News

DOE May Have Mistakenly Shipped Dangerous Nuclear Materials to Nevada

The U.S. Department of Energy may have mistakenly shipped “reactive” nuclear material that was incorrectly labeled as low-level radioactive waste into Nevada in dozens of shipments over the past six years. The shipments started in 2013 and stopped in December 2018. They were supposed to send only low-level radioactive waste from the department’s Y-12 facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, to the Nevada National Security Site, roughly 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas, for secure disposal. But on July 3, the Energy Department informed Nevada officials, that reactive material — which might be unstable under normal conditions and may have violent reactions when combined with other substances — may have been included in those shipments.

U.S. to Extend Nuclear Reactor Lifespans in Bid to Revive Industry

The United States plans to extend the lifespans of existing nuclear reactors and support new technologies as it seeks to revive an industry seen as crucial to its energy security, a senior U.S. official said on Thursday. U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette told an International Energy Agency conference on nuclear and hydrogen in Paris that both technologies were crucial for reducing carbon emissions and boosting energy security. Most U.S. reactors already have seen their licenses extended to 60 years from 40 years.

East Tennessee Research Could Help NASA Reach Mars

Researchers from East Tennessee have been part of almost every major technical advancement over the last 75 years. From nuclear energy to computers to touchscreen smartphones, Oak Ridge scientists have played their part. One of their next projects - helping power NASA's future missions into deep space. Morris Hassler is the senior director of Global Security and Strategic Partnerships at Y-12 National Complex. He oversaw the Kilopower Reactor Using Stirling Technology project, nicknamed KRUSTY. Right now, NASA uses solar power for almost everything in space, but there are some places where the sun isn't an option.

Oak Ridge Early Career Professional Leads Reactor Closeout Project, Speaks at Millennial Nuclear Caucus

Oak Ridge recently hosted the Millennial Nuclear Caucus, where Tommy Morgan, an early career professional, talked about his role leading a complex EM cleanup project. Launched by Energy Secretary Rick Perry, the caucus regularly brings together innovatorsbetween the ages of 18 and 35 from across the country to discuss the future of nuclear energy and other topics across the nuclear field. Morgan, an employee of Oak Ridge Office of EM cleanup contractor UCOR, is a fast-rising professional. A nuclear engineer by training, Morgan served as a reactor technical reviewer with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, gaining experience in safe reactor operations. Later, he worked at the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Watts Bar Nuclear Plant.

The Titan Supercomputer Decommissioning

The old gives way to new at Oak Ridge National Lab. The Titan supercomputer is being replaced by Frontier, and it's a super-sized task. A supercomputer deployed in 2012 is going into retirement after seven years of hard work, but the task of decommissioning it is not trivial. The Cray XK7 “Titan” supercomputer at the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is scheduled to be decommissioned on August 1 and disassembled for recycling.

Rickey McCallum Named VP at UT Research Park

Rickey McCallum has been named a Vice President of the University of Tennessee (UT) Research Park, according to Tom Rogers, the organization’s President and Chief Executive Officer. The former Associate Director for Industry Engagement and Strategic Research Partnerships in UT’s Office of Corporate and Foundation Engagement served in that role for five years before joining the UT Research Park team July 1. McCallum previously worked for TVA and a number of other private companies in the region.

NRC Sets Hearing on Oak Ridge Site for SMRs

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has scheduled a hearing for an application for a site in west Oak Ridge where small modular nuclear reactors could be built. The hearing has been scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday, August 14, at the NRC in Rockville, Maryland. The NRC will discuss an early site permit application submitted by the Tennessee Valley Authority for the Clinch River Nuclear Site. TVA has proposed using the 935-acre site, which is along the Clinch River south of Heritage Center (the former K-25 site), to build two or more small modular reactors. The site once hosted the former Clinch River Breeder Reactor Project.

New Knoxville Technology Council Schedules Inaugural Event for August 15

Several years of effort by a core group of technology-focused individuals will reach fruition on August 15 when the Knoxville Technology Council (KTech) holds its launch event at Jewelry TV, 9600 Parkside Drive. The mid-afternoon to early evening event begins at 3 p.m. and will feature a series of live demonstrations of locally-developed technologies and will culminate with networking on the Jewelry TV rooftop bar. Individuals interested in attending can register here.

Atomic Heritage Foundation and National Museum of Nuclear Science & History Forge Partnership to Preserve History

With an agreement signed on June 28, 2019, the Atomic Heritage Foundation and the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History (pictured) are forging a new partnership to preserve the history of the Manhattan Project and the Atomic Age. This significant agreement will ensure that the Atomic Heritage Foundation’s extensive collection of oral histories, interpretive vignettes, and articles about the Manhattan Project and its legacy will remain available to the public for the foreseeable future.

New UTK Dean of Engineering Brings Work Experience with Industry

Janis Terpenny, professor and Peter and Angela Dal Pezzo Chair and head of the Penn State Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering, has announced that she will join the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, effective July 15, 2019. She will serve as the Wayne T. Davis Endowed Dean’s Chair and dean of the Tickle College of Engineering. brings an impressive resume from an industrial perspective to the position. That experience was spotlighted in an article posted by her current employer (below)– Pennsylvania State University – which she joined four years ago as Director of the Center for e-Design.