Friday, November 18, 2011
ORNL in the News

Thorium: World's greatest energy breakthrough?

(CNN) Research into the alternative idea of using thorium in molten-salt reactors died when Alvin Weinberg left Oak Ridge National Lab in the 1970s, as the American nuclear industry plowed ahead with its development of the light water reactors and the uranium fuel cycle....11/17

Prairie Soil May Provide Answers to Countering Climate Change

(EP Magazine) A $2.5 million grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy to Kansas State University, Oregon State University, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, allows researchers to investigate how the soil microbial community responds to changes in rainfall patterns and if that response will affect how carbon is stored and cycled in the soil....11/17

Racing to Be the First to Create the World's Heaviest Element

(Science Daily) Super-heavy elements are those with an atomic number above 104. Several years ago, scientists managed to create element 118. The race to create element 119 started two weeks ago when the nuclear physics facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory produced 20 mg of the extremely radioactive substance, Berkelium....11/17

Imagine your computer working 18,000 times faster. This guy doesn't have to

(WVLT-TV) "We''re working on nuclear energy," Buddy Bland of ORNL Leadership Computing Facility. "About 20% of the electrical power in this country comes from nuclear energy and those nuclear plants are starting to age a little bit. And so, we're working on trying to develop a new set of modeling and simulation tools."...11/17


Chu presents strong defense of Solyndra loan guarantee

(Washington Post) Energy Secretary Steven Chu, testifying Thursday before a House subcommittee, vigorously defended his department's loan guarantee and grant programs against charges of poor judgment and political favoritism, rejecting Republican assertions that loans to the Solyndra solar energy company were influenced by politics....11/17

K-25 preservation perspectives; lots of opinions on Oak Ridge mitigation plans

(Knoxville News Sentinel) There were almost as many opinions as there were people attending a meeting to gather input on the Department of Energy's "preferred mitigation plan" to make up for the loss of the historic K-25 uranium-enrichment plant....11/17


Obama sends Clinton to Myanmar

(USA Today) President Obama announced today that he is sending Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to Myanmar, the first formal U.S. contact with that military dictatorship in more than half a century....11/18

State & Regional

Tennessee ranks 3rd in antibiotic use

(Tennessean) Too many people in Tennessee are asking for antibiotics and too many doctors are prescribing them — a practice that renders once-powerful drugs ineffective against infections....11/18

TVA facing 'cash pressures,' not increasing executive pay

(Knoxville News Sentinel) TVA's board voted Thursday to freeze executive pay for a second straight fiscal year, including President and CEO Tom Kilgore's base salary and incentives in an annual compensation package that will again exceed $3.5 million....11/17

energy & science policy

House Passes FY 2012 NASA/NIST/NSF Funding Bill; Department of Energy Funding Bill Stalled

(AIP Bulletin) House of Representatives passed by a vote of 298-121 the FY 2012 appropriations bill providing funding for NASA, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the National Science Foundation....11/17

science & technology

Neutrino experiment repeat at CERN finds same result

(BBC) The team behind the finding in September that neutrinos may travel faster than light has carried out an improved version of their experiment - and found the same result....11/18

From Edison's Trunk, Direct Current Gets Another Look

(New York Times) Thomas Edison's direct current technology is gaining popularity as engineers are finding that it can carry electricity over long distances with less loss of power than alternating current....11/17

Bird Flu Research Rattles Bioterrorism Field

(NPR) At a recent conference, a Dutch scientist said he'd made bird flu virus highly contagious between ferrets — the animal model used to study human flu infection. Just five mutations did the trick. Security experts fear publishing the work could spur development of new weapons....11/17

The Anti-Mouse: Could a hairless African rodent be our secret weapon in the war on cancer?

(Slate) A mouse's life is short and terrible—even in the lab, with plenty of food and a steady thermostat, it lasts for just three or four years at the most. A naked mole rat shows no sign of aging until it's a quarter of a century old. Blind and plump, it skitters around in a hazmat suit of its own creation....11/16

Astronomers Make High-Resolution Topographical Map of Moon

(Wired) Astronomers at Arizona State University have used NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) to build this jaw-dropping map of the Moon. It's the highest-resolution, near-global topographic image of our lunar neighbor yet....11/17