Wednesday, December 8, 2010
ORNL in the News

Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley® Identified as Prime Spot for Data Center

(PR Newswire) The economic development blueprint by the five-county Innovation Valley partnership puts heavy emphasis on the region's high tech future and preparing a workforce that is qualified for new challenges. The partnership leverages the area's principal assets such as Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the University of Tennessee, numerous industrial parks and high-tech businesses....12/7

UT ORNL commitment survived tough economy

(Knoxville News Sentinel) UT-Battelle won the Department of Energy contract and took over management of ORNL in April 2000. Earlier this year, the lab manager received another five-year contract extension from Energy Secretary Steven Chu, who cited the productive relationship between the university and ORNL....12/8

ORNL'S AquaSentinel licensed to East Tennessee startup company

(Water World) A Tennessee startup, SecureWaters Inc., has licensed a water supply monitoring technology developed at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory. AquaSentinel, developed by Elias Greenbaum of ORNL's Chemical Sciences Division, uses naturally occurring algae that act as tiny biosensors. Like microscopic canaries in a coal mine, the algae provide an early warning of water contamination by responding to toxins with variations in their photosynthetic behavior....12/8

DOE

Secretary Chu Joins 7 Other Agencies in Launching Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Export Initiative

(DOE Press Release) U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu today joined seven other U.S. Government agencies in launching the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Export Initiative, a coordinated effort to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency exports....12/7

Kohlhorst says new cost range for UPF is 'much better estimate than what we had before'

(Knoxville News Sentinel) The cost of the Uranium Processing Facility has essentially doubled, based on the new cost range that was released by the White House recently, but it's still not very clear why the cost has gone up so dramatically....12/7

East Tennessee

TN could process foreign nuclear waste, then ship it back

(WBIR-TV) EnergySolutions, which wants to bring 20,000 tons of waste from an old Italian nuclear plant to Oak Ridge, Tenn., has asked the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to allow German radioactive refuse to be shipped here....12/7

National

Tax deal and spending plan face a hectic finish for Congress

(Washington Post) With a massive bipartisan tax-cut package edging closer to final agreement, Congress now will attempt to pass two major items before the end of the year: a $1.1 trillion bill to keep the government running and a nuclear arms treaty....12/8 [Registration Required]

Angry Obama defends tax deal, with harsh words for both left and right

(Christian Science Monitor) At White House, Obama touts the tax deal as protecting Americans. But he refers to Republicans as 'hostage-takers' and suggests criticism of the deal by liberal Democrats is 'sanctimonious.'...12/8

Report Finds Oil-Drilling Inspectors in Disarray

(New York Times) Federal inspectors charged with ensuring the safety of offshore oil drilling are overwhelmed, insufficiently trained and lack official procedures for crucial decisions, investigators found....12/8

Other Stories

Tracing the Spark of Creative Problem-Solving

(New York Times) In a just completed study, researchers at Northwestern University found that people were more likely to solve word puzzles with sudden insight when they were amused, having just seen a short comedy routine....12/7

energy & science policy

7 Technologies Where China Has the U.S. Beat

(Reuters) "When it comes to innovation, Americans don't take a back seat to anyone -- and we certainly won't start now," said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. "From wind power to nuclear reactors to high-speed rail, China and other countries are moving aggressively to capture the lead. Given that challenge, and given the enormous economic opportunities in clean energy, it's time for America to do what we do best: innovate."...12/7

Climate change warning at UN Cancun summit

(BBC) Ministers begin talks at the UN climate summit in Cancun, Mexico, amid warnings that time is running out to curb climate change....12/8

Inside Energy Extra

12/7 A daily report on U.S. energy policy
[ORNL users only]
** Upton picked for House energy chair
** Chu defends BP-spill calculation
** Chu cites need for efficiency data
** Fate of energy tax credits unclear

science & technology

Many species use hibernation to survive the rigors of winter

(Washington Post) If the cold days and long, dark nights of winter fill you with a primal urge to hibernate, rest assured you're not alone. Species in virtually every nook and cranny of the animal kingdom hunker down for the winter, each in its own manner....12/6 [Registration Required]

TB bacteria use the body's stem cells to protect themselves

(PhysOrg) Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacterium causing tuberculosis, is able to produce a persistent presence in its host even if there is a strong immune response, but the mechanism by which it is able to do this is poorly understood. Now, new research by scientists in India has gone some way to solving the mystery....12/8

Scientists see fatal flaws in the NASA study of arsenic-based life

(Slate) "It would be really cool if such a bug existed," said San Diego State University's Forest Rohwer, a microbiologist who looks for new species of bacteria and viruses in coral reefs. But, he added, "none of the arguments are very convincing on their own."...12/7

Volt, Leaf Named Among 10 Best Drivetrains

(Wired) The awards keep rolling in for the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf, both of which Ward's AutoWorld magazine has named among the 10 Best Engines for 2011. Never mind that the Leaf has a motor, not an engine....12/7

X Particle Explains Dark Matter and Antimatter at the Same Time

(Wired) "We know you have to have these two ingredients to the universe, both atoms and dark matter," said physicist Kris Sigurdson of the University of British Columbia, coauthor of a paper describing the new particle. "Since you know you need those ingredients anyway, it seems like a natural thing to try to explain them from the same mechanism."...12/8