Former nuclear physics teacher in OR to be inducted into TN Women’s Hall of Fame

Elizabeth Rona

Elizabeth Rona

Elizabeth Rona, a former nuclear physics teacher at the Oak Ridge Institute of Nuclear Studies, will be inducted into the Tennessee Women’s Hall of Fame on Monday, October 26.

Before she immigrated to the United States, Rona was the first woman to teach chemistry in any university in Hungary.

Once in the U.S., she was on the frontlines of the discoveries of isotopes and fission, and later contributed to work in the Manhattan project. She later taught on theory and methods of nuclear physics at the Oak Ridge Institute of Nuclear Studies.

Rona is one of two inductees to be honored posthumously. The ceremony will honor a total of eight women from all three grand divisions of the state (East, Middle, and West), including an astronaut, judge, and civil rights pioneer. [Read more…]

Small businesses invited to participate in DOE national lab vouchers pilot

ORNL Industry Day Officials Sept. 24, 2015

David Danielson, left, DOE assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy, is pictured above with officials at Industry Day at ORNL on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, when a 3D-printed vehicle and building were unveiled. Other officials include ORNL Director Thom Mason; U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann; Johnny Moore, ORNL Site Office manager; and David Milhorn, UT executive vice president. (Photo by John Huotari/Oak Ridge Today)


Small businesses in the clean energy sector are invited to apply for assistance from the U.S. Department of Energy’s national laboratories through the department’s new Small Business Vouchers Pilot.

David Danielson, DOE Assistant Secretary for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, or EERE, announced the launch of the pilot website during EERE’s Industry Day event on Wednesday, September 23, at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

“Small businesses that are developing the new clean energy technologies that are needed to cut carbon pollution and create good-paying American jobs often lack the resources necessary to move their innovative ideas from the laboratory bench to the marketplace,” Danielson said. “The EERE Small Business Vouchers pilot is designed specifically to help small businesses bring next-generation clean energy technologies to the market faster by leveraging the world-class capabilities of our national laboratories to solve small businesses’ most pressing challenges.” [Read more…]

ORAU exceeds $100,000 in annual giving campaign for eighth year in a row

ORAU 2015 Annual Giving Campaign

The 2015 ORAU Annual Giving Campaign Chair Arlene Garrison, pictured right, Co-Chair Don Hanlon, pictured left, and ORAU President and CEO Andy Page reveal ORAU’s combined giving total of $127,404.42. (Photo courtesy ORAU)


For the eighth year in a row, ORAU has broken the $100,000 mark in donations as part of the annual giving campaign for the United Way and Community Shares.

During a concluding ceremony on September 29 in the ORAU Pollard Technology Conference Center, ORAU President and Chief Executive Officer Andy Page announced the 2015 ORAU Annual Giving Campaign total donation amount: $127,404.42.

As part of the total donation, ORAU and its employees pledged $97,835.18 to the United Way and $29,569.24 to Community Shares.

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


Signing ceremony for Manhattan Project park on Nov. 10 in DC

Hanford B Reactor

The Hanford B Reactor (Photo courtesy Atomic Heritage Foundation)


By Atomic Heritage Foundation

The birthday of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park, which includes Oak Ridge, is now set for November 10, 2015.

While the Manhattan Project National Historical Park Act became law on December 19, 2014, the Act requires that the Departments of Energy and Interior reach an agreement within a year of enactment on their respective roles in implementing the new park. At that time, the park will be officially established.

We understand that the Departments of Energy and the National Park Service leaders are close to an agreement. Secretary of Energy Ernie Moniz and Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell are scheduled to have a signing ceremony on Tuesday, November 10, in Washington, D.C.

The Manhattan Project Park Act passed after the National Park Service’s Fiscal Year 2016 budget was in place, so the funds available in 2016 for NPS’s work on the park are limited to $180,000.

