UCOR recognizes small businesses at awards ceremony

Karen Reeve and Tim Melberg

Karen Reeve, UCOR small business manager, and Tim Melberg, UCOR supply chain manager, present the 2015 UCOR Small Business Awards. (Photo courtesy UCOR)


UCOR, the U.S. Department of Energy’s cleanup contractor for the Oak Ridge Reservation, presented awards to seven small businesses at its annual Small Business Awards ceremony, held Monday, July 27, at the Double Tree Hotel in Oak Ridge.

The categories and winners are: [Read more…]

Despite lobbying, Manhattan Project park HQ proposed in Denver

K-25 Building Aerial View

Now demolished, the former mile-long, U-shaped K-25 Building, pictured above, was once used to enrich uranium for atomic weapons and commercial nuclear power plants. Located in west Oak Ridge, the site could become part of a Manhattan Project National Historical Park. There is a separate effort to preserve the site’s history; that work could be incorporated into the new park. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Department of Energy)


Note: This story was last updated at 1:10 p.m. July 29.

Local officials had proposed locating it in Oak Ridge, but federal officials have proposed locating the headquarters for the new Manhattan Project National Historical Park in Denver.

The new park, which is still in the planning stages, would include three sites: Oak Ridge; Hanford, Washington; and Los Alamos, New Mexico.

A National Park Service release on Tuesday said there would be a site manager for each location who will coordinate with local U.S. Department of Energy staff, Tribes, community members, and area partners. The site managers will report to the Manhattan Project National Historical Park’s superintendent, who will be located at an NPS central office that has been proposed in Denver. [Read more…]

ORNL has United Way kickoff, hosts agency fair

ORNL United Way Kickoff

Oak Ridge National Laboratory hosted its United Way kickoff on Monday, July 27, 2015. (Photo by ORNL/Jason Richards)


Oak Ridge National Laboratory hosted its United Way kickoff event on Monday by hosting an agency fair with representatives from about 20 United Way agencies. The kickoff emphasized the agencies that United Way supports.

The lab said the agency fair was well-attended and gave ORNL staff an opportunity to meet with representatives from approximately 20 United Way organizations.

The ORNL United Way Campaign supports 17 East Tennessee counties including Anderson, Roane, Knox, and Loudon.

Copyright 2015 Oak Ridge Today. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

ORNL United Way Agency Fair

The United Way kickoff at ORNL on Monday, July 27, included an agency fair with representatives from about 20 agencies. (Photo by ORNL/Jason Richards)


Copyright 2015 Oak Ridge Today. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


UT-ORNL nuclear expert Wirth honored in Washington, D.C.

Brian Wirth, Ernest Moniz, and John Kotek

UT-ORNL Governor’s Chair for Computational Nuclear Engineering Brian Wirth, right, receives a plaque from U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, center, honoring him as an Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award recipient. John Kotek, acting Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy, is at left. (Photo courtesy University of Tennessee)


Nuclear energy expert Brian Wirth, a joint appointee at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, received the Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award from U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz at a Washington, D.C., ceremony Thursday night.

Wirth serves as the Governor’s Chair for Computational Nuclear Engineering, studying aspects of nuclear environments and materials related to nuclear energy.

That expertise led to his honor, one of nine the DOE bestowed during the evening.

“The ceremony was really nice,” said Wirth. “I was thrilled that College of Engineering Dean Wayne Davis, department head Wes Hines, and Steve Zinkle attended, along with Alan Icenhour from ORNL.” [Read more…]

ORNL has 13 finalists for R&D 100 Award

Oak Ridge National Laboratory Sign

Thirteen technologies from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have been selected as finalists for R&D 100 Awards, the annual technology prizes given by R&D Magazine. ORNL is lead developer in 10 of the technologies and a partner developer in another three technologies that made the finalist list.

