Tuesday, September 14, 2010
ORNL in the News

Miniature nuclear reactors might be a safe, efficient source of power

(Washington Post) ...When nuclear scientists talk about the size of a reactor, they're talking about maximum electrical output, not square footage. The world's largest reactors generate 1,455 megawatts of electricity, enough to power about 1.5 million households. A program being run by the Department of Energy is focusing on models that would produce about 300 megawatts, enough for Knoxville, Tenn., according to Dan Ingersoll of Oak Ridge National Laboratory. They may go even smaller, producing 50-megawatt reactors that could power small towns or even individual work sites, such as mines, that may be located far from the main energy grid...9/14 [Requires registration]

High-intensity neutron source keeps cool with PEEK jacket

(Machine Design) A single-piece machined PEEK cooling jacket replaces a two-part polycarbonate component in a high-energy neutron-beam source. A high-energy plasma neutron-beam source developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tenn., traded in its two-part cooling jacket for a single-part alternative designed at Ensinger Inc., Washington, Pa...9/23

'User Week' at ORNL

(Knoxville News Sentinel) Oak Ridge National Laboratory is staging a five-day workshop this week for potential researchers at its national user facilities, with about 200 visiting researchers participating in the event..."The purpose is to highlight opportuntities for collaboration with lab researchers in unique facilities such as Center for Nanophase Materials
Sciences, High Flux Isotope Reactor, High Temperature Materials Laboratory, National Center for Computational Sciences, Shared Research Equipment user facility, and Spallation Neutron Source...9/13

Can conservation cut poverty?

(Scientific American) World leaders will gather at the United Nations in New York next week to discuss progress on two goals said to be complementary: saving species and lifting people out of poverty. Conservationists often claim that efforts to preserve biodiversity can also benefit the people who rely on natural resources for food and income...[Will] Turner and his colleagues overlaid LandScan data from the US Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, which uses satellite monitoring of indicators such as roads and land cover to estimate population. Using child malnutrition as a proxy, they estimated the poverty levels of the populations living along rivers shown on the maps...9/14

ORNL, Bavaria agree to exchange program

(Scientific Computing) We soon may be seeing some students and scientists from the German state of Bavaria - which includes Munich - working in a new exchange program at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Bavarian Science Minister Wolfgang Heubisch said ORNL is a natural venue for his state's scientists and science students to expand their research and knowledge...9/13

Scientist shows use of carbon fiber

(The Daily Beacon) The UT Science Forum introduced Cliff Eberle to speak about a 40 year-old technology known as carbon fiber on Friday. Eberle is the technology development manager for the polymer group at ORNL. His speech, “Taking the Weight Off with Carbon Fibers,” introduced the crowd to the complex realm of carbon fibers. Eberle’s presentation explained that carbon fiber is beneficial because it can replace much heavier steel parts in applications like vehicles, wind turbines and oil rigs. The result from reducing the weight is an overall reduction of the energy used to move such items, which consumes the majority of all energy used, as well as the U.S.’s dependence on foreign oil...9/14


Oak Ridge firm wins Y-12 escort contract

(Knoxville News Sentinel) An Oak Ridge firm has won a $2.4 million contract to provide escorts for workers who don’t have security clearance as they venture into secure areas of the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant...9/13

DOE Continues Aggressive Energy Efficiency Enforcement Effort with Nearly 30 New Proposed Penalties

(DOE Press Release) As part of an ongoing commitment to rigorously enforce appliance efficiency requirements, the Department of Energy today announced 27 new proposed penalties against companies selling products in the United States without certifying that they comply with energy efficiency or water conservation standards...9/13

DOE Announces More than $5 Million to Support Wind Energy Development

(DOE Press Release) U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced today that the Department of Energy is awarding more than $5 million to support U.S. wind energy development...9/13

State & Regional

TN universities get $20 million federal grant for solar research

(Tennessean) Around the state, university researchers are trying to figure out how to make solar energy cheap and efficient for users, manipulating atoms to build the power cells of the future, and working to invent a better light bulb...The University of Tennessee teamed up with Oak Ridge National Laboratories to form the Tennessee Solar Institute last year...9/14

Electric cars to be on TN roads months before chargers

(Tennessean) As Nissan dealers take orders from consumers looking to buy the first Nissan Leaf electric cars when they go on sale in December, the big question most have is whether there will be adequate charging facilities ready when the vehicles hit the streets...9/12


U.S. faces aging nuclear arsenal

(Air Force Times) From a long-delayed satellite system and aging missiles to battling brain drain and upgrading infrastructure at the nation’s nuclear research laboratories, the top officer of U.S. Strategic Command said the country faces big challenges in maintaining and upgrading its nuclear arsenal...9/13

Report: More women than men in U.S. earned doctorates last year for first time

(Washington Post) For the first time, more women than men in the United States received doctoral degrees last year, the culmination of decades of change in the status of women at colleges nationwide...9/14 [Registration required]

East Tennessee

Friends of the Smokies adds 20 acres to national park

(Knoxville News Sentinel) Great Smoky Mountains National Park is growing by 20 acres. The Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park was the successful bidder in a public auction of 20 acres of land surrounded on three sides by the park. The not-for-profit organization bought the two 10-acre tracts on Saturday for $775,000...9/13

energy & science policy

Inside Energy Extra

9/13 A daily report on U.S. energy policy
[ORNL users only]
- Blast seen influencing pipe-safety debate
- $75M sought for more OCS regulators
- DOE fines 27 firms for standards lapses
- DOE awards $5.2M for wind research
- Governors call for Senate vote on RES

science & technology

Researchers in Asian Countries Raise Their Scientific Profiles Worldwide

(NY Times) While researchers at universities and institutes in many Western countries fret about budget pressures, scientists in many Asian nations are translating huge investments in research and development into impressive gains in research output...9/12

The Bomb Chroniclers

(NY Times) They risked their lives to capture on film hundreds of blinding flashes, rising fireballs and mushroom clouds. The blast from one detonation hurled a man and his camera into a ditch. When he got up, a second wave knocked him down again.Then there was radiation...9/13

Antenna Made of Carbon Nanotubes Could Make Photovoltaic Cells More Efficient

(Science Daily) Using carbon nanotubes (hollow tubes of carbon atoms), MIT chemical engineers have found a way to concentrate solar energy 100 times more than a regular photovoltaic cell...9/12

Artificial "skin" materials can sense pressure

(Reuters) New artificial "skin" fashioned out of flexible semiconductor materials can sense touch, making it possible to create robots with a grip delicate enough to hold an egg, yet strong enough to grasp the frying pan...9/13

Other Stories

U.S. Schools Attract Smaller Share of International Students

(NY Times) Although the United States is still the favored destination for students who want to study abroad, the share of international students coming to the country has been declining steadily since the year 2000, according to a study released Tuesday by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development...9/12

Mideast leaders meet, Clinton says 'time is ripe'

(AP) Convening a new round of negotiations Tuesday between Israel and the Palestinians, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the "time is ripe" for a Mideast peace deal...9/14

IAEA Can't Confirm All Iran's Nuclear Activity Is Peaceful

(NPR) The UN's nuclear watchdog agency says since Iran won't work with its nuclear inspectors, the agency can't say with certainty that Iran's activities are entirely peaceful...9/13