Wednesday, October 26, 2011
ORNL in the News

First-of-a-kind tension wood study broadens biofuels research

(PhysOrg) Taking a cue from Mother Nature, researchers at the Department of Energy's BioEnergy Science Center have undertaken a first-of-its-kind study of a naturally occurring phenomenon in trees to spur the development of more efficient bioenergy crops....10/25

ORNL deals with budget uncertainties

(Knoxville News Sentinel) Last month, Oak Ridge National Laboratory announced plans to eliminate up to 350 jobs, initially through a voluntary departures program and then — as necessary — involuntary layoffs. Applications for the Voluntary Separation Program will be accepted until Nov. 16...10/26.

Hot cells hotter than expected at ORNL

(Knoxville News Sentinel) Old radioactive facilities that were known to be pretty hot have proved hotter than expected, and that has caused delayed and probably a rise in the cost as well....10/25

DOE

Department of Energy to Invest $60 Million to Develop Innovative Concentrating Solar Power Technologies

(DOE Press Release) As part of the U.S. Department of Energy's SunShot Initiative, Energy Secretary Steven Chu has announced a $60 million investment over 3 years for applied scientific research to advance cutting-edge Concentrating Solar Power technologies....10/25

East Tennessee

Report: Current mercury exposures not health threat

(Knoxville News Sentinel) A newly released public health assessment concludes that current-day exposures to mercury discharged from the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant do not pose a threat to public health....10/26

 

National

Middle class' share of the nation's income is shrinking

(USA Today) In 2010, the top one-fifth of U.S. households collected 50.3% of all the nation's income, up from 49.9% in 2006. The lowest-earning one-fifth of households collected just 3.3% of the nation's income, down from 3.4% in 2006....10/26

As It Turns 10, Patriot Act Remains Controversial

(NPR) In the decade since passage of the Patriot Act, civil liberties groups have raised concerns about whether it goes too far by scooping up too much data and violating people's rights to privacy....10/26

Incoming ECB head gives euro zone pre-summit boost

(Reuters) The incoming head of the European Central Bank threw the euro zone a lifeline hours before a crucial summit on Wednesday by signaling the bank would go on buying troubled states' bonds to combat market turmoil....10/26

energy & science policy

Shark strikes prompt lethal hunt, even as some call for conservation

(Washington Post) Recent events with shark attacks highlight the contradictory relationship humans now have with sharks. We would like to protect them in theory, but it's harder to do it in practice....10/25

China 'won't follow US' on carbon emissions

(BBC) Xie Zhenhua, vice chair of the National Development and Reform Commission, said that to let emissions rise that high would be a "disaster for the world"....10/25

Inside Energy Extra

10/25 A daily report on U.S. energy policy
[ORNL users only]
** Planned bill targets all energy tax aid
** US wind-power capacity increases 79%
** Lawmakers press for China-trade action
** Bill would boost cost-benefit analysis

science & technology

U.N. analysts deploy many tools to project world's population

(Washington Post) Analysts mine a wide range of data to come up with estimates, including their projection that the world population will hit 7 billion on October 31....10/24

Tasmanian Devils Might Survive Cancer Scourge

(Wired) After years of unrelentingly dire news, biologists have found a possible hope for Tasmanian devils, which are threatened with extinction by a contagious, highly virulent form of cancer. A small group in Tasmania's northwestern tip appears to have survived the scourge largely intact....10/25

OTHER STORIES

Panel debates on nuclear issues

(UT Daily Beacon) Members of the University of Tennessee faculty, students and informed citizens spoke on a panel Monday evening in the Toyota Auditorium of the Baker Center for Public Policy on the interconnectedness of faith and nuclear energy proliferation, weaponized or otherwise....10/26