DOE offers expanded public bus tours of federal sites in Oak Ridge

DOE Public Bus Tour

Public bus tours of the U.S. Department of Energy’s facilities in Oak Ridge are now offered nine months of the year. (File photo courtesy DOE/Lynn Freeny)


The U.S. Department of Energy’s public bus tour of federal sites in Oak Ridge is now offered to visitors nine months out of the year, versus only summer months as in the past.

This popular tour of the 33,000-acre DOE Oak Ridge Reservation offers visitors a first-hand look at all of the DOE’s Oak Ridge facilities and provides historical commentary on the transformation of the Oak Ridge Reservation during the past 70-plus years.

The reservation-wide tour is a popular attraction for tourists visiting the area.  Since its inception in 1996, the DOE public tour program has attracted approximately 35,000 visitors from all 50 states. The three-hour DOE tour allows visitors to see the DOE Oak Ridge Reservation and learn about its rich history and how Oak Ridge became a secret city of 75,000 people with a mission to end World War II. [Read more…]

Morris named NPO assistant manager for environment, safety, health

Susan Morris

Susan Morris

Susan Morris has been named assistant manager for environment, safety, health, and quality for the National Nuclear Security Administration Production Office. The NPO oversees work at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge and the Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas.

Morris is responsible for oversight of contractor programs for health physics and radiological protection, industrial hygiene and occupational medicine, industrial safety, transportation safety, construction safety, chemical safety, fire protection, firearm safety, explosive safety, aviation safety, and quality assurance at the Pantex Plant and Y-12 National Security Complex, a press release said. She has more than 28 years of federal service.

Morris has had a broad range of responsibilities, including serving as the team leader and subject matter expert/program manager for industrial hygiene, occupational medicine, fire protection, and environmental programs, and she served as the Y-12 Site Office NEPA compliance officer, the release said. [Read more…]

Oak Ridge Reservation Alliance to meet April 27

The Oak Ridge Reservation Communities Alliance will meet on Monday, April 27, at 2 p.m. in the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, DOE-Oversight Office, at 761 Emory Valley Road in Oak Ridge.

The meeting is open to the public.

Alliance representatives include Terry Frank, Tim Burchett, Bill James, Don Edwards, George Thacker, Warren Gooch, Amy Fitzgerald, Ron Woody, and Scott Stout.

See the agenda here: ORRCA Agenda April 27, 2015.



Tickets going fast for Weinberg film

Alvin Weinberg Poster

If Alvin Weinberg, the most famous of Oak Ridgers, were alive today, he would be celebrating his 100th birthday.

This Thursday evening, as many as 600 people will celebrate his centenary by watching for free “Alvin Weinberg,” a documentary film by Oak Ridge’s Keith McDaniel.

The one-hour film, which is of PBS quality, will be shown at 6:30 and 8 p.m. Thursday, April 23, at the American Museum of Science and Energy.

The first showing is “sold out,” but a few seats are left for the second free showing at 8 p.m. To reserve a seat, you must call Connor Matthews at (865) 705-5890 or Tom Row at (865) 705-5174.

ORNL researchers contribute to major UN bioenergy, sustainability report

Keith Kline and Virginia Dale

ORNL researchers Keith Kline and Virginia Dale contributed to a major United Nations report on bioenergy and sustainability. (Photo courtesy ORNL)

A major United Nations report on bioenergy and sustainability released Tuesday concludes the sustainable production of bioenergy can be an important tool for addressing climate change.

Two researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory contributed to the multinational UN document, which offers science-based evaluations of bioenergy issues—including food and energy crop production and bioenergy—as a climate change mitigation strategy.

Keith Kline of ORNL’s Environmental Sciences Division contributed to a chapter on land use for the UN Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE) Bioenergy and Sustainability Report.

“Misconceptions about the availability of land needed for growing food crops and about the opportunities and synergies possible from combined production systems could undermine investment in a key strategy for climate change mitigation,” Kline said. [Read more…]

Kevin Hall named DOE Oak Ridge Office manager

Kevin Hall

Kevin Hall

The U.S. Department of Energy has named Kevin Hall as the manager of its Oak Ridge Office. Hall has served as the office’s deputy manager since April 2013.

As manager, Hall oversees the Oak Ridge Integrated Support Center, which provides critical mission support services in the personnel, finance, budget, procurement, legal, security, and emergency management, and employee health and safety on a local and national level, a press release said.

Hall is also responsible for managing the 33,500-acre Oak Ridge Reservation. This function involves managing issues that impact areas surrounding Oak Ridge National Laboratory, East Tennessee Technology Park, and National Nuclear Security Administration Production Office, and leading projects that may affect multiple sites. [Read more…]

New one-megawatt solar array at Heritage Center can power 133 homes

Powerhouse Six Solar Array Ribbon-cutting April 9, 2015

Company executives and city and federal officials celebrate a new one-megawatt solar array at Heritage Center in west Oak Ridge on Thursday with a ceremonial “plugging in.”


A new one-megawatt solar array at the Heritage Center in west Oak Ridge will provide enough clean energy to power 133 average-size homes per year, officials said.

Company and nonprofit executives joined city and federal officials for a ceremonial “plugging in” of the new Powerhouse Six photovoltaic solar array on Thursday.

The $1.8 million array has 3,268 solar modules, and it will be used to sell electric power to the Tennessee Valley Authority through the Oak Ridge Electric Department.