R&D Magazine has changed the format of the annual awards substantially, with a list of finalists announced first. The competition also has new “Market Disruptor” and “Green Tech” categories, and finalists can be listed in those categories as well as the technical categories. ORNL has five Market Disruptor finalists and one Green Tech finalist.

The R&D 100 winners will be announced in November at an event in Las Vegas. Here are the finalists: [Read more…]

Oak Ridge Robotics Academy teaches robotics engineering in week-long camp

Josie Fellers and Olivia Jones

Josie Fellers and teammate Olivia Jones assemble their robot’s arm at the ORAU Oak Ridge Robotics Academy. (Photo courtesy ORAU)


More than two dozen students from across East Tennessee recently spent a week designing, building, and programming robots during the Oak Ridge Robotics Academy.

Held at ORAU’s Center for Science Education, the week-long, free camp was led by Instructors Tad Douce and Ed Goodwin, both co-directors of the National Robotics Challenge, with help from Kayla Canario, the 2011 Extreme Classroom Makeover contest runner-up and the technology coordinator for Bearden Middle School.

The 6th annual ORAU Oak Ridge Robotics Academy included 26 students in seventh, eighth, and ninth grades.

Students were randomly placed into teams and faced daily engineering challenges such as programming their robots to solve a maze without being controlled or designing an arm to pick up a tennis ball.

“We call it a robotics academy, but it’s really an engineering academy,” Douce said. “Our main goal is to get the students to work with others, think logically and solve problems.” [Read more…]

Beryllium laboratory achieves accreditation from College of American Pathologists

Beryllium Testing at ORISE

The College of American Pathologists, or CAP, has accredited the beryllium laboratory in Oak Ridge for the third time since the laboratory’s first accreditation in 2009. The laboratory is managed by ORAU for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education.

The laboratory is one of only three labs nationwide that performs the beryllium lymphocyte proliferation test. This test determines if a patient has developed a sensitization to beryllium, which could evolve into chronic beryllium disease. Exposure to the lightweight metal is often encountered by inhaling beryllium dust particulates in an industrial workplace setting.

During the CAP accreditation process, inspectors examine the laboratory’s records and quality control procedures for the preceding two years. This includes examining staff qualifications, equipment, facilities, safety program and records, and overall management. The CAP accreditation program was established in the early 1960s and remains one of the most stringent lab certification programs recognized by the federal government. [Read more…]

Supercomputers: China’s Tianhe-2 still No. 1, ORNL’s Titan stays No. 2

Jeff Nichols and Titan at ORNL

Jeff Nichols, associate director for computing and computational sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, in front of Titan, which was the world’s fastest supercomputer in November 2012 but is now ranked No. 2. (Photos courtesy of ORNL/File photo October 2013)


For the fifth consecutive time, Tianhe-2, a supercomputer developed by China’s National University of Defense Technology, has retained its position as the world’s number one system, according to the 45th edition of the twice-yearly TOP500 list of the world’s most powerful supercomputers. Tianhe-2, which means Milky Way-2, led the list with a performance of 33.86 petaflop/s (or quadrillions of calculations per second) on the Linpack benchmark.

At number two was Titan, a Cray XK7 system installed at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Titan, the top system in the United States and one of the most energy-efficient systems on the list, achieved 17.59 petaflop/s on the Linpack benchmark.

The only new entry in the Top 10 supercomputers on the latest list is at number seven—Shaheen II is a Cray XC40 system installed at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, or KAUST, in Saudi Arabia. Shaheen II achieved 5.536 petaflop/s on the Linpack benchmark, making it the highest-ranked Middle East system in the 22-year history of the list and the first to crack the Top 10. [Read more…]

ORNL, DOE sites help power New Horizons’ journey to Pluto


This image of Pluto, taken by New Horizons after a 9.5-year journey, is our highest-resolution photo of the dwarf planet since its discovery by Clyde Tombaugh in 1930. (Photo courtesy of NASA via DOE)


By Matt Dozier

​NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft just accomplished one of the most exciting feats in the history of space exploration. After a 9.5-year, 3-billion-mile journey, the mission’s historic flyby of Pluto has provided us with our first-ever closeup views of the frozen world at the edge of the solar system. It’s a remarkable achievement, one that wouldn’t have been possible without careful planning, ingenuity—and a little help from the U.S. Department of Energy.

