U.S. commerce secretary to tour ORNL Manufacturing Demonstration Facility

Penny Pritzker

Penny Pritzker

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker will tour the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Knoxville on Thursday. It’s a trip to tour the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation, part of the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation.

President Barack Obama created the NNMI to strengthen the global competitiveness of America’s manufacturing sector and our workforce. The NNMI currently has six institutes, and three additional institutions under competition, each of which is focused on the development of a different 21st century technology.

The Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation works to develop lower-cost, higher-speed, and more efficient manufacturing and recycling processes for next-generation materials, including advanced polymer composites for vehicles, wind turbines, and compressed gas storage, a press release said. In addition, IACMI’s research, development, and demonstration programs are focused on reducing technical risk and developing a robust supply chain to support a growing advanced composites industry. [Read more…]

Airport could cost $30-$40 million, construction could start in 2018

Oak Ridge Airport Property Transfer Session

Oak Ridge resident and pilot Jerry Depew, center, talks to Billy Stair, a consultant for the Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority, during an information session on Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2015, to discuss a proposed property transfer for a general aviation airport at Heritage Center, the former K-25 site. (Photo by John Huotari/Oak Ridge Today)


Note: This story was updated at 4:36 p.m.

Conditions are subject to change, but current plans call for starting construction on a general aviation airport at Heritage Center, the former K-25 site, in 2018. The current estimate range says the airport could cost between $30 million and $40 million, officials said Wednesday.

Work on an airport master plan is just starting, and it could take 12 months to complete, said Bill Marrison, president of the Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority. He said that plan will provide more details on subjects like cost and schedule.

The Oak Ridge airport would the third for the MKAA, which would own the site. The other two are McGhee Tyson in Blount County and Downtown Island in Knoxville.

Marrison said the Oak Ridge airport would be a reliever airport and help relieve congestion at the other two airports. He said McGhee Tyson is at capacity and there is no hangar space available, and Downtown Island has 100 people on its waiting list. [Read more…]

ORAU recognized as top diversity employer

Black EOE Journal Best of the Best 2015 Winner

Black Equal Opportunity Employment Journal has recognized ORAU as one of its top diversity employers for 2015.

The magazine is a compendium of career and employment opportunity information for African-Americans, other minority groups, and women, a press release said.

As part of the magazine’s “Best of the Best 2015” series, Black EOE Journal annually polls hundreds of companies to assess and disclose the companies who show excellence in diversity in areas such as: government and law enforcement agencies; insurance, finance and banking companies; utilities, energy, gas, and oil companies; STEM employers; and healthcare, pharmaceutical, and biotech companies. [Read more…]


Expanded Safety Fest 2015 set for September

Safety Fest TN


Safer workplaces result in safer communities. Why? Because workers who learn safe practices on the job take them home and into their communities. In Oak Ridge, once a year, an event is held to ensure safer communities by offering free safety classes to anyone who registers.

For the fourth consecutive year, the Oak Ridge Business Safety Partnership, or ORBSP, partnering with numerous businesses and organizations will host Safety Fest TN, a week of safety classes, live demonstrations, a Safety Expo, and a community safety forum—all free of charge. The event is scheduled for September 14-18, with classes at six locations in Oak Ridge and Knoxville.

“This year’s Safety Fest TN is popping at the seams with classes, demonstrations, seminars, a Safety Expo, and a community brunch that celebrates safety,” said Jenny Freeman, chair of the ORBSP planning committee, which is responsible for organizing the event. “We’ve got something for everyone.”

One of the main events is a community safety forum with Joe Estey, a national safety specialist, who brings innovative solutions to potential safety challenges facing some of the country’s highest hazard and complex industries. [Read more…]

Reminder: Property transfer for airport to be discussed during info session today

Oak Ridge Airport Development Plan

The Heritage Center airport development plan is pictured above. The airport site is the area pictured in yellow. The main entrance to Heritage Center off Oak Ridge Turnpike is at bottom left, in the area of the ponds. (Cropped image from DOE Draft Environmental Assessment)


About 170 acres of land at a federal site in west Oak Ridge could be transferred to a nonprofit organization for a new general aviation airport that would feature a 5,000-foot runway and accommodate airplanes and helicopters.