“We’re going live today,” said Gil Hough, renewable energy manager for RSI, or Restoration Services Inc., the Oak Ridge-based company that developed the array. [Read more…]

ORNL Climate Change Science Institute rep to discuss science, policy on Tuesday

Benjamin L. Preston

Benjamin L. Preston

The deputy director of the Climate Change Science Institute at Oak Ridge National Laboratory will discuss climate change science and policy during a Tuesday lunch lecture. The meeting is open to the public.

Ben Preston is deputy director of ORNL’s Climate Change Science Institute. His talk is titled “The State of Climate Change Science and Policy: Local to Global.”

The Friends of ORNL meeting starts with socializing and coffee at 11 a.m., lunch begins at 11:30 a.m., and the lecture starts at noon. A question-and-answer session is scheduled at 12:45 p.m., and the meeting adjourns at 1 p.m. A catered lunch by the Soup Kitchen will be available for $8. [Read more…]

U.S. scientists celebrate the restart of the Large Hadron Collider, which involves ORNL

Note: Oak Ridge National Laboratory has led an eight-year upgrade of the electromagnetic calorimeter used for LHC’s experiment called ALICE  (for A Large Ion Collider Experiment). This detector measures the energies of high-energy electrons and gamma rays to learn more about the conditions of the early universe. Thomas M. Cormier leads the LHC Heavy Ion Group in ORNL’s Physics Division.

On Sunday, April 5, the world’s most powerful particle accelerator began its second act. After two years of upgrades and repairs, proton beams once again circulated around the Large Hadron Collider, located at the CERN laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland.

With the collider back in action, the more than 1,700 U.S. scientists who work on LHC experiments are prepared to join thousands of their international colleagues to study the highest-energy particle collisions ever achieved in the laboratory.

These collisions—hundreds of millions of them every second—will lead scientists to new and unexplored realms of physics, and could yield extraordinary insights into the nature of the physical universe. [Read more…]

Battle of Normandy World War II reenactment at Secret City Festival this year

Flak 88 Weapon Firing

The only live firing Flak 88 (German anti-aircraft weapon) in the United States is pictured above. (Submitted photo)

The time is June 1944. After more than four years of German occupation, the Allies have launched the invasion of “fortress Europe” as part of history’s largest combined amphibious and aerial assault. The tide of the war has started to change, but in these early days of combat nothing is certain.

Step back in time and experience the sights and sounds of frontline combat on the western front during World War II and learn about the men and women who helped ensure the Allied victory that shaped the world we live in today. See the uniforms, equipment and vehicles that were part of the world’s largest conflict in action. Come and experience one of the largest groupings of authentic World War II vehicles and equipment in the south! Tour period military encampments, inspect authentic period vehicles and weaponry, and learn more about what the life of a soldier was like during the war.

You can see all this and more during the 2015 Secret City Festival in Oak Ridge on June 13. The festival is at Alvin K. Bissell Park and the Oak Ridge Civic Center. [Read more…]

ORAU awards $25,000 for Extreme Classroom Makeover

Charlie Arp 2015 Extreme Classroom Makeover Grand Prize

2015 Extreme Classroom Makeover grand prize winner Charlie Arp and his students. (Photo by ORAU)


The idea that technology has the ability to drastically change students’ lives was the focus of one regional middle school teacher’s video submission for the 2015 ORAU Extreme Classroom Makeover competition. His dream of satisfying students’ hunger for technology in the classroom was realized Thursday as ORAU President Andy Page presented Brown Intermediate School science teacher Charlie Arp with a $25,000 technology makeover during a surprise school-wide assembly.

The funding is part of ORAU’s annual Extreme Classroom Makeover competition, now in its seventh year.

In his winning video Arp, explains that when it comes to teaching with technology, the sky is the limit. He describes many new and interactive approaches to teaching math and science, and he insists that, with this grant, he can satisfy his students’ hunger for technology in their day-to-day learning environment. Brown Intermediate School serves students from the city of Sweetwater in the fifth and sixth grades. [Read more…]

Y-12, UT scientists develop patented chemical sensor

Y-12 UT ChIMES Team

ChIMES uses chemical recognition materials called molecular recognition phases to detect chemical and biological warfare agents, toxic industrial chemicals, waterborne and airborne pollutants, explosives, and illegal drugs, just to list a few. The tiny white cylinders are the MRPs. The magneto elastic wire that runs through the MRPs wirelessly sends data to interpreting software. (Photo by Y-12 National Security Complex)


A three-year collaboration of scientists from Y‑12 National Security Complex and the University of Tennessee in Knoxville resulted in the innovation of a patented chemical sensor that is unique in several aspects: it’s inexpensive, tiny, and portable; it promises virtually limitless applications; and it allows readings through barriers.

The sensor, named ChIMES (Chemical Identification by Magneto-Elastic Sensing), received one patent last fall, and scientists anticipate approval this spring of a second patent for applications outside national security.

ChIMES is based on chemical recognition materials called molecular recognition phases, or MRPs. Using strategically selected MRPs, sensors can be made that detect chemical and biological warfare agents, toxic industrial chemicals, waterborne and airborne pollutants, explosives, illegal drugs, food pathogens, and exhaled gases that indicate disease or illegal drug use, just to name a few possibilities. In fact, the list of applications for the sensor is virtually unlimited, said Y‑12’s Vincent Lamberti, who managed the project. [Read more…]