ORNL staff help students prepare for FIRST LEGO League competition

ORNL First Lego League 2014

Brian Peters, right, a design engineer for nuclear systems with US ITER at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, works with Jessey Yang, left, and Victoria “Tori” Mullins during a FIRST LEGO League practice session at the National Transportation Research Center. (Photo courtesy ORNL/UT-Battelle)


About 30 students ages nine through 14 are gearing up for the 2014-15 FIRST LEGO League competition with weekly training sessions at the National Transportation Research Center in West Knoxville. NTRC is part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and ORNL operating contractor UT-Battelle co-sponsors the LEGO League tournament.

“This year’s theme is ‘World Class Learning Unleashed,’” said Claus Daniel, an ORNL researcher who’s coaching one of three teams meeting at the NTRC. “Part of what the students are doing is defining a question, research, how people learn about the question nowadays and then original ideas to improve the learning process.” [Read more...]


Cadre5 wins Small Business Subcontractor of Year award

SBA Small Business Subcontractor of the Year Award

Pictured above from left are Chris O’Neal (Cadre5), Gina Holman, Steve Hicks, Walter Perry, and Ken Lowery (Cadre5). (Submitted photo)


KNOXVILLE—Cadre5, a software engineering firm specializing in custom software development, was recently presented with the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2014 Small Business Subcontractor of the Year Award for Region 4, which includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Cadre5 was nominated by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where it has worked on more than 20 projects that met or exceeded its cost and schedule performance goals.

Tennessee District Director Walter Perry and Procurement Center Representative Gina Holman of the Area III Office of Government Contracting, on behalf of Carol Thompson, Area III director, presented Cadre5 with the award at the East Tennessee Economic Council board meeting this month.

“Cadre5 is an outstanding example of how this Tennessee small business community can meet national laboratory mission needs and those of private industry,” Thompson said. “It speaks well of their strong performance in government contracting opportunities at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which has enabled growth in their business and creation of jobs in Tennessee.” [Read more...]

The ABCs of giving—Y-12 donates school supplies to ADFAC

Y-12 School Supplies Donated to ADFAC

CNS Security Police Officer John Fellers, left, and Y-12 Site Manager Bill Tindal deliver school supplies to the Aid to Distressed Families of Appalachian Counties office. (Submitted photo)


Y‑12 National Security Complex employees donated more than $2,000 and numerous school supplies to ensure students in need are starting the school year with what they need. Working with Aid to Distressed Families of Appalachian Counties, or ADFAC, employees donated money along with some 144 wide-ruled notebooks, 132 packs of crayons, 111 packs of pencils, 80 packs of paper, and 66 packs of glue sticks.

“Employees once again shared their giving spirit with those in our communities,” Y‑12 United Way Chair Yvonne Bishop said.

While the event precedes the site’s formal United Way campaign kickoff, Bishop said site employees always are ready to respond. ADFAC volunteers use the donations to provide backpacks and school supplies to fulfill more than 7,000 requests for assistance. [Read more...]

Los Alamos National Lab director to give talk at UT on Oct. 1

Charles McMillan

Charles McMillan

Charles F. McMillan, nuclear physicist and director of Los Alamos National Laboratory, will give the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy’s annual Distinguished Global Security Lecture on October 1 at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

McMillan will speak on “The Timeline of Technology” at 5:30 p.m. in the Toyota Auditorium at the Baker Center, 1640 Cumberland Avenue. The event is free and open to the public.

McMillan’s lecture will look at how innovations from the previous century are being used to solve today’s national and global security, energy, and environmental issues. Then he’ll pose a question to policy makers: “Are we prepared for the policy needed in the 22nd century with the scientific and technical expertise we have today?” [Read more...]

Demolition of Building 9744 completed at Y-12

Y-12 Building 9744 Demolition

The Y-12 National Security Complex completed the demolition of Building 9744 this week. The facility was a deteriorated, former utilities and maintenance facility taking up more than 9,000 square feet in Y-12’s high-security area. Despite challenges, the CNS demolition team was able to bring down the facility nearly two months ahead of schedule. (Photo courtesy NNSA)


The Y-12 National Security Complex recently celebrated another improvement in its site infrastructure with the demolition of Building 9744, a former utilities and maintenance facility occupying more than 9,000 square feet in Y-12’s Protected Area.

“This facility was in danger of collapse and posed a risk to the site’s personnel and operations,” said James McConnell, the National Nuclear Security Administration’s acting associate administrator for infrastructure and operations. “Upon realization of this risk, we were able to secure funding to stabilize the area from both a safety and environmental perspective.

The demolition proved challenging due to the deteriorating facility conditions, precluding the standard approach of entering the facility to abate hazards and remove hazardous waste prior to the structural demolition. Despite structural issues and associated waste disposal concerns, the facility was safely demolished nearly two months ahead of schedule. The demolition team collaborated with several internal and external organizations to accomplish the aggressive schedule in accordance with environmental and safety standards. [Read more...]

Hitson named OSTI director

Brian Hitson

Brian A. Hitson

Brian A. Hitson has been appointed director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Scientific and Technical Information in Oak Ridge, officials said this week.

Hitson had been acting director of OSTI since January 12. OSTI’s former longtime director, Walter L. Warnick, retired January 3.

