The National Nuclear Security Adminstration has approved a three-year project to make plutonium oxide at Savannah River’s H Canyon chemical separations area. The work is to provide feedstock for the MOX fuel project in preparation at the South Carolina site. Rob Pavey of the Augusta Chronicle has the story.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers shared in three of the nine Secretary of Energy Achievement Awards that were presented last Friday in Washington, D.C.
According to information provided by ORNL, Jeff Binder and Jeremy Busby were recognized for their contributions to DOE’s response to the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan on March 11. The tsunami caused extensive damage to the nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. In addition to Binder and Busby, other Oak Ridge staff members who received letters of thanks from Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy Pete Lyons were George Flanagan, Matthew Francis, Ian Gauld, Jess Gehin, Larry Ott, Mike Poore, Joel Risner, Venu Varma, John Wagner, Chuck Weber and Grady Yoder.
B&W Y-12 photo
B&W Y-12, in conjunction with Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge, delivered reflective “safety bats” and a few safety tips to about 2,500 schoolkids today to help make their Halloween experience a safe one. In the photo, B&W’s Sam Lariviere hands out safety bats to Glenwood Elementary School students, from right, Tyson Anderson, Cre Thompson, Jackson Moberly and Bella Moberly.
With October at a close, USEC Inc. this evening issued another statement on the American Centrifuge Project regarding its still-uncertain future.
The company said it is continuing discussions with the U.S. Department of Energy on a “Research, Development and Demonstration” program “to future reduce technical project execution and financial risks for commercializing the technology.”
USEC said that program is expected to involve manufacturing and operating additional production-design machines “so that key systems can be tested as they would actually operate at the scale necessary for full commercialization.” The company said it is working with DOE and Congress on “support” for the program.
Here’s a link to Sunday’s editorial in The New York Times, “The Bloated Nuclear Weapons Budget.” Among the items recommended for cutting is the proposed multi-billion-dollar Uranium Processing Facility at Y-12.
A public panel discussion of arms control agreements, including the New START Treaty, and nuclear security will feature two U.S. diplomats as well as a number of technical experts from Oak Ridge. The event will be held Tuesday, Nov. 1, at 7 p.m. in the Crest Room of the Carolyn P. Brown Memorial University Center. It’s free and open to the public.
Among those participating will be Ambassadors Bonnie Jenkins and Thomas Graham, Jr..
There have been problems with the Recovery Act-funded West End Mercury Area cleanup project at Y-12, as reported, and the project is winding toward a close with the overall success still a question mark. But Chris Leichtweis, head of Safety and Ecology Corp., one of the main contractors on the project, was pretty upbeat in his description of the work.
Bob Fowler has the story over at Knoxnews.com on yesterday’s “Day of Remembrance” events in Oak Ridge, honoring those who worked in the Cold War nuclear weapons complex and those who suffered debilitating or fatal diseases from workplace exposures.
Andrew Wereszczak of Oak Ridge National Laboratory has been selected a fellow of the American Ceramic Society.
Wereszczak, a researcher in the lab’s Materials Science & Technology Division, is focused on the relationship between mechanical response of brittle materials and their microstructure, and the design of structural components made from them. According to ORNL, his work “has helped evaluate and develop materials and components for use in advanced gas turbine and internal combustion engines, hybrid bearings, diesel particulate filters, thermoelectric devices and photovoltaic applications among many others.”
What’s that, you say? Yes, the Dept. of Energy’s Inspector General staff actually seemed to approve of the way the National Nuclear Security Administration carried out the contracting work for its Global Threat Reduction Initiative.
It wasn’t gushy or anything like that, but the IG report issued today was very much a positive one.
Here’s an excerpt from the report’s conclusions and observations:
Here are more not-so-glamorous photographs from the early years at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, circa 1947. They come from ORNL archives, as passed along by Tim Gawne, and were presumably shot by famed government photographer Ed Westcott. They give a feel for what it was like to walk about the big Manhattan Project installation, which in the immediate postwar years was still very much a behind-the-fences encampment.
Cam Hubbard, a distinguished research staffer and group leader in Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Materials Science & Technology Division, been selected as a fellow of ASM International.
Hubbard heads the Diffraction & Thermophysical Properties research group. He was recognized by ASM International, a scientific society, for “exceptional leadership and innovation in applying X-ray and neutron diffraction methods in materials science, and for developing a world-class neutron residual stress capability at the national Spallation Neutron Source.”
George Dongdong Jia, a materials scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, was fined $30,000 as part of plea agreement in federal court in Alaska. According to the AP story, he admitted illegally selling a polar bear hide, a walrus tusk and a black rhinoceros foot online to an undercover U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agent.
ORNL spokeswoman Barbara Penland today confirmed that Jia is still an active employee in the lab’s Chemical Sciences Division, but she would not discuss his future status.