Monthly Archives: October 2012

Y-12 licenses ultraclean technology to Knox firm

A Y-12-developed method (SimWyPES) of creating ultraclean dry surfaces has been licensed to MK Technologies Corp. of Knoxville.
“The environmentally friendly method of removing contamination on a nanoscale level incorporates a highly effective nontoxic proprietary treatment that transfers no residue to cleaned surfaces,” Y-12 said in a statement released today. “A variety of items including cloths, swabs, polishers, filters and sponges can be treated. The company plans to start production in 2013.”

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Veterans Day in Oak Ridge to pay tribute to ‘Forgotten Heroes’ — those who served and died in Vietnam

2012 Vet Day spkr FreddieOwens.jpgThis year’s Department of Energy-sponsored event for Veterans Day will be held Nov. 8 at 10 a.m. at the American Museum of Science and Energy.
The program is entitled, “Our Forgotten Heroes.” It will pay tribute to those who served and died in Vietnam, DOE said.
Featured speaker will be Freddie J. Owens, “twice combat-wounded Vietnam veteran and survivor of the 1962 Ia Drang Valley battle, the first major battle between the U.S. Army and the North Vietnam Army,” DOE said. Owens is pictured at right.

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Strayer fraud case at DOE may be coming to end; Karen Earle agrees to plea bargain

Karen Earle-Strayer, widow of former U.S. Department of Energy executive Michael Strayer, has agreed to plead guilty to a single count in the federal fraud case. Her plea agreement, if accepted by a federal judge in December, could conclude the budding scandal involving DOE’s scientific computing program.
Michael Strayer and his wife, Karen Earle, were indicted earlier this year on 13 charges from a conspiracy to defraud the federal government of more than $1.2 million. The case involved a scheme in which Strayer diverted DOE funds to his girlfriend and eventual wife, paying Earle thousands of dollars for work that was actually done by Oak Ridge National Laboratory — where Strayer worked for 20 years — and other national labs. The money ultimately was poured into a home the couple constructed in Lovettsville, Va., the indictment said.

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IG report says advance distribution of security test at Y-12 was ‘inexplicable and inexcusable’; finds contractor’s denials of cheating unconvincing

Although the Department of Energy’s Inspector General did not find “direct evidence” that former security contractor WSI-Oak Ridge intended to cheat on security tests at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant, the IG said the contractor’s denials of cheating lacked credbility.
The IG’s “special report” released today said that WSI’s distribution of security tests — and answers — to Y-12 guards in advance of scheduled tests by a DOE inspection team was “inexplicable and inexcusable.”

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Recovery Act ‘buy back’ projects at Y-12 focusing on mercury reductions

Some of the Recovery Act-funded cleanup projects at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant were completed under budget and that saved money is being put to use on other cleanup activities. Collectively, they’re referred to as “buy back” projects. Most of them are targeting cleanup of mercury leftover from decades-before Cold War thermonuclear work at the Oak Ridge plant.
“The $32 million remaining after the original projects were completed is being spent on selected ‘buy back’ projects primarily focused on near-term reduction of mercury releases to East Fork Poplar Creek,” federal spokesman Steven Wyatt said.

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Report: Y-12/Pantex contract award won’t come until after the Nov. 6 election

Todd Jacobson of the Nuclear Weapons & Materials Monitor, a subscription newsletter based in Washington, is reporting that the National Nuclear Security Administration will not award the new combined management contract for the Y-12 and Pantex nuclear weapons plants until after the Nov. 6 election. The newsletter said federal officials are now hoping to get the contract award done before Dec. 13 — when the proposals submitted several months ago are due to expire and would have to reconfirmed by the bidding teams. The three bidding teams reportedly received additional questions from NNSA in recent days, with responses due back by Nov. 7.

ORNL expects Titan benchmarking to be done in time for Top500 supercomputer list

Titan_2012-P031562-001.jpgWhen I talked late last week with Jeff Nichols, Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s scientific computing chief, he indicated that the lab had not yet completed the Linpack benchmarking that will be necessary to qualify the new Titan supercomputer for the Top500 list of the world’s fastest computers. However, Nichols said he expected that the benchmark runs would be completed by Nov. 2 — the deadline for submitting the results to the international team that does the list.

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ORNL director’s nuclear trip to China

masonphot.jpgOak Ridge National Laboratory Director Thom Mason was in China last week as part of a U.S. team meeting with counterparts from the Chinese Academy of Science on a Nuclear Energy Collaboration between the two countries. According to info provided by Mason, the U.S. team included Pete Lyons, the Department of Energy’s assistant secretary for nuclear energy, and other DOE staff members; Cecil Parks and Phil Britt from ORNL; along with researchers from the University of California-Berkeley and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Here’s what AMD had to say about Titan rollout

AMD’s processors have been an integral part of the high-performance computing successes at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the past and the present. The Cray system known as Jaguar, which some folks believe was the most scientifically productive computer in history, relied on AMD’s CPUs for its multi-petaflops computing power.
As part of the rollout of Titan, announcing that the machine had been fully installed and was ready to achieve new performance levels for open science, ORNL and Cray and NVIDIA went on a bit of a media tour across the country to get the story out (with an embargo set for 3 a.m. today). NVIDIA, in particular, was getting much attention because its GPUs were an integral part of the hybrid architecture and helped boost the computing power tremendously.
On Friday evening, I was forwarded some comments from AMD, which seemed to indicate that the company didn’t feel like it was getting sufficient credit during the rollout of Titan — with maybe too much attention on the GPUs (although NVIDIA is never mentioned by name). Here’s the AMD statement:

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