Tuesday, June 28, 2011
ORNL in the News

Self-cleaning anodes could facilitate cost-effective coal-powered fuel cells

(Utility Products) Using barium oxide nanoparticles, researchers have developed a self-cleaning technique that could allow solid oxide fuel cells to be powered directly by coal gas at operating temperatures as low as 750 degrees Celsius. The work involved researchers from Brookhaven National Laboratory, the New Jersey Institute of Technology and Oak Ridge National Laboratory....6/28

ORNL's historic Graphite Reactor gets a facelift

(Knoxville News Sentinel) The Graphite Reactor, the world's first continuously operated nuclear reactor and a National Historic Landmark, is looking better than ever -- or at least better than recently....6/24


New Mexico blaze threatening nuclear lab, sparking fires

(USA Today) Firefighters worked through the night hoping to put out spot fires erupting ahead of a wildfire in the mountains above the northern New Mexico town that is home to a government nuclear laboratory....6/28

East Tennessee

Still lobbying to save Alexander Inn in Oak Ridge

(Oak Ridger) Local historic preservationists aren't ready to abandon their dream of "saving" the Alexander Inn, even if one high-profile attempt to purchase the property has been abandoned...6/27.

Other Stories

$1 Billion That Nobody Wants

(NPR) Unused one-dollar coins have been quietly piling up in Federal Reserve vaults in breathtaking numbers, thanks to a government program that has required their production since 2007....6/28



Obama enters debt talks

(Washington Post) President Obama formally entered debt talks Monday with a pair of Oval Office meetings with Senate leaders, hoping that face-to-face talks could set the stage for detailed negotiations seeking more than $2 trillion in federal savings in exchange for continued Treasury borrowing to finance government operations....6/28

Missouri River soaks Nebraska nuclear plant, but it's no Fukushima

(Christian Science Monitor) Much of the grounds at Fort Calhoun nuclear plant in Nebraska are under two feet of water from the rising Missouri River. But the plant's critical systems sit six feet above the flood's expected crest....6/27

State & Regional

Haslam raises doubts on future of Tennessee Regulatory Agency

(Tennessean) Gov. Bill Haslam says the functions of the Tennessee Regulatory Agency might better be performed by the state's executive branch....6/28

energy & science policy

AP IMPACT: NRC and industry rewrite nuke history

(Associated Press) When commercial nuclear power was getting its start in the 1960s and 1970s, industry and regulators stated unequivocally that reactors were designed only to operate for 40 years. Now they tell another story — insisting that the units were built with no inherent life span, and can run for up to a century....6/28

No Go: House Appropriators Reject FY 2012 DOE Funding Request for Pu-238 Production

(AIP Bulletin) For the third year in a row, appropriators have rejected an Administration request for Department of Energy funding to restart the production of Pu-238. With this action, the future of NASA's deep space probes program remains highly uncertain....6/27

Inside Energy Extra

6/27 A daily report on U.S. energy policy
[ORNL users only]
** Wildfire threatens Los Alamos nuclear lab
** Markey presses EIA, SEC on shale gas
** Mining industry wants renewables rule nixed
** Senate panel unveils OCS 'compromise'

science & technology

'Tau day' marked by opponents of maths constant pi

(BBC) Tau proponents say that for many problems in maths, tau makes more sense and makes calculations easier....6/28

Tiny ring laser accurately detects and counts nanoparticles

(PhysOrg) A microlaser no bigger than a pinprick can accurately detect and count individual viruses, the particles that jumpstart cloud formation or those that contaminate the air we breathe....6/28

Neutrino Transformation Could Help Explain Mystery of Matter

(Wired) Two research teams have found new evidence of transformations in elusive elementary particles called neutrinos. The findings may finally help explain why the universe didn't vanish shortly after its birth....6/28

Kurzweil: A Future of Humans Merged With Machines

(Wall Street Journal) [Video] Futurist Ray Kurzweil talks about what he envisions for the year 2029 and beyond, why he thinks humans will one day live forever, and even what post-"singularity" sex will be like....6/28