Monthly Archives: June 2012

Pakistan, Indonesia, Kazakhstan among countries at nuke security workshop at Y-12

More than 20 countries sent representatives to the World Institute for Nuclear Security (WINS) workshop held this week at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant, according to info from the National Nuclar Security Administration.
Countries represented at the workshop included Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Indonesia, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Africa, Spain, Taiwan, The Netherlands, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and, of course, the United States.

Continue reading

Y-12 going gaga over cool roofs

According to the triannual Y-12 Report, the Oak Ridge nuclear manufacturing plant has been installing cool roofs since 2008 — a couple of years before Energy Secretary Steven Chu made it a priority for the federal agency’s facilities.
“In the past decade, more than 20 acres of old roofing at Y-12 have been replaced with new roofing,” the Report said. “Of that number, six acres, or 258,000 squafe feet, are white roofs.”

Continue reading

Lock out/tag out work resumes at Y-12

B&W Y-12, the government’s contractor at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant, said it had resumed all lock out/tag out jobs at the Oak Ridge facilities. The contractor last month suspended all those safety-related tasks following a series of incidents.
B&W spokeswoman Ellen Boatner said the lock out/tag out work has resumed gradually over the past month as corrective reviews were done, and she emphasized that the resumption of wor included new “compensatory measures” — notably more management and technical oversight.

Continue reading

WSI rated ‘good,’ gets $1.43M for Y-12 work

WSI-Oak Ridge, the National Nuclear Security Administration’s protective force contractor at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant, got $1,437,545.64 in fees for the six-month period that ended March 31. According to a June 14 letter to NNSA Production Office contracting officer Philip Kirby, WSI’s performance for the period was rated “good.” The fee received was 93 percent of the total available ($1.545M) for the period.

ORNL preparing for plutonium project; target loading set July 30

hfir.jpgAs noted previously, Oak Ridge National Laboratory is getting ready for a $20 million pilot project to show lab’s ability to produce and process plutonium-238 for the space program.
ORNL reactor chief Ron Crone, and Jeff Binder, the interim associate lab director for nuclear science and engineering, said the plan is to load the neptunium-237 targets into the High Flux Isotope Reactor for the next fuel cycle, No. 444. That cycle is scheduled to begin July 30, following a maintenance and refueling outage.

Continue reading

Colorado on fire

A couple of Oak Ridge Associated Universities employees, Ron Edmond and Jeff Leifel, traveled to Pueblo, Colo., this week to attend an emergency management conference. After they arrived, however, they learned of crisis in nearby El Paso County as a result of the Waldo Canyon fire, and they volunteered to help with the crisis communication, public affairs and work with social media, ORAU spokeswoman Sarah Beene said via email.

Kohlhorst: ‘I’m not ready to retire just yet’

At an event earlier this month to celebrate Y-12 achieving “Star” status in the Dept. of Energy’s Voluntary Protection Program, I had a chance to talk with B&W Y-12 President and General Manager Darrel Kohlhorst. Among other things, I asked him about the ongoing competition for the consolidated contract to manage the Y-12 and Pantex nuclear weapons plants and whether he’d be sticking around if B&W emerges as a winner in that competition.Todd Jacobson of Nuclear Weapons & Materials Monitor recently reported that Mary Pat Salomone, chief operating officer for Babcock & Wilcox, is heading the B&W-led team that reportedly includes URS, Northrop Grumman and Honeywell, while Y-12 Deputy GM Jim Haynes is heading a Bechtel-led team that includes Lockheed Martin and ATK.

WSI: will work with DOE on TRU decision

Courtney Henry, spokeswoman for federal security contractor WSI-Oak Ridge, said the company will support the Department of Energy’s decision to remove the security guards from the Transuranic Waste Processing Center.
“WSI Oak Ridge respects the decisions of our customers’ assessments and works with them to ensure the best decisions are made on moving forward with plans following assessments,” Henry said in email response to questions.

Continue reading

Duke, ORNL to develop graduate program

Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Duke University signed an agreement earlier this week to develop a graduate student education program.
According to the announcement, “Duke graduate students will join interdisciplinary research teams at ORNL that will expose them to large scale, problem-oriented research and development, foster their ability to work across disciplinary boundaries, encourage them to approach research problems from new directions, and strengthen their ability to work in teams.”

Continue reading

Two Knox small businesses get DOE grants

Two Knoxville-based companies were among 104 small businesses nationwide that were awarded grants Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Energy.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced that the grants will total more than $102 million and will go to businesses in 25 states to help companies continue working on “promising technologies with a strong potential for commercialization and job creation.”

Continue reading

Weird & wonderful: ORNL’s High Flux Isotope Reactor sometimes attracts the unusual

IMG_0682.JPGThe High Flux Isotope Reactor has been a research workhorse since the 1960s, reliably producing radioisotopes for medicine and industry and generating a bountiful stream of neutrons for science experiments that explore the very essence of materials.
But the Oak Ridge reactor also has a wild and crazy side and occasionally gets called upon for unusual tasks, such as determining whether POTUS No. 12 was poisoned or helping the Mars candy folks get the desired crunch in their new Pretzel M&M’s.
oillamp.jpgOver the past two years, rare archaeological artifacts — some of them excavated at the ancient city of Petra (in current-day Jordan) — were brought to Oak Ridge National Laboratory for 3-D neutron images that in some cases answered scholars’ questions about an object’s identity or shed new light on how they were made.
Lamp_transmission (3).jpg“It was very exciting,” Hassina Bilheux, ORNL’s lead scientist for neutron imaging, said Wednesday. “You don’t usually get to touch these things. These are museum collections that are behind glass. This is pretty amazing.”

Continue reading