Thursday, September 16, 2010
ORNL in the News

Neutrons Helping Researchers Unlock Secrets to Cheaper Ethanol

(Science Daily) New insight into the structure of switchgrass and poplars is fueling discussions that could result in more efficient methods to turn biomass into biofuel...Researchers from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Georgia Tech used small-angle neutron scattering to probe the structural impact of an acid pretreatment of lignocellulose from switchgrass..."My hope is that this paper and subsequent discussions about our observations will lead to a better understanding of the complex mechanisms of lignocellulose breakdown," said co-author Volker Urban of ORNL's Chemical Sciences Division...9/15

Beierschmitt heads new nuclear directorate at ORNL; other management changes

(Knoxville News Sentinel) Kelly Beierschmitt will hold the newly created position of associate lab director for nuclear science and engineering, as the nuclear programs gain a higher profile within the management structure at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. ORNL Director Thom Mason announced Beierschmitt's promotion, effective Oct. 1, and other organizational changes in a memo to staff...9/15

ORNL Wins Two Awards for Sustainability Program

(Lab Manager) Exemplary efforts to "go green" at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have resulted in a 2010 Federal Energy & Water Management Award and a 2010 Department of Energy Management Award in recognition of the lab's Sustainable Campus Initiative...9/15

Radiometric Dating Proves Reliable

(Laboratory Equipment) Recent puzzling observations of tiny variations in nuclear decay rates have led some to question the science of using decay rates to determine the relative ages of rocks and organic materials. Scientists from the NIST, working with researchers from Purdue Univ., the Univ. of Tennessee, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Wabash College, tested the hypothesis that solar radiation might affect the rate at which radioactive elements decay and found no detectable effect...9/15



DOE Awards $5.3 Million to Support the Development of University-Based Technology Commercialization

(DOE Press Release) U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced today the selection of five projects to build and strengthen "innovation ecosystems" that will accelerate the movement of cutting-edge energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies from university laboratories into the market...9/15

Department of Energy Announces $57 Million for Small Businesses to Support Technology Commercialization

(DOE Press Release) U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu today announced $57 million, including nearly $11 million under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, to support clean energy technology commercialization projects for 33 small businesses across the country...9/15

Report: Uranium surplus a concern

(Knoxville News Sentinel) The Project On Government Oversight says the government has a huge surplus of bomb-grade uranium - much of it stored at the Y-12 National Security Complex - and called on the Obama administration to back up its strong words on nonproliferation and to "down-blend" the material to eliminate its weapons capability...9/16



U.S. lays out strategy for doubling exports in 5 years

(Reuters) The Obama administration laid out details of a strategy to double U.S. exports over five years on Thursday, recommending ways to boost commerce but steering clear of timetables for advancing stalled free-trade agreements...9/16

East Tennessee

Chattanooga utility unveils nation’s fastest Internet

(Light Reading) Fiber to the home has a new rock star. His name is David Wade, he has a charming Tennessee drawl, and his company is the first in the US to deliver a symmetrical 1 Gbit/s to residential customers...9/14

What’s Killing Our Bees?

(Metro Pulse) UT researchers race to understand colony collapse before worldwide food sources are compromised—and before it explodes in East Tennessee...9/15

State & Regional

Nuclear disarmament treaty Corker endorses could bring investment dollars to Oak Ridge

( Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker once again is center stage on an important issue before Congress, this time as a key player on nuclear disarmament. A proposed new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russia would slash warheads to 1950s levels. Its implementation could bring billions of federal investment dollars to Tennessee...9/16

energy & science policy

Little Progress Expected on Key S&T Appropriations and Authorization Bills

(AIP) Fundamental differences between the political parties about spending and conflicting demands from the electorate dim the outlook for prompt passage of appropriations bills funding the Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, NASA, Department of Defense, National Institute of Standards and Technology, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the National Institutes of Health...9/14

Inside Energy Extra

9/15 A daily report on U.S. energy policy
[ORNL users only]
- NRC: Spent fuel storage OK for 120 years
- DOT proposes tighter pipeline oversight
- Non-producing wells ordered plugged
- DOE awards $57M to small businesses
- EIA launches hurricane-tracking service

science & technology

Undersea Cave Yields One of Oldest Skeletons in Americas

(National Geographic News) Apparently laid to rest more than 10,000 years ago in a fiery ritual, one of the oldest skeletons in the Americas has been retrieved from an undersea cave along Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula, researchers say...9/14

Electron Switch Between Molecules Points Way to New High-Powered Organic Batteries

(Science Daily) The development of new organic batteries -- lightweight energy storage devices that work without the need for toxic heavy metals -- has a brighter future now that chemists have discovered a new way to pass electrons back and forth between two molecules...9/16

Superbug Spreading in U.S., World

(Discovery News) A new superbug from India thought to be resistant to nearly every known antibiotic poses a global threat and has spread so far to three U.S. states. Scientists urged health authorities to track the bacteria...9/14

Other Stories

Two-Inch-Thick Layer of "Missing" Oil Found on Gulf Seafloor

(Popular Science) Researchers on board a ship in the Gulf of Mexico have found a layer of oil at least two inches thick, nestled in the depths a mile below the surface, that they believe came from the blown-out BP well...9/15

Are dying languages worth saving?

(BBC News) Language experts are gathering at a university in the UK to discuss saving the world's endangered languages. But is it worth keeping alive dialects that are sometimes only spoken by a handful of people, asks Tom de Castella?...9/14