UT, CNS support camp that lets students study space shuttle debris

Shuttle Debris at UT, CNS, ASM Camp

CNS Y-12’s Steve Dekanich holds up a piece of the remains of the space shuttle Columbia during a materials science camp session on Monday. (Submitted photo)


KNOXVILLE—An ASM International Materials Camp supported by the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and scientists at CNS Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge is giving local students the chance to study debris from the space shuttle Columbia, with an eye on improving materials used in space flight.

“This is a great opportunity for local kids to get involved with materials science and see how it affects a lot of different disciplines,” said Steve Dekanich, senior metallurgist at CNS Y-12 and the leader of this year’s camp. “People can tend to focus on the really specialized things that materials science studies, but the reality is that it plays a part in many things that people don’t realize, from energy to design.”

Dekanich recalled how he met NASA’s Steve McDanels at a conference in Hawaii, with the two hitting it off immediately.

McDanels, who heads up NASA’s materials science division at Kennedy Space Center, has spent years doing studies and analysis for the agency, including work related to the shuttles, the International Space Station, and various hardware. He offered Dekanich the chance to have his campers study NASA debris for the first time in 2006, with the offer being gladly accepted. [Read more…]

Driver airlifted to hospital after crashing through guardrail, into rock embankment

Chevrolet Cavalier Crash at Highway 95

The driver of this Chevrolet Cavalier was flown by a medical helicopter to a hospital after apparently crashing through a guardrail and into a rock embankment, right, below a DOE haul road on Highway 95 in west Oak Ridge on Wednesday afternoon.


A car driver was flown by medical helicopter to a hospital after crashing through a guardrail and into a rock embankment below a U.S. Department of Energy haul road that crosses over Highway 95 in west Oak Ridge on Wednesday afternoon.

The name and condition of the driver weren’t immediately available after the one-vehicle, one-person crash. The collision occurred in a curvy section of Highway 95 near the western entrance to the Y-12 National Security Complex on Bear Creek Road.

The haul road is used to move debris from the East Tennessee Technology Park, the former K-25 site, to the Environmental Management Waste Management Facility west of Y-12. [Read more…]

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…]

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…]

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…]

Youth to demonstrate in Oak Ridge, say ‘no’ to ‘bomb plant’

OREPA Spring Demonstration at Y-12

Members of Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance and supporters gather across from the Y-12 National Security Complex to protest the plant’s proposed Uranium Processing Facility in April 2013. (File photo)


Young people from Knoxville and Maryville have planned a peace rally, demonstration, and march in Oak Ridge on Saturday to protest the proposed Uranium Processing Facility, which they call a “bomb plant,” at Y-12 National Security Complex, a press release said.

The peace rally and demonstration is called Action for Peace and Disarmament, and it starts at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, May 2, at Alvin K. Bissell Park with a bring-your-own-picnic lunch, a press release said. It will be followed by a youth led program at 1 p.m. and a march to the Y-12 at 2 p.m.

“While young people will provide the leadership, the event is open to people of all ages,” organizers said in the press release. [Read more…]

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…]

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…]

20th Anniversary Tennessee Valley Corridor Summit at ETSU May 27-28

Tennessee Valley Corridor Logo


The Tennessee Valley Corridor will hold its 20th Annual TVC National Summit in Johnson City at East Tennessee State University on May 27-28.

The Summit will be hosted by ETSU President Brian Noland, in cooperation with Congressman Phil Roe, with the theme “Education Fuels the TVC Economy.”

“From our region’s community colleges to our outstanding four-year universities, the Corridor has a strong foundation to prepare the next generation of the workforce,” Roe said. “As co-chairman of the Tennessee Valley Corridor Caucus, I look forward to sharing some of the work that is ongoing in Congress. The Summit will look at education from the business and industry perspective and discuss how to ensure the workforce has the skills they need to find quality jobs at home, and how our educational institutions can partner with businesses and organizations for better success, which is critical for us all to learn about.” [Read more…]

CNS donates $25K to Boys, Girls Clubs; others match the gift

CNS Donation to Boys and Girls Club

Boys and Girls Clubs of the Clinch Valley founder and Executive Director Emeritus Lawrence Hahn, center, discusses the history of the organization with CNS President and CEO Jim Haynes, left, and the club’s Chief Volunteer Officer Gerald Boyd. (Photo courtesy CNS)


Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC has donated $25,000 to Boys and Girls Clubs of the Clinch Valley, and that gift has been matched—for a total of $50,000. The money will be used for a new roof at the Oak Ridge facility.

CNS President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Haynes presented a symbolic $25,000 check to the Oak Ridge unit during a ceremony on Thursday. Representatives of some of the 16 organizations that matched the CNS donation were also present.

“On behalf of our 5,000 employees at Y-12, we are extremely pleased to contribute to an Oak Ridge organization that makes such a difference in young peoples’ lives,” Haynes said. “Y-12 employees have a long history of serving this community, and we are honored to continue that tradition. The Oak Ridge Boys and Girls Club has served the community for decades, and we are proud to contribute so that it can continue to serve for decades to come.” [Read more…]