Thursday, March 24, 2011
ORNL in the News

New U.S. computer to be world's fastest

(UPI) A supercomputer commissioned by the U.S. Department of Energy means the United States will again be home to the fastest computer in the world, researchers say. The computer, dubbed "Titan," is predicted to achieve a computation speed 20,000 trillion calculations (20 petaflops) per second...The Titan, to be built by Cray Computer, will become part of a collection of some of the fastest computers in the world at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory facility in Tennessee..3/23

Neutron analysis yields insight into bacteria for solar energy

(R&D Magazine) Structural studies of some of nature's most efficient light-harvesting systems are lighting the way for new generations of biologically inspired solar cell devices. Researchers from Washington University in St. Louis and the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory used small-angle neutron scattering to analyze the structure of chlorosomes in green photosynthetic bacteria. Chlorosomes are efficient at collecting sunlight for conversion to energy, even in low-light and extreme environments...3/23


Chu touts small module reactors as answer to nuclear hazards

(Forbes) Conventional nuclear reactors may not be safe enough to operate near cities...Chu suggested module reactors should appear with solar and wind power in a new U.S. energy policy designed to win “the race” with China and other nations to develop clean energy sources...3/23


State & Regional

TN colleges prepare for cuts but may get help from Haslam's budget

(Tennessean) The governor's 2011-12 budget proposal cuts the $1 billion higher education budget by 2 percent. That's an additional $20 million out of a system that has seen tens of millions in budget cuts in recent years...3/24


Plants Face New Worries

(Wall Street Journal) Dangerous levels of radiation found some 25 miles from Japan's damaged nuclear facility raise questions about U.S. emergency-response plans that call for evacuating residents only within a 10-mile radius of such a disaster here...3/24

How Safe Is Nuclear-Fuel Storage in the U.S.?

(Time) Submerged in 40-ft.-deep (12 m) tanks of blue, boron-infused water, nearly 50,000 tons of spent nuclear fuel are stored near the 104 nuclear reactors in the U.S. Industry officials say it is perfectly safe to keep there...3/23


energy & science policy

House Questions USGS FY 2012 Budget Priorities

(AIP) In two separate hearings, members of the U.S. House of Representatives questioned whether the Obama Administration’s FY 2012 budget request for the United States Geological Survey properly prioritizes the missions entrusted to USGS...3/23

Inside Energy Extra

3/23 A daily report on U.S. energy policy
[ORNL users only]
- Japan radiation said never a US threat
- Crimp hindered blowout preventer: report
- DOE plans critical-materials update
- FERC may eye new transmission options
- ADA-ES gets rights to NETL sorbents

science & technology

Self-Strengthening Nanocomposite Created

(Science Daily) Researchers at Rice University have created a synthetic material that gets stronger from repeated stress much like the body strengthens bones and muscles after repeated workouts...3/24

Origin of Life: An Old Experiment Yields New Clues

(Time) Jeffrey Bada was comparing notes with his colleague Antonio Lazcano a couple of years ago, when something brought him up short. The two chemists, one from the U.S. and one from Mexico, had met in Texas to give a series of talks on prebiotic chemistry — the substances that gave rise to life on earth — when Lazcano pulled up a slide showing a vial with gunky residue spilling out...3/22

March 23, 1989: Cold Fusion Gets Cold Shoulder

(Wired Science) 1989: Two electrochemists announce they’ve produced energy with a fusion reaction in a bench-top apparatus at room temperature. The world reacts with surprise, skepticism and, ultimately, derision...3/23

Other Stories

Allies Step Up Bombing in Tripoli

(Wall Street Journal) Allied forces pounded several targets in the Libyan capital Tripoli overnight and in the early hours of Thursday in what was the most intense night of bombing since the start of the campaign to cripple Col. Moammar Gadhafi's military capabilities...3/24