Monday, May 9, 2011
ORNL in the News

With New Nukes Unlikely, US To Supercharge Aging Reactor Fleet

(Forbes) The United States can generate the power equivalent of seven new nuclear reactors by upgrading its current fleet, according to the Department of Energy...Scientists launched a “virtual reactor” Tuesday at DOE’s Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors (CASL) in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The software will model the performance of the country’s aging light-water reactors so scientists can determine how to make them burn more fuel more intensely and more efficiently—and for a longer lifetime...5/8

Supercomputing and High Performance See Growing GPU Adoption

(Forbes) GPUs are moving from video games into high performance computing in a big way since Nvidia began focusing on software and revised its hardware designs to make them easier to use...Now three of the world’s top five supercomputers use Nvidia GPUs, [Sumit Gupta] said and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory has announced it will build a 20 petaflop computer using Nvidia GPUs...5/6

Who’s In? U.S. Solar Industry Bands Together To Cut Costs, Make Panels Better

(GreenTech) The U.S. solar industry is banding together to fend off an onslaught of global competition, and to lower the cost of manufacturing solar technology domestically...The following organizations have joined the PVMC so far:
Research & Development
· College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE)
· SEMATECH
· IBM
· National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
· Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)
· University of Central Florida (UCF)
· Benet Labs

New ORNL Solar Cell Technology Cranks up Efficiency

(InfoTech Spotlight) With the creation of a 3-D nanocone-based solar cell platform, a team led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Jun Xu has boosted the light-to-power conversion efficiency of photovoltaics by nearly 80 percent...5/8 [4/29]

DOE

Fracture on Fracking

(New York Times) Secretary of Energy Steven Chu has appointed a panel of seven scientific and environmental worthies to study the rapidly growing method of natural gas extraction known as hydraulic fracturing and to make recommendations about how it can be done more cleanly and more safely...5/6

State & Regional

Memphians hold out as water rises

(Knoxville News Sentinel) In a Memphis neighborhood that already lost three houses to a slowly swelling river that threatens to consume many more, an unexpected smell carried for blocks: barbecue...5/8

East Tennessee

Environmental groups see politics behind delay of rules on coal ash

(Knoxville News Sentinel) Environmental groups already frustrated over how long it is taking the federal government to develop regulations for toxic coal ash are even more alarmed by what they are now hearing from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency...5/8

National

Pakistan-U.S. Rift Widens

(Wall Street Journal) Pakistani media aired the name of a man they said is the Central Intelligence Agency's station chief, prompting questions about whether the Pakistani government tried to out a CIA operative in the wake of the killing of Osama bin Laden...5/8

Seeking Business, States Loosen Insurance Rules

(New York Times) Vermont, and a handful of other states including Utah, South Carolina, Delaware and Hawaii, are aggressively remaking themselves as destinations of choice for the kind of complex private insurance transactions once done almost exclusively offshore...5/8

Oak Ridge continues to play vital role in Tennessee Valley Corridor success

(Oak Ridger) For decades, Oak Ridge's vast talent, resources and capabilities were a secret to the world, and after the Cold War ended, the future of Oak Ridge seemed uncertain to many...5/8

energy & science policy

Congress Bans Scientific Collaboration with China, Cites High Espionage Risks

(Forbes) A two-sentence clause included in the U.S. spending bill approved by Congress a few weeks ago threatens to reverse more than three decades of constructive U.S. engagement with the People’s Republic of China...5/7

House and Senate Authorizers Skeptical About Implementation of NASA Legislation

(AIP) Hearings before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and the House Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics revealed considerable skepticism about NASA’s realigned human spaceflight program...5/6

Inside Energy Extra

5/6 A daily report on U.S. energy policy
[ORNL users only]

  • Markey seeks closer look at nuclear aid
  • Upton calls DOE fracking study unneeded
  • Burr bill would merge DOE, EPA
  • Oil price drop must reach pump: Holder
  • BOEM seeks senior executive candidates

science & technology

No Nuts for 'Nutcracker Man': Early Human Relative Apparently Chewed Grass Instead

(Science Daily) For decades, a 2.3 million- to 1.2 million-year-old human relative named Paranthropus boisei has been nicknamed Nutcracker Man because of his big, flat molar teeth and thick, powerful jaw...5/3

Other Stories

Japan utility to shut down nuclear power plant

(USA Today) The operator of a coastal nuclear power plant agreed Monday to the Japanese government's request to shutter three reactors there until it builds a seawall and other tsunami protections...5/9

Biggest Great White Shark Caught, Released

(National Geographic) Talk about a big fish—an expedition crew has hauled up—and released—what the team says is the biggest great white shark yet caught. The 17.9-foot-long (5.5-meter-long) male behemoth was found off Mexico's Guadalupe Island (map) in fall 2009. The animal breaks the team's previous record of 16.8 feet (5.1 meters), set when they caught a female great white named Kimel. (Both records are unofficial and not maintained by a formal organization.)...(5/6