The airport would be built on the south side of Heritage Center, which is also known as East Tennessee Technology Park and the former K-25 site. The runway would be close to and run roughly parallel to Oak Ridge Turnpike/State Route 58.

A draft environmental assessment, or EA, has been prepared for the property transfer. It evaluates the potential impacts of transferring the ETTP land from the U.S. Department of Energy to the nonprofit Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority. DOE and MKAA representatives will be available to discuss the proposed action during a public information session from 5-6:30 p.m. Wednesday, August 19, at the DOE Information Center. The Information Center is on the west end of the building that houses the Office of Scientific and Technical Information in east Oak Ridge.

No formal presentation is planned, and the public may stop by at any time during the session. [Read more…]

More than 200 students participate in ORAU’s graduate student recruitment fair

ORAU Graduate Student Recruitment Fair

ORNL summer research interns present research findings and explore additional academic opportunities with some of the nation’s top research graduate programs. (Submitted photo)


More than 200 student researchers from Oak Ridge National Laboratory recently had the opportunity to both showcase their research and market themselves to 26 universities attending the 16th annual ORAU Graduate Student Recruitment Fair.

Each year, the recruitment fair corresponds with the 2015 Summer Research Participant Poster Session to leverage the students’ excitement over their summer research achievements and to encourage enthusiasm for further expanding their education. Universities invited to the fair are members of ORAU’s consortium of 115 Ph.D.-granting universities from across the United States, the United Kingdom, and Puerto Rico.

With representatives of 26 universities from across the U.S. available in one room, the fair allowed students to explore possible future educational opportunities, as well as compare and contrast graduate programs. [Read more…]

Friends of ORNL meeting will feature discussion of data-driven health innovation

The Tuesday lunch meeting of Friends of ORNL will feature Gina Tourassi, director of Biomedical Sciences and Engineering Center at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. She will discuss data-driven health innovations at ORNL.

The August 11 meeting starts with lunch at 11:30 a.m., and the presentation begins at 12 p.m. It’s in the University of Tennessee Resource Center, the white-colored building at 1201 Oak Ridge Turnpike between Taco Bell and Applebee’s at the intersection of the Turnpike and Rutgers Avenue. Use the canopy entrance at the southwest (back) corner of the building.

This meeting is open to the public. [Read more…]

Three years after break-in, protesters return to Y-12

Michael Walli, Megan Rice, and Greg Boertje-Obed at Y-12

The three protesters who broke into the Y-12 National Security Complex and vandalized a uranium storage building three years ago returned to the nuclear weapons plant during a march in Oak Ridge on Saturday. The three protesters—from left, they are Michael Walli, Megan Rice, and Greg Boertje-Obed—object to nuclear weapons and the planned Uranium Processing Facility. Here they are pictured on Scarboro Road across from Y-12. (Photo by John Huotari/Oak Ridge Today)


Note: This story was last updated at 8:30 a.m. August 9.

The three protesters who broke into the Y-12 National Security Complex and vandalized a uranium storage building three years ago returned to the nuclear weapons plant during a march in Oak Ridge on Saturday.

The march and rally were organized by the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance as part of a series of events that commemorate the 70th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, near the end of World War II. Uranium for the first bomb, the Little Boy atomic bomb that was dropped over Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, was enriched at Y-12.

