DOE Awards Renewal of Grant to the National Conference of State Legislatures

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Environmental Management Consolidated Business Center (EMCBC) today issued a renewal Agreement to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Agreement, entitled “National Conference of State Legislatures” was renewed for a five-year period of performance beginning September 17, 2018.

Carbon Fiber’s Days As the Car World’s Lightweight Miracle Material May Be Numbered

The automotive world has been obsessed with carbon fiber for decades, ever since the McLaren MP4/1 Formula One race car became the first to use a carbon fiber composite chassis in 1981. Since then, the material’s signature weave, with its legendary blend of strength, stiffness, and low weight, has shown up in all forms of motorsport—as well as virtually every supercar since developed, and a smattering of mainstream road cars. To this day, its use in hoods, roofs, suspension components, strut bars, full chassis, body panels, and even decorative trim panels that serve negligible practical benefits still generates Pavlovian responses among gearheads. 

Lisa Murkowski: The Case for Advanced Nuclear Reactors (opinion)

As recently as a few years ago, a total of 104 nuclear reactors were safely generating clean electricity in the United States, with plans for many more on the horizon. Today, however, we face a very different situation. Our domestic fleet is not growing, but shrinking. Plans for new reactors have mostly been shelved or moved to the back of the line, with just two currently under construction in the U.S. Meanwhile, existing plants are aging and economically challenged by low-cost natural gas and subsidized renewables, making them less competitive in power markets and raising the odds of their early retirement. The consequences of this are already becoming evident.

Former Colorado Nuke Site Opens to Public as Wildlife Refuge

Cyclists and hikers explored a newly opened wildlife refuge at the site of a former nuclear weapons plant in Colorado on Saturday, while a protester in a gas mask brought signs warning about the dangers of plutonium. With no fanfare, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service opened the gates of Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge on the perimeter of a government factory that made plutonium triggers for nuclear bombs for nearly four decades. Spread across a rolling, wind-swept plateau 16 miles (26 kilometers) northwest of downtown Denver, the refuge is a rare oasis of tallgrass prairie, with bears, elk, falcons, songbirds and hundreds of other species. The refuge offers sweeping panoramas of the Rocky Mountain foothills and Denver’s skyscrapers.

Bringing Order to Congress

Earlier this week, the United States Senate passed three appropriations bill that were on time and within budget. That, in itself, may not seem like such an accomplishment. But, according to Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-TN, that is the first time in nearly 10 years the body followed the practice of regular order for appropriations bills from start to finish. The Senate package, which passed 92-5, covered energy and water development and related agencies appropriations, legislative branch appropriations, and military construction, veterans affairs and related agencies appropriations. The $147 billion package, which accounts for nearly 90% of all fiscal 2019 discretionary spending, including the military and most civilian agencies, now goes to the House for final consideration before being sent to the President.

UK and USA Enhance Nuclear Research Cooperation

The UK's National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) and DOE's ORNL have agreed to cooperate on nuclear energy research. The announcement came as the UK and USA signed a nuclear R&D action plan. Under the memorandum of understanding (MoU) - which aims to leverage both organisation's expertise and capabilities - NNL and ORNL will collaborate on nuclear-related projects through idea sharing, staff exchanges and joint workshops. The collaboration will include developing modelling and simulation tools for advanced nuclear reactors, exploring accident-tolerant fuel concepts, developing management and assessment techniques for used fuel, and pursuing the production of isotopes for space, medical and industrial applications. The agreement will run for three years.

Twenty Tons of Uranium could be used to Produce Tritium for Nuclear Weapons

Source: Oak Ridge Today | John Huotari | September 14, 2018

About 20 metric tons of highly enriched uranium could be “down-blended” to low-enriched uranium and transferred to the Tennessee Valley Authority for use as a fuel to produce tritium for nuclear weapons, according to a public notice published in the Federal Register this week.

The project […]

ORNL-Developed Technology Streamlines Computational Science Projects

Since designing and launching a specialized workflow management system in 2010, a research team from DOE's ORNL has continuously updated the technology to help computational scientists develop software, visualize data and solve problems. Workflow management systems allow users to prepare, produce and analyze scientific processes to help simplify complex simulations. Known as the Eclipse Integrated Computational Environment, or ICE, this particular system incorporates a comprehensive suite of scientific computing tools designed to save time and effort expended during modeling and simulation experiments.

Hutchison Provides Update on SH Data Technologies Progress

“Our plan is to have the building finished in November, commissioned in December, and begin offering services in January,” Frank Hutchison told us recently about the new Tier III data center that SH Data Technologies is building. The region’s first center of its type was announced in early January. Since then, a considerable amount has been accomplished at the site of the former Fort Hill Building just east of the Old City. “The fourth floor is about finished, with leasing set to begin. The other floors are gutted and ready . . . they’re a greenfield,” Hutchison said. That allows prospective tenants to configure space to fit their individual needs. The facility, officially known as the Fort Data Center, is the vision of Butch Smith, Founder of Smith & Hammaker, who saw a need for the services, an opportunity to reuse the building that at one time housed offices of several Knox County, and an economic development play for the community.

UCOR Employees Find New Ways to Monitor, Prevent Heat Stress

Temperatures often surge above 90 degrees during summer months here, prompting EM’s Oak Ridge cleanup contractor to search for ways to keep workers safe in the heat and humidity.  Employees at UCOR discovered an app that does just that — the Occupational Safety and Health Administration-National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Heat Safety Tool.