News

DOE Memo: Environmental Management Chief Resigns, Office’s No. 2 Replaced

Major personnel changes at some of the highest levels of DOE and its semiautonomous National Nuclear Security Administration are under way, according to a department announcement reviewed by the Aiken Standard on Friday. Anne Marie White – the woman atop the DOE Office of Environmental Management, the Savannah River Site landlord – has submitted her resignation, according to the announcement, which is signed off with the names of Secretary of Energy Rick Perry and the Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette. White's resignation is effective June 14. The assistant secretary for environmental management was confirmed in March 2018, bringing her total time at the helm to just over one year.

South Texas Among Options to Scrap Nuclear Ship

Brownsville is one of four cities where the Department of the Navy will hold public meetings about the environmental impact of scrapping the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. The Department of the Navy plans to prepare an environmental impact statement to evaluate potential environmental impacts associated with the disposal of the decommissioned and defueled U.S.S. Enterprise (CVN 65), according to a source familiar with the plans. The notification of the proposed action will be published in the Federal Register on Friday, the source said.

Get Serious About Burying Nuclear Waste

If the U.S. is serious about climate change, we must become serious about nuclear energy. Roughly 60% of America’s carbon-free energy comes from nuclear power. That’s more than three times the energy produced by wind and more than 18 times the amount from solar. Ninety-seven civilian nuclear plants generate roughly 20% of America’s electricity. But nuclear energy creates waste. Spent nuclear fuel sits at 121 sites in 39 states. Some is from military operations, such as powering the Navy’s submarines and aircraft carriers. Most comes from commercial power plants. While this spent fuel poses no immediate safety or environmental threat to the public, we need a permanent solution for its disposal.

TVC National Summit Touts Chattanooga’s ORNL Ties, High-Speed Internet

Chattanooga's ties with Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the city's ultra-fast internet were touted on Wednesday at the start of the two-day Tennessee Valley Corridor National Summit here. "The city's partnership with ORNL is embedded in Chattanooga," said U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn., about the research connections and an office that the national lab has in the Scenic City.

Knoxville Cybersecurity Company Acquired by Equity Firm

Knoxville-based cybersecurity firm Sword & Shield Enterprise Security has been acquired by growth equity firm Sunstone Partners, which is merging multiple companies to create Avertium. The acquisition, announced Thursday, was made in March, according to John McNeely, who served as president and CEO of Sword & Shield Enterprise Security and will now serve as general manager for Avertium's east operations.

IIA Announces Two Senior Hires of Proven Industry Veterans

IIA is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Jean-Philippe Blaudeau as Vice President of R&D Programs. Dr. Blaudeau will direct R&D efforts across IIA with an emphasis on Big Data initiatives and High-Performance Computing (HPC). Dr. Blaudeau has served as the Technical Lead with DoD's HPC Modernization Program, as Staff Scientist on the Army HPC Research Program, and at an HPC center in the Intelligence Community. He was also a Technical Fellow at Engility. Dr. Blaudeau earned his Ph.D. from Ohio State University.

Oak Ridge Contractor Awards STEM Grants to Local Schools

Designing and building a robot. Learning to print in 3-D. Researching current events and then producing a news media show. These are a few of the activities local schools will now be able to offer students thanks to grants from the Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management’s cleanup contractor UCOR. This year, the company awarded 36 grants totaling $27,500 to those schools for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) projects. Known as mini-grants, the awards range from $500 to $1,000 and will be used to purchase materials to enhance STEM education.

Unexpected Observation of Ice at Low Temperature, High Pressure Questions Ice, Water Theory

Through an experiment designed to create a super-cold state of water, scientists at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory used neutron scattering to discover a pathway to the unexpected formation of dense, crystalline phases of ice thought to exist beyond Earth’s limits. Observation of these particular crystalline ice phases, known as ice IX, ice XV and ice VIII, challenges accepted theories about super-cooled water and amorphous, or non-crystalline, ice. The researchers’ findings, reported in the journal Nature, will also lead to better basic understanding of ice and its various phases found on other planets and moons and elsewhere in space.

Summit Charts a Course to Uncover the Origins of Genetic Diseases

Environmental conditions, lifestyle choices, chemical exposure, and foodborne and airborne pathogens are among the external factors that can cause disease. In contrast, internal genetic factors can be responsible for the onset and progression of diseases ranging from degenerative neurological disorders to some cancers. A team led by Ivaylo Ivanov of Georgia State University used the 200-petaflop IBM AC922 Summit system, the world’s smartest and most powerful supercomputer, to develop an integrative model of the transcription preinitiation complex (PIC), a complex of proteins vital to gene expression. Results from this work are published in Nature Structural & Molecular Biology.

Why Corned Beef Sandwiches — And The Rest Of The Universe — Exist

It's easy to take corned beef sandwiches for granted. There's no mystery about them. They simply exist. But corned beef sandwiches, along with everything else in the universe, raise a critical question in the minds of physicists: Why do they exist? In the earliest moments of the universe, energy turned into matter. But matter comes in two forms, matter and antimatter. And when a particle of matter encounters a particle of antimatter, they annihilate each other — and all you're left with is light. The universe tends to be a symmetrical place, so it's reasonable to assume that at the dawn of the universe, matter and antimatter were produced in equal amounts. Somehow, somewhere, there had to be a slight imbalance — a bit more matter than antimatter — or else the universe would be just a big ball of light with no you or me or stars or galaxies or corned beef sandwiches. Physicists believe something called the "electric dipole moment" of the neutron might just hold the answer. So when Indiana University physicist Chen-Yu Liu is asked why she's spending her research life looking for a rather obscure property of an atomic particle, she's ready with a response: "I say I am trying to understand why we exist."