NPS Associate Director Victor Knox talked about 2016 as a transitional year for the new park, as the Park Service assumes management and focuses on how best to interpret the story of the Manhattan Project. The Department of Energy and its laboratories have been funding a variety of activities this year and have developed a five-year budget plan for restoring and providing public access to its historic assets. [Read more…]

Radioactive components removed from former reactor at ORNL

Group Photo Radioactive Components Reactor Pool

Federal and contractor employees who worked on the project to remove irradiated components from a reactor pool gather to watch the transport of the shipment offsite for disposition. (Photo courtesy DOE Office of EM)


Water was found seeping from a pool at a former reactor at Oak Ridge National Laboratory one year ago, and in August, workers removed four irradiated components from the pool that produced about 96 percent of the radiation, federal officials said Thursday.

The four irradiated components weigh about 200 pounds each, said the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management, or EM.

Water was found seeping from the reactor pool at the Oak Ridge Research Reactor during a routine inspection in September 2014. The facility, also known as Building 3042, is one of hundreds of Manhattan Project and Cold War-ear structures across the Oak Ridge Reservation monitored by the Oak Ridge Office of EM.

Nuclear research had not been conducted at the facility since 1988, but it still contained the highly irradiated components from those operations. The leak was causing the pool to lose the water that served as a protective, shielding agent for the irradiated components, officials said. [Read more…]

Alexander Guest House renovation restores grandeur at historic hotel

Alexander Guest House Ballroom and Cafeteria Sept. 23, 2015

The ballroom and cafeteria area is pictured above at the Alexander Guest House, which converted the beloved but long-vacant Alexander Inn hotel into an assisted living center. (Photo by John Huotari/Oak Ridge Today)


It’s been a dream for years, and now the preservation and transformation of the former Alexander Inn is nearly complete.

The two-year, $8 million construction and renovation project is almost finished, and Alexander Guest House could open as an assisted living facility in about two weeks, said Rick Dover of Dover Development of East Tennessee.

Sixty percent of the 64 apartments are already reserved, Executive Director Jody Daugherty said during a media tour Wednesday. Among those who will live there are Jean Stone of Oak Ridge and Dean Ford of Oliver Springs. They participated in the media tour on Wednesday.

“I think they’ve done a remarkable job of restoring it to its grandeur,” said Stone, a longtime Oak Ridge resident who has “many fine memories” of parties, weddings, wedding receptions, and club meetings, among other events, at the historic two-story hotel. “Once I saw what they’re doing here, I wanted to come here. I think it will be a lovely place to live. It’s absolutely tremendous.”

The historic two-story hotel was built as part of the top-secret Manhattan Project during World War II, and top scientists and dignitaries once stayed there. [Read more…]

ORNL: Car, building are 3D-printed, can power each other

ORNL 3D-Printed House and Vehicle on Sept. 24, 2015

A 3D-printed vehicle and building that were part of a nine-month research demonstration project were unveiled on Industry Day at ORNL on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015. The natural gas-powered car and solar-powered building can provide electricity to each other. (Photo by John Huotari/Oak Ridge Today)


A car and house built using large-scale 3D printers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory can provide power to each other, and they’re part of a project designed to answer “what if” questions that could lead to innovations in building and car construction and energy use, storage, and consumption, researchers and officials said Wednesday.

The 210-square-foot house—it’s a solar-powered building—and the printed utility vehicle—officials affectionately call it a PUV—were printed at ORNL’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility on Hardin Valley Road.

They were unveiled at ORNL on Wednesday during the lab’s first-ever Industry Day. The building and PUV are part of a project called the Additive Manufacturing Integrated Energy, or AMIE, demonstration.

Additive manufacturing is the process used to build something one layer at a time. One of the most well-known examples is the Shelby Cobra car 3-D printed on a large-scale polymer printer at the MDF. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden admired that vehicle—and joked about taking it for a spin—during a trip to East Tennessee in January. [Read more…]

Council to get update on airport this evening

Oak Ridge Airport Development Plan

The Heritage Center airport development plan is pictured above. (Cropped image from DOE Draft Environmental Assessment)


The City Council will get an update on the proposed general aviation airport in west Oak Ridge during a work session this evening.

The update will be given by Billy Stair, public affairs consultant for the Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority.