In 2006, when NASA engineers were designing New Horizons, they knew that it would need a long-lasting, compact and incredibly reliable power source to survive the cold, dark reaches of outer space.

Solar power was out of the question. The spacecraft’s itinerary would take it billions of miles from the center of the solar system into the realm of Pluto and the Kuiper Belt. That far out, the Sun shines with just a tiny fraction of the intensity we see here on Earth—scarcely brighter than the stars in the night sky. Other options like batteries or fuel cells wouldn’t last long enough. [Read more…]

New pilot helps small businesses tap ORNL expertise

ORNL Manufacturing Demonstration Facility

Small businesses can gain access to ORNL resources such as the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility through a new U.S. Department of Energy voucher pilot. (Photo by ORNL)


Small companies in the advanced manufacturing, transportation, and building sectors have a new opportunity to partner with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

ORNL was among five national laboratories selected to participate in a new DOE small business voucher pilot that aims to connect small clean energy businesses with technical experts and world-class facilities at the national labs.

DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy is funding the $20 million pilot as part of its National Laboratory Impact Initiative. ORNL will receive $5.6 million to conduct outreach, merit review, and matchmaking efforts for small business projects.

“We’re pleased to be given the opportunity to partner with smaller businesses who can take advantage of the world-class facilities at ORNL and other national laboratories across the country,” said ORNL’s Johney Green. “Through this pilot, we will help industry achieve their goals of developing innovative, energy-efficient products and being more competitive in the marketplace, particularly in manufacturing, building, and vehicle technologies.” [Read more…]

NNSA awards National Security Campus contract in KC to Honeywell FM&T

National Security Campus in Kansas City

The NNSA National Security Campus in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo courtesy NNSA)


WASHINGTON, D.C.—The National Nuclear Security Administration on Friday announced the award to Honeywell Federal Manufacturing and Technologies LLC to be the management and operating contractor for the National Security Campus, or NSC, in Kansas City, Missouri.

“Our non-nuclear production capabilities are critical to our national security, and Honeywell FM&T represents the best value to the government,” NNSA Administrator Frank Klotz said.  “Honeywell has demonstrated excellent performance in advancing NNSA’s enduring mission at NSC, and this award creates workforce stability for another decade.”

The NSC is one of several production plants that are critical to the NNSA’s Stockpile Stewardship Program. The National Security Campus is responsible for manufacturing and procuring nonnuclear components for nuclear weapons, including electronic, mechanical, and engineered material components. It supports national laboratories, universities, and U.S. industry.

Copyright 2015 Oak Ridge Today. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

ORNL: Neutrons find ‘missing’ magnetism of plutonium

Doug Abernathy and Marc Janoschek

Doug Abernathy, left, ARCS instrument scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Marc Janoschek, Los Alamos National Laboratory, prepare their sample for experiments at the Spallation Neutron Source. (Photo by ORNL)


Groundbreaking work at two U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories has confirmed plutonium’s magnetism, which scientists have long theorized but have never been able to experimentally observe. The advances that enabled the discovery hold great promise for materials, energy, and computing applications.

Plutonium was first produced in 1940, and its unstable nucleus allows it to undergo fission, making it useful for nuclear fuels as well as for nuclear weapons. Much less known, however, is that the electronic cloud surrounding the plutonium nucleus is equally unstable and makes plutonium the most electronically complex element in the periodic table, with intriguingly intricate properties for a simple elemental metal.

While conventional theories have successfully explained plutonium’s complex structural properties, they also predict that plutonium should order magnetically. This is in stark contrast with experiments, which had found no evidence for magnetic order in plutonium. [Read more…]