Friday, December 27, 2013
ORNL in the News

ORNL’s plutonium-for-space project on pace

(Knoxville News Sentinel) A $20 million pilot project to demonstrate Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s ability to produce plutonium-238 for the U.S. space program reportedly got off to a good start in 2013 and is currently on schedule...Tim Powers, a division director at ORNL, said the team is continuing to work on design of targets that are inserted into the core of the lab’s High Flux Isotope Reactor, where the plutonium-238 is generated...12/25

Studies would lead to lighter, cheaper magnets

(PhysOrg)...In September 2013, a team from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and the National Institute of Standards and Technology conducted neutron scattering research at Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Spallation Neutron Source Spallation Neutrons and Pressure Diffractometer to examine the magnetic properties of a rare-earth-based permanent magnet containing the elements lanthanum and cobalt, known as LaCo5...12/23

DOE

Lessening X-ray Damage is Healthy for Protein Discovery Data Too

(Lab Manager) New recommendations for using X-rays promise to speed investigations aimed at understanding the structure and function of biologically important proteins – information critical to the development of new drugs. Scientists from two U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories, Argonne and Brookhaven, and the University of Washington, Seattle, evaluated options to remedy problems affecting data collection in their new study...12/27

State & Regional

TVA expected to offer incentives to cut staff, expenses in 2014

(Times Free-Press) ...The Tennessee Valley Authority, which employs nearly a third of its 12,612 employees in the Chattanooga area, is expected to announce in January the next steps the agency will take to help trim $500 million in operating and maintenance expenses from its annual budget...12/27

National

Obama signs defense law, calls it a ‘welcome step’ toward closing Guantanamo Bay prison

(CS Monitor) ...Marking a rare step toward achieving his goal of closing the controversial detention facility, Obama released a statement crediting Congress for relaxing regulations that he said had significantly hindered efforts to transfer detainees who had been cleared to leave....12/26

President Obama Signs Budget, Defense Bills

(NPR) President Obama on Thursday signed the bipartisan budget bill agreed upon earlier this month, setting the stage for an easing of mandatory spending cuts over the next two years...The president also signed the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2014...12/26

East Tennessee

TVA to recoup $150M for coal ash spill cleanup

(AP) The Tennessee Valley Authority says it will receive another $150 million from an insurance company to help pay for the ongoing cleanup of the 2008 coal ash spill in Kingston...12/26

energy & science policy

Europe waters down transnational 'research buddy' plan

(Nature) Europe’s latest research-funding programme includes, for the first time, money for ‘low-performing’ member states to set up research centres in their regions, in partnership with well-established institutions from other countries...12/27

science & technology

Green Technology Depends on Metals with Weird Names

(Scientific American) There's one problem with the silicon age: its magic depends on elements that are far scarcer than beach sand. Some aren't merely in limited supply: many people have never even heard of them. And yet those elements have become essential to the green economy...12/26

Fracking for Natural Gas May Help Us Save Water

(Time) Hydraulic fracturing for natural gas is a water-intensive process—as critics love to point out. But by enabling the switch from thirsty coal to more efficient natural gas, fracking could be good for water scarcity...12/23

Where Alzheimer's Starts and How It Spreads

(Science Daily) Using high-resolution functional MRI imaging in patients with Alzheimer's disease and in mouse models of the disease, Columbia University Medical Center researchers have clarified three fundamental issues about Alzheimer's: where it starts, why it starts there, and how it spreads...12/22

Other Stories

The Navy’s Amazing Ocean-Powered Underwater Drone

(Time) ...The Navy’s goal is to send an underwater drone, which it calls a “glider,” on a roller-coaster-like path for up to five years. A fleet of them could swarm an enemy coastline, helping the Navy hunt down minefields and target enemy submarines...12/22

The Metro Areas With The Most Economic Momentum Going Into 2014

(Forbes) America’s economy may be picking up steam, but it remains a story of parts, with the various regions of the country performing in often radically divergent ways...12/26