Modular' Reactors

(New York Times) The Obama administration's 2012 budget proposal will include a request for money to help develop small "modular" reactors that would be owned by a utility and would supply electricity to a government lab, people involved in the effort say...A leading candidate to receive electricity from such a project is the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, run by the Energy Department and served by the Tennessee Valley Authority...2/12

Lowering Energy Costs

(New York Times) With energy prices having gone from bad to worse and back to just bad in the last couple of months, homeowners are more determined than ever to find ways to save on heating bills.  The solution, experts say, is simple. “Adding insulation is the first thing a homeowner should do,” said Jeff Christian, of the United States Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tenn...2/11

Supercomputer does something useful, saves truckers fuel

(Dvice) There's a continual race between nations to have the fastest supercomputer, but besides vague long-term things like climate modeling or nuclear warhead stability, it's sometimes hard to see the results of all this computing power. Finally, a supercomputer has done something useful, and figured out how to save truckers fuel. The Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is home to the Cray XT5 Jaguar, a 1.75 petaflop system that was the fastest supercomputer in the world until October of last year. It's normally doing things like figuring out how supernovae work, but it recently took a break to model how air flows around semi trucks...2/11

DOE

ORNL facility may be slashed

(Knoxville News Sentinel) The Holifield Radioactive Ion Beam Facility, a nuclear physics research center at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and a signature part of the ORNL landscape for the past 35 years, could be closed next year, based on advance information on the Obama administration's fiscal year 2012 budget request released Friday...2/12

State & Regional

Tennessee revenue growth likely not enough to avoid deep spending cuts

(The Tennessean) Tennessee's improving economy means the state will begin collecting more money, but official projections released Wednesday indicate that it won't be enough to avoid deep spending cuts...2/10

TN bill would let state create health plan

(Tennessean) While Gov. Bill Haslam calls for more flexibility in how states can spend federal money on health care, state Sen. Mae Beavers is going much further in one part of a growing legislative effort to expand states' rights...2/14

 

National

States Aim Ax at Health Cost of Retirement

(New York Times) Governors and mayors facing large deficits have set their sights on a relatively new target — the soaring expense of health benefits for millions of retired state and local workers...2/13

Budget Forecasts Bigger 2011 Deficit

(Wall Street Journal) President Barack Obama's 2012 budget proposal projects this year's deficit will reach $1.6 trillion, the largest on record, as December's tax-cut deal begins to reduce federal revenues, a senior Democrat said Sunday...2/14

Ariz. governor countersues federal government

(Myway News) Gov. Jan Brewer sued the federal government Thursday for failing to control Arizona's border with Mexico and enforce immigration laws, and for sticking the state with huge costs associated with jailing illegal immigrants who commit crimes...2/10

East Tennessee

TVA: Electricity rate increase in March

(Oak Ridger) Tennessee Valley Authority residential bills will increase on average by up to $3.50 a month in March to pay another fuel cost increase. The utility said in a statement Friday that a planned unit outage at Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant during March will require the use of more expensive fuels to generate electricity during the month...2/11

energy & science policy

Congressional Reaction to Proposed Spending Changes

(AIP) “After meeting with my subcommittee Chairs, we have determined that the CR can and will reach a total of $100 billion in cuts compared to the President’s request immediately -- fully meeting the goal outlined in the Republican ‘Pledge to America’ in one fell swoop. Our intent is to make deep but manageable cuts in nearly every area of government, leaving no stone unturned and allowing no agency or program to be held sacred..."...2/11

Inside Energy Extra

2/11 A daily report on U.S. energy policy
[ORNL users only]

  • Impact minor from any Suez cutoff : EIA
  • House panel plans close look at DOE
  • Nuclear industry expects more loan aid
  • Energy-aid backers decry reported cut
  • Interest in renewables wanes: CEO

science & technology

Private Space Industry Could Pay For Military Communications and Commercialized Mars Missions

(Popular Science) The trend toward commercialized space is reaching into military communications and even a human expedition to Mars. Advocates say such public-private partnerships could bring down mission costs and speed up the process.   First, the Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center signaled that communications satellites could increasingly have extra bandwidth set aside for military use, following a 6-month study by four aerospace firms...2/11

Roses Get Celery Gene to Help Fight Disease

(Science Daily) A rose by any other name would smell … like celery? North Carolina State University research intended to extend the "vase life" of roses inserts a gene from celery inside rose plants to help fight off botrytis, or petal blight, one of the rose's major post-harvest diseases...2/14

Other Stories

How Love Lasts

(Discovery News) Nothing compares to the rush of being newly in love. But even after a decade of marriage or more, some people say their love remains intense. And when these people see pictures of their beloved, found a new study, their brains respond in an area associated with deeply rewarding and motivating feelings -- one of the same areas that lights up in people who are still entangled in the passionate throws of a new relationship...2/10

Citizens Push To Erect A Statue of RoboCop in Detroit

(Popular Science) If the RoboCop saga has any lasting lessons, maybe it’s that politicians shouldn’t mess around with Twitter.   What started out as a joke on the social media site has mushroomed into a nationwide effort to build a statue of RoboCop in the beleaguered city of Detroit. Earlier this week, someone in Massachusetts sent a tweet to Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, suggesting RoboCop would be a great mascot for the city. Philadelphia has a Rocky statue, and RoboCop would "kick Rocky's butt," he pointed out...2/11