Hitson has held a number of positions at OSTI, most recently serving as associate director for administration and information services. In that position, he was responsible for international information exchanges, archival digitization and preservation, classified and sensitive information, cost-reimbursable product development, and administrative and financial management. [Read more...]

NNSA names chief of defense nuclear security

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The National Nuclear Security Administration has named Jeffrey Johnson the chief of defense nuclear security and associate administrator for the NNSA’s Office of Defense Nuclear Security. The announcement was effective Monday.

In this role, he will be responsible for the development and implementation of security programs for the NNSA, a press release said.

“Jeffrey brings a wealth of experience to NNSA and is eminently qualified to take on the challenges of his new position,” said DOE Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and NNSA Administrator Frank G. Klotz. “I am pleased he will serve our nation in this new role, and I am confident that he will use his expertise to ensure that the security is maintained at all NNSA facilities.” [Read more...]

NNSA welcomes new assistant deputy for military application

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The National Nuclear Security Administration on Friday welcomed Brigadier General Stephen L. Davis of the U.S. Air Force as principal assistant deputy administrator for military application.

Davis will assist Don Cook, NNSA’s deputy administrator for defense programs, in directing the Stockpile Stewardship Program, which maintains the safety, security, and effectiveness of the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile without underground nuclear testing, a press release said.

“I have had the pleasure of knowing Brigadier General Davis since he was a lieutenant and I have seen first-hand his commitment to excellence and service above self,” said U.S. Department of Energy Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and NNSA Administrator Frank G. Klotz. “I am confident that he will excel as the senior uniformed officer in the Department of Energy. I also want to thank General Jim Dawkins for his superb service at NNSA and wish him the best of luck in his new and extraordinarily important position as director of strategic capabilities policy at the National Security Council.” [Read more...]

Presidential museum, heritage tourism experts to be featured in AMSE meetings

Alan Lowe

Alan Lowe

The director of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas will be featured in a community meeting in October on the future of the American Museum of Science and Energy in Oak Ridge.

During that Thursday, October 9 meeting, Alan Lowe will discuss the process of developing and managing facilities that function as both research libraries and historical museum attractions, a press release said.

The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum is located inside the George W. Bush Presidential Center on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas. In his role as director, Lowe oversees millions of presidential records as well as exhibits related to the important issues and events of the Bush Administration, a press release said.


Lowe was previously the founding director of the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy on the campus of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. He has also served as the acting director of Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library; as the director of operations in the Office of Presidential Libraries at the National Archives and Records Administration; and as an archivist at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

Lowe is the featured speaker in the third of four community meetings on the future of AMSE operations. The meetings have been organized by the City of Oak Ridge and the American Museum of Science and Energy Foundation. [Read more...]

Energy Secretary Moniz showcases national labs on the Hill

Ernest Moniz

Ernest Moniz

Lab Day demonstrations highlight labs’ contribution to U.S. competitiveness and innovation


WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz last week joined Senator Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, and Senator Jim Risch, an Idaho Republican, for National Lab Day on the Hill. The event highlighted several notable research projects from across the national laboratory system.

Senators Durbin and Risch also formally launched the Senate National Laboratory Caucus, which aims to increase awareness of the reach of the national labs as leaders in developing new breakthrough technologies and discoveries to address some of our nation’s most pressing challenges.

“The national labs continue to advance science, clean energy, and nuclear security in this country, as they have for decades,” Moniz said. “The labs also provide essential capabilities for university and industrial researchers—nearly 30,000 per year—and advance technology frontiers, such as high performance computing and advanced manufacturing.” [Read more...]

Top White House official confirmed as DOE deputy secretary

Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall

Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall (Photo courtesy Stanford University)

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall was confirmed by the Senate on Thursday, September 18, as the U.S. Department of Energy’s deputy secretary.

“Liz’s confirmation comes at a historic time in our nation’s energy evolution,” Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said. “She joins us with deep expertise in the department’s nuclear security mission, including both nuclear weapons and countering proliferation. Her extensive public service and recent responsibilities on the White House national security team position her to contribute to the department’s energy and security missions in a major way, both domestically and internationally. I thank the Senate for their attention to Liz’s nomination, and look forward to working closely with her as a key, trusted colleague.”

President Barack Obama nominated Sherwood-Randall in July.

As deputy secretary, Sherwood-Randall will support Moniz in the management and operation of the Department of Energy. [Read more...]

Today is Oak Ridge’s 72nd birthday

Y-12 Calutron Operators

Women enriching uranium in calutrons at Y-12 as part of the top-secret Manhattan Project during World War II. (Photo by Ed Westcott)


It’s Oak Ridge’s birthday today, September 19.

Oak Ridge was picked for the top-secret Manhattan Project on September 19, 1942. That was the day 72 years ago when General Leslie Groves approved the acquisition of 59,000 acres of land along the Clinch River for what soon became the Manhattan Project, a federal effort to build the world’s first atomic bombs.

By the time President Roosevelt authorized the Manhattan Project on December 28, 1942, work on the East Tennessee site where the first production facilities were to be built was already under way.

Oak Ridge became the home of two uranium enrichment plants (K-25 and Y-12), a liquid thermal diffusion plant (S-50), and a pilot plutonium production reactor (X-10 Graphite Reactor). Groves approved Oak Ridge as the site for the pilot plutonium plant and the uranium enrichment plant in 1942. Manhattan Project engineers had to quickly build a town to accommodate 30,000 workers—as well as build the enormously complex plants. [Read more...]