Monday, August 29, 2011
ORNL in the News

29 layoffs at ORNL; budget shortfall cited

(Knoxville News Sentinel) Oak Ridge National Laboratory Thom Mason today confirmed that layoffs are taking place this week at ORNL, with a total of 29 jobs being cut. Mason said the reductions are the result of funding shortage in multiple program areas, not just one place, and affect jobs of all types, including scientific staff, administrative personnel, and technicians...8/26

ORNL, Dow push forward lithium ion batteries

(Knoxville News Sentinel) Oak Ridge National Laboratory has announced a partnership with Dow Kokam to bolster the advancement and commercialization of lithium ion batteries. Under a newly signed $5.5 million agreement, the national lab will work with the Michigan-based company to move research developments more quickly to the marketplace...8/28

Supercomputing's shaking up research

(Knoxville News Sentinel) There's a lot of gee-whiz stuff written about the power of today's top supercomputers. Folks like me frequently marvel at the capabilities of these machines, such as Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Jaguar, which can perform more than 2,000 trillion calculations per second...8/24

A novel microscopy method

(ChemInfo) A novel microscopy method at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory is helping scientists probe the reactions that limit widespread deployment of fuel cell technologies..."If we can find a way to understand the operation of the fuel cell on the basic elementary level and determine what will make it work in the most optimum fashion, it would create an entirely new window of opportunity for the development of better materials and devices," said co-author Amit Kumar, a research scientist at ORNL's Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences...8/28

DOE

Y-12 may not meet uranium requirements by 2019

(Knoxville News Sentinel) A new report raises questions of whether a 60-year-old uranium processing operation at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant will be able to fulfill its mission requirements for another decade, when a proposed multibillion-dollar replacement facility is scheduled to come online...8/26

Department of Energy Announces $41 Million Investment for Carbon Capture Development

(DOE Press Release) The U.S. Department of Energy announced today the selection of 16 projects aimed at developing advanced post-combustion technologies for capturing carbon dioxide from coal–fired power plants...8/25

Beams to Order from Table-Top Accelerators

(Science Daily) Laser plasma accelerators offer the potential to create powerful electron beams within a fraction of the space required by conventional accelerators -- and at a fraction of the cost...8/22

National

Irene Leaves Trail of Damage Far Inland

(Wall Street Journal) Hurricane Irene menaced the Eastern seaboard, pounding tens of millions of Americans with wind, rain and floods—but largely sparing New York after an unprecedented shutdown of the largest U.S. city ahead of the massive storm...8/29

East Tennessee

Plans for $200M solar plant in Clinton are abandoned

(Knoxville News Sentinel) Plans by Confluence Solar Inc. to build a $200 million plant in Clinton to produce silicon ingots for solar cells have been abandoned, an official confirmed this morning...8/25

State & Regional

Haslam says workforce training has long way to go

(Times Free Press) Saying he has talked with more than 1,000 business chiefs in his first eight months in office, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam told Chattanooga leaders Wednesday the state's workforce is too shallow in engineering and technical skills...8/25

Some worry as solar grants fade

(Tennessean) The Volunteer State Solar Initiative was intended to provide seed funding to encourage the implementation of solar technologies and spur the growth of Tennessee’s solar industry. In less than two years, its impact is evident across the state...8/25

energy & science policy

NRC orders new earthquake checks at nuclear plants

(Chattanooga Times Free Press) The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will provide nuclear plants a seismic analysis software tool later this year and will require each of the nation's 104 reactors to make an updated assessment of their earthquake risks...8/29

Commission Seeks Comments on Nuclear Waste Report

(API) Characterizing the U.S. approach to the handling of nuclear waste as a “deeply flawed program,” the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future has released a draft report recommending fundamental changes in the nation’s management of spent nuclear fuel...8/26

Inside Energy Extra

8/26 A daily report on U.S. energy policy
[ORNL users only]
- Keystone XL draws favorable review
- DOE finalizes refrigerator standards
- New ozone rule may be 2-3 months away
- Markey doubts reactors' quake resistance

science & technology

Cars could run on recycled newspaper, scientists say

(Physorg.com) ...Tulane University scientists have discovered a novel bacterial strain, dubbed "TU-103," that can use paper to produce butanol, a biofuel that can serve as a substitute for gasoline...8/25

86 Percent of Earth's Species Still Unknown?

(NPR) Even after centuries of effort, some 86 percent of Earth's species have yet to be fully described, according to new study that predicts our planet is home to 8.7 million species...8/24

Geologists Sharply Cut Estimate of Shale Gas

(NY Times) Federal geologists published new estimates this week for the amount of natural gas that exists in a giant rock formation known as the Marcellus Shale, which stretches from New York to Virginia...8/24

UK's atomic clock 'is world's most accurate'

(BBC News) An atomic clock at the UK's National Physical Laboratory (NPL) has the best long-term accuracy of any in the world, research has found...8/26

Space station left vulnerable by Russian failure

(Nature News) The loss of a Russian supply capsule yesterday has temporarily left mission planners with no way of relieving the six-person crew aboard the International Space Station...8/25

Other Stories

North Korea tells Russia it may be ready to halt nuke testing. Is it?

(CS Monitor) Analysts view Kim Jong-il's mention of a moratorium on nuclear testing, if six party talks resume, more as a gesture to Russian hosts than as a serious promise...8/25

Do morning people have a professional edge?

(Fortune) Night owls may have a reputation for creativity, but recently published research suggests that early risers are more likely to make headway on their long-term goals...8/25