The three protesters—Greg Boertje-Obed, Megan Rice, and Michael Walli—were convicted on two felony charges on May 8, 2013, in U.S. District Court in Knoxville. But their conviction on the more serious felony sabotage charge was overturned two years later, on May 8, 2015, by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati. Boertje-Obed, Rice, and Walli were released on May 16 and have a re-sentencing hearing on September 15 in Knoxville. [Read more…]

Three Y-12 protesters will discuss Oak Ridge action in first public reunion since prison

Y-12 Plowshares Protesters

Pictured above are the three anti-nuclear weapons protesters who broke into the Y-12 National Security Complex on July 28, 2012, and vandalized a uranium storage building. From left, they are Michael Walli, Megan Rice, and Greg Boertje-Obed. (File photo by John Huotari/Oak Ridge Today)


The three protesters who broke into the Y-12 National Security Complex three years ago and vandalized the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility will discuss their Oak Ridge action in their first public reunion since they were released from prison in May.

Greg Boertje-Obed, Megan Rice, and Michael Walli will speak at the Church of the Savior (UCC) in Knoxville at 7 p.m. today (Friday, August 7).

Their sabotage conviction from the July 28, 2012, incident was overturned earlier this year. Since their release from prison in May, the three protesters, who are described as nonviolent peace activists, have appeared on national and international news programs, organizers said. [Read more…]

Students, teachers explore next generation of learning after ORAU Extreme Classroom Makeover

ORAU Extreme Classroom Makeover at Brown Intermediate School

Charlie Arp’s students at Brown Intermediate School in Sweetwater experiment with stop motion videography on iPads. (Photo courtesy ORAU)


SWEETWATER—Students, parents, and teachers were given a glimpse of the next generation in classrooms during the Wednesday, August 5, reveal of Charlie Arp’s recently outfitted classroom full of state-of the-art technology. Arp, a teacher at Brown Intermediate School in Sweetwater, Tennessee, was the winner of this year’s $25,000 grant from ORAU’s Extreme Classroom Makeover competition.

The math and science teacher spent the summer selecting and installing his new technology, taking continuing education courses at ORAU’s Center for Science Education, and preparing for his new class of rising students. His arsenal of learning technology, and knowledge of how to use these tools, was on showcase during the reveal.

In its seventh year, ORAU’s grant program highlights and supports educators who use technology in the classroom to inspire more students to pursue math and science-based careers.

“We realize at ORAU the importance of maintaining students’ interest in and cultivating a passion for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects,” said ORAU President Andy Page. “By empowering teachers like Charlie Arp, the Extreme Classroom Makeover helps to demonstrate the countless number of possibilities technology can bring to both educators and students.” [Read more…]

ORNL climate researcher to receive award from Geophysical Union

Ben Preston

Ben Preston

Climate researcher Benjamin Preston of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory has been named to receive the American Geophysical Union’s 2015 Charles S. Falkenberg Award.

The Falkenberg Award is presented once a year “in recognition of an early- to middle-career scientist who has contributed to the quality of life, economic opportunities, and stewardship of the planet through the use of Earth science information and to the public awareness of the importance of understanding our planet,” a press release said.

Preston is a senior research scientist in ORNL’s Environmental Sciences Division and deputy director of the Climate Change Science Institute, where he conducts research on the societal impacts of climate change and the role of adaptation in reducing climate risk. [Read more…]

Synergy Solutions receives $3.7 million contract at DOE’s Oak Ridge Office of EM

Sue Cange at DOE Oak Ridge Environmental Management

Sue Cange, manager of the DOE Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management, is pictured above after a community meeting in May on budget priorities. (DOE photo/Lynn Freeny)

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management recently awarded a $3.7 million contract to Synergy Solutions Inc. for administrative support services.

Synergy Solutions is an 8(a) and small woman-owned business headquartered in Oak Ridge, a press release said.

The contract employs 11 staff members that provide administrative support services to the Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management. It has a one-year base period with four one-year options.

“We are very pleased to begin our partnership with Synergy Solutions,” said Sue Cange, manager of the Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management. “Small businesses are an important element that helps us achieve our mission, and we are excited about the capabilities this local business offers our program.”

Tasks performed under the contract include general office administration, technical editing and writing, graphics and design support, and records management.

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