The airport could cost $30-$40 million, and construction could start in 2018, according to a current timeline and construction estimate. The airport would include a 5,000-foot runway and be built at the front side of Heritage Center, the former K-25 site.

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. The Oak Ridge airport would be a reliever airport and help relieve congestion at the other two airports. [Read more…]

New ORNL catalyst addresses engine efficiency, emissions quandary

ORNL Catalyst Andrew Binder

Researcher Andrew Binder and colleagues discovered that by mixing three components they could create an innovative catalyst that performs well at low temperatures without the use of precious metals. (Photo courtesy ORNL)


A catalyst being developed by researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory could overcome one of the key obstacles still preventing automobile engines from running more cleanly and efficiently.

The mixed oxide catalyst could solve the longstanding problem of inhibition, in which nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and hydrocarbons effectively clog the catalyst designed to cleanse a vehicle’s exhaust stream. This happens as these three pollutants compete for active surface sites on the catalyst. Now, however, ORNL’s low-cost catalyst composed of copper oxide, cobalt oxide, and cerium oxide shows considerable promise when tested in simulated exhaust streams.

“Our catalyst potentially fixes the inhibition problem without precious metals and could help more efficient engines meet upcoming stricter emission regulations,” said Todd Toops of ORNL’s Energy and Transportation Sciences Division. Toops noted that the unique formulation builds on previous work by colleagues Andrew Binder and Sheng Dai, who varied the composition of the three catalyst components in search of improved oxidation activity under simple conditions. [Read more…]

ORNL research demo combines clean energy, 3-D printed building, vehicle


Oak Ridge National Laboratory will unveil a research demonstration next week that combines clean energy technologies into a 3-D printed building and vehicle to showcase a new approach to energy use, storage, and consumption.

The unveiling of the Additive Manufacturing Integrated Energy, or AMIE, demonstration is scheduled to start at 8 a.m. Wednesday, September 23, at ORNL.

The demonstration will be exhibited at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Industry Day event as a model for energy efficient systems that link buildings, vehicles, and the grid.

A rendering of the demo is included above.

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

DOE seeks candidates for advisory board vacancies, applications due Sept. 30

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management is seeking volunteers to fill vacancies on the Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board, or ORSSAB. The board is a federally chartered citizens’ panel that provides recommendations to the agency regarding cleanup activities across the Oak Ridge Reservation.

Chartered in 1995 under the Federal Advisory Committee Act, the board is comprised of up to 22 members that are chosen to reflect the diversity of gender, race, occupation, and interests of people living near the Oak Ridge Reservation.

The board and its EM/Stewardship Committee meet monthly to discuss and develop recommendations on cleanup decisions and topics such as cleanup strategies, hazardous waste management, and long-term stewardship. The board also reviews the Environmental Management program’s planning decisions and cleanup-related documents. All ORSSAB meetings and its committees are open to the public. [Read more…]

Police: Hit-and-run driver in stolen vehicle that crashed arrested in woods at ORNL

Highway 95 Hit and Run Suspect

The Oak Ridge Police Department said officers arrested a suspect, recovered a stolen car, and cleared a crash on State Route 95 between Bear Creek and Bethel Valley roads on Wednesday afternoon. (Photo by ORPD via Twitter) 


A Knoxville man who allegedly crashed a vehicle that had been reported stolen was arrested Wednesday afternoon after he fled into an area between Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Y-12 National Security Complex in west Oak Ridge, authorities said.

The Oak Ridge Police Department responded to the single-vehicle crash on State Route 95 at 2:19 p.m. Wednesday, September 16. The crash occurred as the vehicle left the roadway while proceeding northbound, between Bethel Valley Road and Bear Creek Road, a City of Oak Ridge press release said.

The driver of the crashed vehicle fled eastbound on foot toward the federal sites before officers arrived, the release said. Y-12 and Oak Ridge National Laboratory protective force security officers were notified due to the close proximity to the federal reservations.

“Pro Force Security personnel located and detained the driver of the vehicle almost an hour later in a wooded area on ORNL property, east of Highway 95,” the release said. [Read more…]