Monday, April 11, 2011
ORNL in the News

With supercomputer, ORNL aids climate study

(Knoxville News Sentinel) Gaea, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration supercomputer that's dedicated to climate research, is due for an upgrade, and that'll come this year...4/10

Bacterial genome may hold answers to mercury mystery

(Bio-Medicine) A newly sequenced bacterial genome from a team led by the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory could contain clues as to how microorganisms produce a highly toxic form of mercury..."What is not known are the genes or the proteins that allow these bacteria to mediate the transformation," said ORNL's Steven Brown, who led a research team to sequence the genome of a bacterium in the Desulfovibrio genus that is capable of methylating mercury...4/8

Chu: New Industries, Like Green, Need Government Support

(Greentech Solar) Industrial subsidies are as American as apple pie.  Energy Secretary Steven Chu, fresh from the budget standoff in Washington D.C., outlined how the U.S. government historically has used its heft to jumpstart new industries by sponsoring research or assuming underlying infrastructure costs at the Berkeley-Stanford Cleantech Conference in San Francisco...--At Oak Ridge National Labs, researchers have found by putting an airfoil on the undercarriage of 18-wheelers can increase diesel mileage by 3 to 4 percent. Aerodynamics, capacitors, regenerative braking and other technologies--which will make it from the lab to the private sector--can potentially increase big rig mileage by 7 to 12 percent.

Hydropower Buzz Gains Momentum With Senate Bills, Administration Investments

(New York Times) An often-overlooked renewable energy source is gaining momentum as lawmakers on Capitol Hill struggle to find consensus in an increasingly partisan environment and the Obama administration is looking to decrease reliance on foreign oil...A new Oak Ridge National Laboratory study released yesterday found that by adding power-generation equipment to existing dams, the United States could generate more than 12 gigawatts of electricity...4/6

ORNL's budding relationship with NVIDIA

(Knoxville News Sentinel) NVIDIA is playing a huge role in Titan, the 20-petaflops hybrid supercomputer that's under development with Cray and scheduled for delivery to Oak Ridge National Laboratory next year. The first 10 cabinets are actually expected before year's end and will be used as a testbed...4/9

Webcast: Student Cluster Competition 2011

(The Register) In this HPC Channel webcast, we spend some time talking to Doug Fuller, an Oak Ridge National Lab Computational Scientist. He’s chairing the SC11 Student Cluster Competition, which will take place in Seattle later this year (Video at the link)...4/8

DOE

UT teams up with Y-12 to form new partnership

(WBIR) A new partnership is underway between two major East Tennessee institutions. The University of Tennessee-Knoxville and Y-12 National Security Complex have worked together in several ways for years, but the two institutions recently made their partnership official...4/8

DOE's Office of Science funding likely to fall

(Oak Ridger) No matter how the federal budget stalemate is resolved, the U.S. Department of Energy office that oversees Oak Ridge National Laboratory is not likely to get as much money as it has recently, an official said...4/8

State & Regional

Storage of used nuclear fuel rods at TVA plants, elsewhere stir concern

(Tennessean) Tons of radioactive waste are piling up at the Tennessee Valley Authority's nuclear power plants and others around the country in water-filled pools that in many cases were not intended to hold so much...4/11

National

Obama’s new approach to deficit reduction to include spending on entitlements

(Washington Post) President Obama this week will lay out a new approach to reducing the nation’s soaring debt, proposing reductions in spending on entitlements such as Medicare and Medicaid and renewing his call for tax increases on the rich...4/10

Vote count 'human error' shadows Wisconsin Supreme Court election

(Christian Science Monitor) Questions are being raised in Wisconsin regarding the party ties of a local county clerk whose discovery of about 14,000 unrecorded votes is assuring a victory for the Republican incumbent in last week’s election for state Supreme Court. A federal investigation into the matter was requested late Friday night...4/9

East Tennessee

Government shutdown would put 3,000 out of work in ET; Smokies would close

(Knoxville News Sentinel) Nearly 3,000 federal workers in East Tennessee and thousands of others across the state would be out of a job if the federal government shuts down...Department of Energy spokesman John Shewairy said the agency has a limited amount of “no year funding” - with no time limit on it - that can be used to continue operations at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and other facilities for the short term, even if there's a government shutdown...4/8

energy & science policy

Secretary Chu Announces Progress on International Initiatives to Promote Clean Energy

(DOE Press Release) U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu this week joined with energy ministers and high-level representatives from more than 20 governments to announce renewed support for 11 international clean energy initiatives at the second Clean Energy Ministerial in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates...4/8

DOE Announces Nearly $170 Million in Available Funding to Advance Solar Energy Technologies

(DOE Press Release) As part of the Department of Energy's SunShot Initiative, Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced today nearly $170 million in available funding over three years to support a range of solar photovoltaic (PV) technology areas...4/8

House Appropriators Blast DOE and NRC over Yucca Mountain

(AIP) The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development held a hearing on March 31 to examine the FY 2012 budget requests for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Nuclear Energy...4/8

Inside Energy Extra

4/08 A daily report on U.S. energy policy
[ORNL users only]

  • House votes bill to annul EPA authority
  • With shutdown, OCS actions would go on
  • Biofuels bill received coolly in Senate
  • US wind energy capacity rises 15%
  • US issues ninth gulf permit to Murphy

science & technology

Scientists seek nuclear power without radioactive waste

(LaCrosse Tribune) As the world watched a nuclear disaster slowly unfold in Japan, University of Wisconsin-Madison scientists continued working on technology that could someday produce nuclear power without radioactive waste. "It's the holy grail of alternative energy research," said Robert Wilcox, a graduate student working on one of several UW-Madison fusion projects...4/10

Are we living in an age of giant quakes?

(PhysOrg) Searching for patterns in the occurrence of large magnitude earthquakes after a succession of large tremors -- surpassed by the recent magnitude-9.0 quake in Japan -- has researchers wondering if the amount of big quakes is on the rise...4/8 (Download MP3)

Quantum Spin LiquidQuantum Mapmakers Complete First Voyage Through Spin Liquid

(ScienceDaily) Scientists from Oxford University have mapped a state of matter called 'quantum spin liquid', whose existence was proposed in the 1970s but which has only been observed recently...4/8

Other Stories

Population Leaves Heartland Behind

(Wall Street Journal) Americans continued to abandon the nation's heartland over the past decade, moving into metropolitan areas that have grown less white and less segregated, the 2010 Census showed...4/11