Oak Ridge Completes Soil Disposal Project $75 Million Under Original Estimates

DOE’s Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management (OREM) coordinated with regulators and partnered with small businesses to complete a soil disposal project for $1.2 million — nearly $75 million under its original estimated budget. EM crews disposed 4,071 cubic yards of soil that had been in storage since 1989, resulting from the closure of oil retention ponds. The ponds were constructed decades earlier to collect oils, preventing them from seeping from belowground waste sites to nearby surface streams.

DOE Releases RFI/Sources Sought for Knolls Atomic Power Lab & Kesselring Site Environ. Remediation Services

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today issued a Request for Information (RFI)/Sources Sought for the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory and Kesselring Site Environmental Remediation Services, Demolition and Removal Services of Facilities (Contaminated), Waste Management Services, and Regulatory Services

Tech Leaders Create Knoxville Technology Council to Grow Industry

With early buy-in from major employers and leading local tech companies, the newly-formed Knoxville Tech Council (KTech) aims to grow the technology industry in the region.  Chaired by Tom Lakins, a senior leader for Elavon, KTech was created to continue the momentum the local tech industry has experienced of late, with deals like the sale of Cirrus Insights and PerfectServe, the $87 million acquisition of Gridsmart and the acquisition of Sword and Shield.  According to KTech data, local companies and organizations have announced about $25 billion in deals and filed 291 patents in the last year. "Tech is so entwined with Knoxville’s story," said Brandon Bruce, vice president of KTech and founder of Cirrus Insights. "If we don’t have tech here we lose a lot of what makes, in my opinion, the community thrive. You take tech away, I think Knoxville really struggles.”

DOE Announces Preparation of an EIS to Examine Building a Versatile Test Reactor in U.S.

In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) published a Notice of Intent in the Federal Register announcing that the department will develop an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to study the impacts of building a Versatile Test Reactor in the U.S. to test future fuels and materials that industry is designing for advanced civilian nuclear power reactors to provide large amounts of carbon-free, economical electricity for the nation’s power grid.

Nuclear Power Would Get Support in Bipartisan Senate Bill

A bipartisan pair of senators unveiled nuclear energy legislation Wednesday, describing it as a serious and pragmatic approach to tackle climate change and connecting it to rising greenhouse gas emissions specifically. Democrat Chris Coons of Delaware and Republican Martha McSally of Arizona floated the bill, which has support from the nuclear power lobby, as a way to extend the lifespan and efficiency of America’s fleet of nuclear power plants. The legislation would support “advanced nuclear” methods, referring generally to steps to make nuclear power produce less waste and generate electricity more reliably. It would establish a Department of Energy project to cut costs at power stations, increase research and development and create an apprenticeship program for the industry.

Y-12, Pantex Contract Extended for Two Years, $3.8 Billion

The contract to manage and operate the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge and Pantex Plant near Amarillo, Texas, has been extended for two years, and the extension is valued at about $3.8 billion, the National Nuclear Security Administration said Wednesday. More than $500 million in cost savings were verified during the first four years of the consolidated contract, according to the NNSA, which is part of the U.S. Department of Energy and oversees the work at Y-12 and Pantex, among other nuclear weapons sites.

Industry Researchers Launch Energy Storage Research Center

A group of energy industry joined together recently to launch the Energy Storage Research Center on the engineering campus of Southern Research in Birmingham, Ala. The project is a collaboration between Southern Research, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Electric Power Research Institute, Southern Company, Alabama Power, and the state of Alabama.

Protecting Innovations in the New World of AI and Machine Learning

UT professors and researchers across the state are taking the potential of AI and machine learning and applying these techniques to address challenging problems in medicine, engineering, and computer science. UT’s TENNLab team in Knoxville develops neural network architectures and dynamic training algorithms for high-performance, low-energy computing that emulates the human brain, known as neuromorphic computing. Many more applications of AI and ML appear throughout recent UT publications, theses, and dissertations.As more technologies incorporate AI and machine learning, universities and businesses around the world grapple with a central question: how to protect this intellectual property.

Two ORNL Researchers Receive Presidential Early Career Award

Two researchers from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have received a 2019 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, or PECASE. David Cullen, of ORNL's Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences, and Kate Page, of ORNL's Neutron Scattering Division, are among the more than 300 researchers and engineers from around the nation to be recognized with a 2019 PECASE. Established in 1996, the PECASE is "the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on outstanding scientists and engineers beginning their independent careers and who show exceptional promise for leadership in science and technology."

Crews Mobilize to Build Mercury Treatment Facility at Y-12

Oak Ridge Site crews recently mobilized to begin constructing the Outfall 200 Mercury Treatment Facility, vital infrastructure to fulfill EM’s regulatory commitments to reduce mercury levels in the East Fork Poplar Creek and begin large-scale cleanup and demolition at the Y-12 National Security Complex. EM awarded APTIM-North Wind Construction a $91.8 million firm-fixed-price contract in December 2018 to construct the facility. The contract has a four year performance period. The Mercury Treatment Facility will be comprised of two components at two locations — a headworks facility and a treatment plant connected by a pipeline nearly a mile long.