Tuesday, August 7, 2012
ORNL in the News

Powering Curiosity: Lab Tech Goes to Mars

(Energy.gov) ...Curiosity’s primary mission will be to gather geological and environmental data from the Martian surface to determine whether the planet supports life now or has in the past -- and collect data for a manned mission...a Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator powers Curiosity. The device used in this mission was assembled and tested by researchers at Idaho National Lab with components from Los Alamos National Lab and Oak Ridge National Lab. Sandia National Laboratories performed the nuclear safety assessment...8/6

Lithium-based neutron detector

(R&D Magazine) Neutron detectors can find the presence of illicit radioactive material, monitor dosing in neutron-based cancer therapy, substitute for X-ray imaging, and locate and identify trace elements in environmental samples. Helium-3 is a critical component of such neutron detectors, but is in short supply. Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tenn., along with its industry partner, PartTec Ltd., Bloomington, Ind., has successfully developed and deployed an advanced neutron detector that uses lithium-6 (Li-6) instead of He-3 gas to detect neutrons...8/6

National

Fighter jets intercept two small planes in Obama airspace

(Reuters) Two F-15 fighter jets intercepted two small planes that strayed into President Barack Obama's airspace during a campaign visit to Connecticut on Monday and the planes landed without incident, media reports said...8/16

DOE

Security contractor brings in fresh leadership; other changes under way at Y-12

(Knoxville News Sentinel) WSI, the government's security contractor in Oak Ridge for the past decade, is bringing in a senior executive from a federal project in Washington State to take over the Oak Ridge operations and help address the current security crisis...8/6

Protesters apparently entered Y-12 via Pine Ridge

(Knoxville News Sentinel) Three protesters apparently traversed the partially wooded Pine Ridge on the north side of the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant in order to enter the plant during the dark, early morning hours of July 28 and ultimately reach the high-security zone known as the Protected Area...8/6

East Tennessee

Grants to aid installation of homegrown technology

(Knoxville News Sentinel) Tom Leonard, Sevier County's solid waste director, has long been intrigued with the idea of turning trash into electricity...8/6

State & Regional

Two UT Scientists to Begin Searching for Potential Habitats for Life on Mars

(Tennessee Today) ...Linda Kah and Jeffrey Moersch, associate professors in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, are an integral part of the NASA team working on the rover. The Curiosity rover is looking for clues to whether the Martian surface has ever had an environment capable of evolving or potentially sustaining life...8/3

energy & science policy

Science funding: Duel to the death

(Nature) Physicists, chemists and mathematicians in the United Kingdom are furious about funding reforms that they say threaten blue-skies research...8/1

Agreement to Continue Federal Funding through March 2013 (Seems) Assured

(AIP) Before leaving for the summer recess, House and Senate leaders issued statements indicating their intention to craft legislation to continue the current level of federal funding for the first six months of FY 2013. The new fiscal year starts on October 1...8/6

science & technology

Walmart Erects Its First Megawatt Wind Turbine In California

(Forbes) As Walmart installed solar panels on its 100th California store in San Diego last week, a 265-foot-high wind turbine was rising outside one of the retail giant’s distribution centers in the rural reaches of the Golden State...8/6

Extreme Plasma Theories Put to the Test

(Science Daily) The first controlled studies of extremely hot, dense matter have overthrown the widely accepted 50-year-old model used to explain how ions influence each other's behavior in a dense plasma...8/6

Extreme Heat Waves Becoming The Norm

(Discovery News) An increase in excessively hot summers over the last 30 years is too extreme to be considered a result of chance, pointing a finger at global warming as the underlying cause...8/5

Fresh Target in Hunt for a Migraine Cure

(Wall Street Journal) The hunt is intensifying for new treatments for migraines, the common and debilitating headaches that have confounded scientists for decades...8/7

Other Stories

Alcatraz Solar Isn’t for the Birds, but They Like It

(National Geographic News) It was no easy task getting a thousand or so solar panels past preservationists PO’d at the idea of PV on the iconic Alcatraz penitentiary – and now that the modules are up and operating, there’s the challenge of keeping the bird poop off them...8/3