Monthly Archives: May 2016

ORNL signs sharing pact with Cincinnati Inc. on additive manufacturing developments

additive2The Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) 3-D printer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility is a result of the lab’s partnership with Cincinnati Inc. (ORNL photo)

Oak Ridge National Laboratory announced Tuesday it has signed a “nonexclusive licensing agreement” with Cincinnati Inc. that allows the Ohio company to use ORNL patents related to large-scale 3-D manufacturing.

“Under the agreement, Cincinnati Incorporated may make, use or sell the lab’s patented developments of enhanced additive manufacturing with a reciprocating platen that enables the manufacture of parts much larger and with higher quality than current standards,” the lab said in the announcement. Continue reading

Klotz to visit Y-12 later this week


NNSA Administrator Frank G. Klotz will reportedly pay a visit to the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant later this week, arriving Thursday in time for an all-hands meeting and then engaging in unspecified activities on Friday. No word on any special reasons for the visit. Klotz, a retired Air Force lieutenant general who served as commander of the Global Strike Command, was confirmed as head of the National Nuclear Security Administration in April 2014. (Munger photo)

Tarcza named manager of DOE’s Oak Ridge Office

16-096-9508Kenneth R. Tarcza, former chief of staff for the U.S. Army Research Development and Engineering Command, has been named manager of the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Office. As part of that role, he will oversee the Integrated Support Center, which provides services to multiple national laboratories and Office of Science sites.

His appointment was announced Monday by the DOE’s Office of Science. Don Thress has been acting in the position since Kevin Hall departed last year.

Tarcza retired from the Army in 2015 as a colonel. Among his career roles, he served with the U.S. Army Research Laboratory at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. Continue reading

GE uses ORNL’s Titan to study combustion

combustionA simulation of combustion within two adjacent gas turbine combustors. (ORNL image)

General Electric has used Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Titan supercomputer — a Cray XK7 system capable of more than 20 million billion calculations per second — to simulate combustion and increase the efficiency of GE’s H class natural gas-powered turbines, which are reportedly the most efficient turbines of their kind. Continue reading

Rad levels down significantly at sewer plant

radsludgeLevels of radioactivity at a city of Oak Ridge sewage treatment plant have been reduced by 90 percent over the past two years, according to a Department of Energy contractor in charge of the cleanup.

Anne Smith, a spokeswoman for URS-CH2M Oak Ridge, said the contractor recently completed its 18th shipment of radioactive sludge — totaling 90,000 gallons — to a treatment facility in Washington state.

Sludge has been removed periodically from the Rarity Ridge Wastewater Treatment Plant to help reduce the levels of radioactive technetium-99, which infiltrated pipelines leading to the sewage plant during demolition activities at the former K-25 uranium-enrichment facility. Continue reading

Atomic basketball (1947)

26307398691_5e515acf6b_kBasketball was big in Oak Ridge during the 1940s. In fact, my mother, who worked for the Parks and Recreation Department during the World War II Manhattan Project, said she first saw my father at a basketball game in Oak Ridge. “He had nice legs,” she said. In this Dec. 28, 1947 photograph, the Oak Ridge Elks Club is playing a team from Maryville. (Department of Energy archives/Ed Westcott photo)

Dangling warhead part

Working with nuclear weapons is a very precise business, but there are times when things don’t go exactly as planned.beta2e2

That seemed to be the case in an incident at the Beta-2E assembly/disassembly center at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant that was included in an April 15 report by staff of the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board.

According to that report, workers encountered a situation where an overhead crane “continued to lower a component after the worker operating the crane had released the ‘down’ pushbutton.” Continue reading

Alexander responds to ITER report

alexandersummitU.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, in a statement released by his office Thursday, responded to the Department of Energy’s report that recommends continued U.S. participation in the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor. Alexander and Sen. Dianne Feinstein reportedly met with Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz on Wednesday to discuss the report’s findings and recommendations.

While he didn’t declare absolute opposition to ITER, Alexander noted there are other big science projects — including a second Target Station at the Spallation Neutron Source at Oak Ridge National Laboratory — that should be given priority over ITER. The Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Bill, which Alexander authored, contains no money for U.S. involvement in ITER for FY 2017. There is still a chance that money for ITER could be included during Senate and House conference on the energy and water appropriations.

Here’s the Alexander statement: Continue reading

EnergySolutions decision may derail Secret City rail trips

railIt looks like the Secret City Excursion Train, an Oak Ridge tourist attraction, may be derailed.

The owner of the rail line — Utah-based EnergySolutions — said Thursday it will no longer allow passenger traffic because of liability concerns. The change is effective May 31.

For the past seven years, EnergySolutions has allowed the Southern Appalachian Railroad Museum, a nonprofit entity that sponsors the Secret City Excursions, to use the Heritage Railroad short line at no cost. Continue reading