Video Series Highlights Oak Ridge’s Environmental Research, Discovery

The Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management (OREM) is kicking off a four-part video series spotlighting the site’s environmental research. In part one, OREM explores the history and accomplishments of the DOE Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Aquatic Ecology Lab.

Demolition Underway on Oak Ridge’s Final Gaseous Diffusion Facilities

Workers started demolishing the final two buildings at the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP) that once supported Oak Ridge’s gaseous diffusion uranium enrichment process. They are the last of the Poplar Creek facilities, the most contaminated structures remaining at the site.

UPF Site Infrastructure and Services Subproject Honored by DOE

The Uranium Processing Facility Project Site Infrastructure and Services Subproject team was recently honored with the 2018 Department of Energy Project Management Achievement Award.SIS, UPF’s second of seven subprojects, was completed two months ahead of schedule and $18M under budget in February 2018.SIS included the 65,000 square foot Construction Support Building which provides office space for more than 300 UPF Project personnel and is the Y-12 National Security Complex’s first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold building.

ARS International, LLC Honored as Small Business of the Year by CNS

Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC (CNS), the managing operator of the Y-12 National Security Complex, announced on May 7, 2019, that ARS International, LLC, is the Y-12 Small Business of the Year and Karen Prillhart, as the Y-12 Small Business Advocate.The announcements were part of a combined ceremony with the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The three organizations honor outstanding small businesses and local leaders annually at the “Celebrate Oak Ridge Business” breakfast at the Double Tree Hotel.

Reframing Problems with Systems Engineering Thinking

Like many workers today, Mike Sand was asked to do more with less. In his 15 years as a chemist at the Y-12 National Security Complex, he saw the classical chemistry lab staff shrink by more than half, his workload grow, and aging instrumentation increasingly break down. He knew there had to be a better way. That’s when opportunity knocked.In 2016, Sand joined more than a dozen other Y-12 employees in the University of Tennessee master’s degree program in systems engineering development.

Fastest-Growing Nuclear Business Is Tearing Down U.S. Plants

The fastest growing part of the nuclear industry in the U.S. involves a small but expanding group of companies that specialize in tearing reactors down faster and cheaper than ever before.After Entergy Corp. shut its Vermont nuclear plant in 2014, the utility planned to wait until 2068 to dismantle it using a $510 million decommissioning trust fund that would appreciate over time to cover $1.2 billion in anticipated costs. Instead, Entergy sold the plant in January to Northstar Group Services Inc., which plans to do the job by 2026 at a much reduced cost.

Sweet Neutron Science Shines New Light on Dark Chocolate’s Tastiness

Tempering, the heating process that gives chocolate its appealing sheen and creamy texture, is a crucial part of crafting quality chocolate. But, at the molecular level, it gets a little tricky, and when done incorrectly, can render entire batches of chocolate gritty and unappetizing.Looking for improvements, researchers Fernanda Peyronel from the University of Guelph, Ontario, and David Pink from St. Francis Xavier University, Nova Scotia, used a combination of neutrons and x-ray scattering at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge (ORNL) and Argonne National Laboratories to better understand how tempering affects chocolate's microstructure and, consequentially, how that relationship impacts taste.

Improving Isotope Supply for a Cancer-Fighting Drug

Recycled medical devices, diverted from going to a special landfill, supply the key ingredient in a drug that treats prostate cancer. Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed and demonstrated a process to produce actinium-227 using harvested radium-226 from legacy medical devices. The devices are secured by the Department of Energy Isotope Program. Scientists convert the recovered and purified radium-226 into a suitable target for irradiation in a nuclear reactor. The target is irradiated, and actinium-227 is produced. It is separated and purified to supply a pharmaceutical firm’s new cancer-fighting drug. The unconsumed radium target is recycled. 

ORNL and Lincoln Electric to Advance Large-scale Metal Additive Manufacturing Technology

Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Lincoln Electric announced their continued collaboration on large-scale, robotic additive manufacturing technology at the Department of Energy's Advanced Manufacturing InnovationXLab Summit. The new agreement builds upon ORNL and Lincoln Electric's previous developments by extending additive technology to new materials, leveraging data analytics and enabling rapid manufacture of metal components in excess of 100 pounds per hour.These developments will focus on increasing throughput while lowering costs and improving the quality of large-scale additively manufactured metallic structures essential for multiple industrial applications.

Bio-Inspired Material Targets Oceans’ Uranium Stores for Sustainable Nuclear Energy

Scientists have demonstrated a new bio-inspired material for an eco-friendly and cost-effective approach to recovering uranium from seawater.A research team from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of South Florida developed a material that selectively binds dissolved uranium with a low-cost polymer adsorbent. The results, published in Nature Communications, could help push past bottlenecks in the cost and efficiency of extracting uranium resources from oceans for sustainable energy production.