DOE Oak Ridge awards $33.4 million telecommunications contract

DOE Oak Ridge Telecommunications Contract

Robert Forshay, left, partner alliance manager with Black Box Network Services, and Kevin Hall, manager of DOE’s Oak Ridge Office, sign a telecommunications contract for the Oak Ridge Federal Integrated Communications Network. (DOE photo/Lynn Freeny)


The U.S. Department of Energy’s Integrated Support Center-Oak Ridge has awarded a $33.4 million telecommunications contract to Mutual Telecom Services Inc., doing business as Black Box Network Services, or Black Box.

Black Box is responsible for providing operations, maintenance, and upgrades to the Oak Ridge Federal Integrated Communications Network at the Oak Ridge Townsite, East Tennessee Technology Park, Y-12 National Security Complex, Office of Secure Transportation, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education. The Oak Ridge Townsite refers to the Federal Building, Office of Scientific and Technical Information, Building 2714 Complex, and various locations in the local vicinity.

“We are pleased to announce Black Box as the Oak Ridge Reservation’s integrated telecom service provider,” Oak Ridge Office Manager Kevin Hall said. “This selection comes after many months of evaluations by our selection team for this crucial service, and we are excited to have Black Box on board as our new partner.”

The company has more than 30 years of experience supporting U.S. government locations with similar needs and requirements. Black Box is located in Needham, Massachusetts. The contract has a two-year base and three one-year options. A 90-day transition begins on June 1.

Alexander: Bill raises Office of Science funding to highest-ever, includes UPF, supercomputing, cleanup funding

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander

Lamar Alexander

A bill approved by a U.S. Senate subcommittee on Tuesday would give $5.144 billion to the federal agency that oversees work at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. It’s the highest level of funding ever for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which oversees 10 national labs, including ORNL, federal officials said.

The bill would also provide $430 million for the proposed Uranium Processing Facility at the Y-12 National Security Complex, which will “continue to keep this project on time and on budget,” according to a press release from the office of U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander, a Tennessee Republican.

Alexander’s office also said the legislation would provide funding for:

  • a new mercury treatment plant in Oak Ridge,
  • cleanup of nuclear facilities that are no longer in service,
  • nuclear infrastructure at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and
  • advanced computing, which supports the new Summit supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The bill was unanimously approved on a voice vote by the Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development on Tuesday afternoon. Alexander is chair of that subcommittee, and he said the approval shows that there is bipartisan support for energy research, waterways, and national security. [Read more…]

ORNL demonstrates first large-scale graphene composite fabrication

ORNL Graphene

ORNL’s ultrastrong graphene features layers of graphene and polymers and is an effective conductor of electricity. (Image courtesy ORNL)


One of the barriers to using graphene at a commercial scale could be overcome using a method demonstrated by researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Graphene, a material stronger and stiffer than carbon fiber, has enormous commercial potential but has been impractical to employ on a large scale, with researchers limited to using small flakes of the material.

Now, using chemical vapor deposition, a team led by ORNL’s Ivan Vlassiouk has fabricated polymer composites containing 2-inch-by-2-inch sheets of the one-atom thick hexagonally arranged carbon atoms.

The findings, reported in the journal Applied Materials & Interfaces, could help usher in a new era in flexible electronics and change the way this reinforcing material is viewed and ultimately used. [Read more…]



UCOR awards 33 mini-grants for local school projects

UCOR, the U.S. Department of Energy’s cleanup contractor at the Oak Ridge Reservation, has announced the 33 winners of the UCOR Education Mini-Grant Program.

UCOR is a partnership between URS and CH2M Oak Ridge LLC.

The company said one of its primary objectives is to support and encourage education initiatives.

“The Mini-Grant Program was designed to recognize and support excellence in teaching by providing funds to assist classroom teachers for specific projects or curricula, focusing primarily on science, technology, engineering, and math, or STEM,” a press release said. [Read more…]

Eschenberg, UPF federal project director, retiring from federal service May 30

John Eschenberg

John Eschenberg

Note: This story was last updated at 1:19 p.m.

John Eschenberg, federal project director for the proposed Uranium Processing Facility at the Y-12 National Security Complex, announced Monday that he’s retiring from federal service on May 30.

Eschenberg said his decision to leave federal service is driven by a desire to “focus on new career opportunities in the private sector and to further my focus on serving nonprofit organizations.” Eschenberg said he is heavily involved with the Emory Valley Center (an institution for the developmentally and intellectually disabled) and its plan to start construction of a new facility in Oak Ridge later this fall.

Eschenberg has been the federal project director of the Uranium Processing Facility for almost three years, and he has been in Oak Ridge nearly six. He has served under six different U.S. Department of Energy secretaries, in five different states, and in all of its major programs, Eschenberg said in an email announcement obtained by Oak Ridge Today. [Read more…]

Four ORNL scientists selected for early career research funding

ORNL Scientists Early Career Research

Projects by, from left, ORNL researchers Christian Engelmann, Cory Hauck, Katharine Page, and Chad Parish have been selected for DOE Early Career funding. (Photo by ORNL)


Four researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory are among 44 scientists selected by DOE’s Office of Science to receive funding under the department’s Early Career Research Program.

The grants, which are intended to support researchers during their crucial early career years, are at least $500,000 per year for national lab researchers to cover year-round salary plus research expenses over a planned five years.

