Thursday, February 21, 2013
ORNL in the News

US toroidal field conductor fabrication advances

(PhysOrg) As part of its contributions to the ITER project, the United States is producing over 4 miles of cable-in-conduit superconductor; other ITER partners will provide the remainder of the conductor. This conductor will encircle the ITER tokamak in a toroidal pattern, providing immense magnetic fields for confining 150 million degree plasma into a doughnut-like shape. Kevin Chan, a project engineer for the US ITER magnet systems at DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, comments, "cabling is a standard industrial process, but when dealing with the scale of the ITER conductor it becomes a much greater challenge."...2/19

UNL research moving closer to cracking silicon barrier

(UNL News Release) The ability to improve silicon transistors is reaching its fundamental limit, so researchers are searching for new ways to keep making electronic devices faster and more powerful. University of Nebraska-Lincoln physicists and colleagues have taken a major step toward breaking that silicon barrier...Then they asked experimentalist Qi Li at Pennsylvania State University, UNL physicist Alexei Gruverman and colleagues at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tenn., and at universities in China and Korea to put their theories to the test. Those results proved the researchers' predictions correct...2/20

DOE

Shipping nastiest waste to resume in 2014

(Knoxville News Sentinel) It’s been called the nastiest waste in Oak Ridge, and that’s saying something. The stockpile of transuranic waste contains long-lived, hotly radioactive materials, most of which were generated by nuclear reactor operations at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Some of the waste has been in storage for decades...2/20

State & Regional

TVA signs deal to build small modular reactor

(AP) The Tennessee Valley Authority says it has signed an agreement with Babcock & Wilcox to build and test the nation's first small modular nuclear reactor. TVA hopes to build the unit at its Clinch River Site in Oak Ridge and to eventually add three more such reactors there....2/20

National

U.S. Ups Ante for Spying on Firms

(Wall Street Journal) The White House threatened China and other countries with trade and diplomatic action over corporate espionage as it cataloged more than a dozen cases of cyberattacks and commercial thefts at some of the U.S.'s biggest companies...2/21

East Tennessee

UT interested in proton therapy

(Knoxville News Sentinel) The University of Tennessee has expressed interest in becoming a potential research and academic partner in a new proton therapy center currently under construction in Dowell Springs...2/20

Contract awarded to repair Smokies landslide

(AP) A landslide that sent a section of Newfound Gap road down a Smoky Mountains slope will cost nearly $4 million to repair. The highway should be open by summer...2/21

energy & science policy

Mechanics of Sequestration

(AIP) It is a little more than a week until automatic across-the-board reductions will be made to most federal budgets. Earlier this month, Controller of the Office of Management and Budget Danny Werfel spoke about the mechanics of the $85 billion sequestration...2/10

The Environmental Dangers of Not Building Keystone XL

(Popular Mechanics) Opponents of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline worry that if the crude coming down from Canada's oil sands were to spill, it could be an ecological disaster for areas of the Midwest through which the line would run, which are also home to precious groundwater sources...2/19

science & technology

Researchers develop new technique to scale up production of graphene micro-supercapacitors

(PhysOrg) While the demand for ever-smaller electronic devices has spurred the miniaturization of a variety of technologies, one area has lagged behind in this downsizing revolution: energy-storage units, such as batteries and capacitors...2/20

Print Me An Ear: 3-D Printing Tackles Human Cartilage

(NPR) ...Print-out ears may be one step closer to reality, now that scientists are figuring out how to tweak 3-D printers to craft customized ear cartilage out of living cells...2/20

Iceland Looks to Export Power Bubbling From Below

(NY Times) Soon after work began here on a power plant to harness some of the vast reserves of energy stored at the earth’s crust, the ground moved and, along a six-mile-long fissure, began belching red-hot lava...2/20

Other Stories

Iran economy far from collapse as sanctions tighten

(Reuters) Hossein Ahmad, an Iranian who runs a jewelry shop in wealthy Dubai, marvels at the spending power he sees on show during his monthly trips to Tehran, a year after U.S. sanctions largely froze Iran out of the global banking system...2/10

Pentagon issues furlough notice as ‘sequester’ budget cuts loom

(Washington Post) The Defense Department officially notified its 800,000 civilian employees on Wednesday that they are likely to be placed on periods of unpaid leave, as the Obama administration scrambled to deal with congressionally mandated budget cuts set to kick in next week...2/20

It Takes a B.A. to Find a Job as a File Clerk

(NY Times) The college degree is becoming the new high school diploma: the new minimum requirement, albeit an expensive one, for getting even the lowest-level job...2/19