Monthly Archives: February 2016

ORNL’s Sabau and Wagner honored

Adrian_Sabau200Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers Adrian Sabau, pictured left, and Robert Wagner have been appointed fellows of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. The honor recognizes their long-term engineering achievements.Robert_Wagner200

According to information released by ORNL, Sabau was honored for his “significant accomplishments in advancing materials processing and materials development for energy applications based on integrated computational materials science and engineering.”

Sabu is a senior research staff member in the lab’s Materials Science and Technology Division. Continue reading

Landfill site undecided, but early design proceeds

There have been concerns raised about the Department of Energy’s proposed new landfill for nuclear cleanup wastes in Oak Ridge, especially DOE’s preferred location — adjacent to the existing disposal site known as the Environmental Management Waste Management Facility (shown in photo).landfill-thumb-400x265-12706.jpg

Because of questions by environmental regulators and local stakeholders, DOE is evaluating a number of sites on the government’s Oak Ridge reservation while continuing to emphasize the value of disposing of the hazardous and radioactive wastes in Oak Ridge rather than shipping them to commercial sites elsewhere.

Even with the siting decision still up in the air, DOE’s cleanup contractor — URS-CH2M Oak Ridge — is continuing work on design concepts for the landfill to be called Environmental Management Disposal Facility. Continue reading

Cedar Springs Homeschool wins Science Bowl

Cedar Springs Homeschool won the 2016 Tennessee Science Bowl over the weekend and will represent the state at the National Science Bowl in Washington, D.C., April 28-May 2. In addition to the expenses-paid trip to the nation’s capital, the team also won a trophy and $1,000.

A team from Lausanne Collegiate School, which won the event in 2015, finished second. A team from Oak Ridge High School was third, followed by Brentwood High School. Continue reading

Y-12 completes dismantlement of W69 warhead parts

dismantlementNNSA graphic

The Y-12 nuclear weapons plant today announced it had completed its dismantlement role on W69 warheads, which were once deployed on short range attack missiles.

“These weapons components have come full circle,” Geoff Beausoleil, manager of the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Production Office, said in a statement. He was referring to the fact that Y-12 originally built and assembled the same warhead parts that it later took apart during the dismantlement effort.

Parts for the SRAM nuclear weapon system were originally manufactured at Y-12 in the 1970s, Continue reading

A dozen ‘expressions of interest’ received on Emergency Operations project at Y-12

y12overviewConsolidated Nuclear Security, the government’s managing contractor at the Y-12 National Security Complex, said it received “expressions of interest” from 12 firms as part of the solicitation for the design services on the proposed Emergency Operations Center.

Ellen Boatner, a spokeswoman at CNS, said the firms expressed interest in the architecture/engineering services for the project. “An evaluation of the responders are in progress to determine which of the 12 meet qualifications,” Boatner said. Continue reading

Activist group praises ORNL’s reactor report

srswatchTom Clements of Savannah River Site Watch, a group that tracks the movement of nuclear materials, especially those of potential use in nuclear weapons, today praised the release of an Oak Ridge report that addressed the plans at the lab’s High Flux Isotope Reactor but — more importantly, according to the group — identified research reactors worldwide that use bomb-grade uranium for fuel.

Here’s a quote from Clements: Continue reading

Future of ORNL’s reactor is complicated

hfirornlThe High Flux Isotope Reactor has operated since the 1960s at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and it’s considered one of ORNL’s most valuable assets, with plans to keep it running for decades to come.

There are discussions, however, about a billion-dollar replacement reactor to prepare for future needs. A steady stream of neutrons for production of radioisotopes and experiments with materials is considered an essential part of the lab’s missions.

ORNL hosted a workshop last spring to gather input on the needs and requirements for future research reactors at Oak Ridge and elsewhere around the globe. The lab recently released a report that included feedback from the workshop and recommendations.

The topic is not just about research needs at ORNL. Continue reading

Alexander on construction of UPF

As noted earlier, it’s become increasingly difficult to get timely information on the Uranium Processing Facility and work that’s taking place in the multibillion-dollar project’s engineering and design center.  It’s not clear how much of the design has been completed at this point, although project overseers have said they won’t start construction until the design is 90 percent done.alexandersummit

The current year’s funding for UPF is $430 million with a budget request to bump that up to $575 in FY 2017. A spokesman for NNSA declined to provide the current percentage of design completed or provide details on activities taking place.

Asked last week for more information on the project and its status, U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., who heads the Senate Appropriations energy and water subcommittee, said the UPF design needs to be 90 percent by the end of 2017, with construction beginning in 2018. Continue reading

Study touts economic impact of Oak Ridge cleanup

k27A new economic impact study says the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge cleanup program was responsible for about 6,200 jobs — direct and indirect — in Fiscal Year 2014.

The study, which was conducted by the University of Tennessee’s Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy, also said the cleanup-related activities in Oak Ridge added $545 million to the state’s gross domestic product — value of what the state’s economy produces in a single year.

Most of the economic impacts were felt in Anderson and Roane Counties, where the DOE facilities are located, and Knox County, where the greatest number of Oak Ridge workers live. Continue reading