ORNL’s winners fall within three major Office of Science program offices: Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) and Fusion Energy Sciences (FES). Following are ORNL’s selectees and brief descriptions of their projects. [Read more…]

DOE Oak Ridge awards $11.3 million support contract to Alaskan native corporation

Allison White of Alutiiq and Kevin Hall of DOE Oak Ridge

U.S. Department of Energy Oak Ridge Office Manager Kevin Hall congratulates Allison White, director of operations, professional, and administrative services for Alutiiq LLC, on the recent award of an $11.3 million small business contract for support services to the DOE Oak Ridge Office. (Submitted photo)


The U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Office recently awarded a $11.3 million support services contract to Alutiiq Professional Training LLC.

The company is an Alaskan native corporation headquartered in Anchorage, Alaska, and a member of the 8(a) Business Development Program, a press release said.

The contract is for administrative and technical support services that total $11.3 million for a period of performance that is just under five years, including a seven-month base period and four one-year option periods, the press release said. The contract will employ approximately 36 people in Oak Ridge, the DOE Thomas Jefferson Site Office in Virginia, and the DOE Brookhaven Site Office in New York. [Read more…]

Registration for Tennessee Valley Corridor Summit closes Monday

Includes discussion of federal missions in Oak Ridge

Registration for the annual Tennessee Valley Corridor Summit closes Monday. The summit will include a discussion of federal missions in Oak Ridge.

Organizers expect more than 300 national and regionals leaders at the 20th Annual Tennessee Valley Corridor Summit. It’s being held at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City on May 27-28. The Summit will be at the D.P. Culp University Center at ETSU.

“Hundreds of regional leaders will gather in Johnson City to focus on education from the business and industry perspective at the 20th annual Tennessee Valley Corridor Summit,” a press release said. “The sessions at the two-day event will focus on how to ensure tomorrow’s workforce has the skills they need to find quality jobs at home and how the region’s educational institutions can partner with businesses and organizations for better success.” [Read more…]

BES Technologies celebrates one million gallons of recycled water

BES Technologies Rad Waste Water Laundry Operations

BES Technologies LLC, or BEST, has reached a major milestone by recycling one million gallons of radiological waste water through its laundry operations at the East Tennessee Technology Park.

“This represents the prevention of one million gallons of water that would have gone into our environment, but instead was cleaned and re-used,” a press release said. “This recycling process not only avoids environmental insult, but also allows for savings to be passed on to customers by cleaning and reusing water.”

The press release said the laundering service uses a state-of-the-art radiological water treatment system, and it is able to reuse more than 70 percent of the water used in its process. [Read more…]

Atomic Heritage meets with Japanese mayors to discuss Manhattan Project park

AHF Meets with Nagasaki and Hiroshima Mayors

AHF President Cindy Kelly with Nagasaki Mayor Tomahisa Taue on her right and Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui on her left. (Photo by AHF)


The Atomic Heritage Foundation, the nonprofit organization that worked for 15 years to create a Manhattan Project national park, met with the mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki this month to discuss how the story of the atomic bomb will be interpreted.

The meeting, which was held at the Institute of International Education at the United Nations Plaza in New York City, marked a “positive first step in opening a dialogue with the Japanese, whose input will be important to the interpretation of the new park,” a press release said. In addition to the two mayors, the Atomic Heritage Foundation also met with Japanese local government officials.

The Manhattan Project was a top-secret federal program to build the world’s first nuclear weapons during World War II. The Manhattan Project National Historical Park will include Oak Ridge; Los Alamos, New Mexico; and Hanford, Washington.

The meeting in New York City on Friday, May 1, began with opening remarks from Nagasaki Mayor Tomahisa Taue and Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui, who described the suffering of those affected by the atomic bombing, a press release said. They expressed hope that interpretation of the new Manhattan Project Park would not end with the dropping of the bomb but also “focus on what happened under the mushroom cloud.”

The United States dropped one bomb over Hiroshima, Japan, on August 6, 1945, and a second over Nagasaki on August 9, 1945. Japan surrendered a few days later. Uranium for the first weapon, code-named “Little Boy,” was enriched at federal sites in Oak Ridge. [Read more…]

NNSA, IAEA hosting international nuclear material course at ORNL

Oak Ridge National Laboratory Sign

The National Nuclear Security Administration and the International Atomic Energy Agency are hosting 35 representatives from 30 countries at Oak Ridge National Laboratory from April 26 to May 8 for an international training course on how to account for and control nuclear material.

It’s the 20th International Training Course, or ITC, on State Systems of Accounting for and Control of Nuclear Material, or SSACs.

NNSA and the IAEA co-sponsor the ITC to educate and train technical experts from around the world on how to properly account for nuclear materials used in their home countries. The first SSAC ITC in the United States was held in Richland, Washington, in 1979.  Since then, approximately 500 participants from 50 countries have completed the training. The ITC supports U.S. obligations under the U.S. Nuclear Nonproliferation Act of 1978. [Read more…]

Council to discuss impact of proposed DOE landfill during Friday meeting

Oak Ridge Reservation with Bear Creek Valley

The proposed Environmental Management Disposal Facility would be built between the Y-12 National Security Complex and the Environmental Management Waste Management Facility, or EMWMF.


Oak Ridge officials will discuss the community impact of a proposed landfill that would hold waste from cleanup work at federal sites during a work session on Friday.

The Oak Ridge City Council work session is scheduled from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Friday, May 8, in the Municipal Building Training Room.

Council will be briefed on the Draft Community Impact Assessment of the proposed Environmental Management Disposal Facility by Karl Kalbacher, project manager for The Ferguson Group, a company that helps the city with its federal legislative agenda in Washington, D.C.

The Environmental Management Disposal Facility would be built on Bear Creek Road west of the Y-12 National Security Complex near another landfill that is already in use and has been operating since 2002. It could cost $1 billion, including construction and 23 years of operations. [Read more…]