Category Archives: ORAU

Nevada institute’s bid to manage ORISE

As posted earlier, Desert Research Institute in September submitted a proposal to manage the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education. DRI is apparently the only competitor to Oak Ridge Associated Universities, the incumbent, which has managed ORISE since its inception and has been a government contractor for decades.dri2

What’s unusual about the DRI bid is the amount of information that’s been made publicly available regarding its proposal. That’s because in order to help prepare for potentially taking over management of the Oak Ridge institute, DRI — a non-profit research arm of the Nevada System of Higher Education — needed to get the approval of the system’s Board of Regents to form a non-profit entity in Tennessee — to be called DRI Tennessee. As part of that process, DRI provided a briefing paper for the board, and it’s posted online. Continue reading

Report: Desert Institute bidding for ORISE contract

According to a report by Daniel Rothberg in the Las Vegas Sun, the Desert Research Institute submitted a proposal to manage the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge institute for Science and Education. Oak Ridge Associated Universities, the longtime incumbent, also submitted a bid.orise

ORAU’s current contract is due to expire Dec. 31. The proposals were due Sept. 8, and the bidders have reportedly gone through the oral presentations as a followup. The Department of Energy has declined to discuss the bids or say when a winner will be announced. Continue reading

ORAU awards education grants

Oak Ridge Associated Universities has awarded $32,000 in educational grants to local schools. The awards went to 28 teachers at nine East Tennessee schools, and the money will be used for such things as the purchase of microscopes, Chromebooks and various teaching materials, according to information provided by ORAU. Projects were funded at Briceville Elementary School, Clinton Elementary School, Dutch Valley Elementary School, Fairview Elementary School, Lake City Middle School, Linden Elementary School, North Clinton Elementary School, Robertsville Middle School, and Willow Brook Elementary School.

Hearing loss among former workers

k25viewThe Department of Energy’s 2014 annual report for the Former Worker Medical Screening Program contains a bunch of interesting information about worker health issues, and I’ll report more on this later.

One of the most widespread medical issues among former workers is hearing loss, and this is particularly notable among former production workers at the department’s gaseous diffusion plants — such as K-25 in Oak Ridge (pictured). Continue reading

How much does a security clearance cost?

Weapons Plant IntrusionThe answer to the above question depends on what type of security clearance you’re talking about.

In the Department of Energy’s Request for Proposals for the contract to manage the Oak Ridge Institute for Science & Education, would-be bidders are given information to estimate the number and cost of security clearances. Continue reading

DOE releases RFP for ORISE contract

reactsWorkers conduct an emergency exercise at the Radiation Emergency Assistance Center/Training Site in Oak Ridge. REACTS is a part of DOE’s Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education. (ORISE photo)

The Department of Energy today released its Request for Proposals for management of the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education — a contract currently held by Oak Ridge Associated Universities. ORAU has already stated that it plans to submit a proposal in hopes of keeping the contract.

Proposals will be due Sept. 8, no later than 2 p.m., and DOE said offerors are “strongly encouraged” not to wait until the last minute.

According to the RFP, the new contract will be a cost-plus-award-fee contract and will have a five-year base term. “New to the ORISE contract is the inclusion of a non-monetary performance incentive which allows the earning of up to an additional five years of contract term for exemplary performance,” the executive summary states. Continue reading

ORISE to mentor Fayetteville State

oraupicThe Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, which is managed by Oak Ridge Associated Universities, has signed a two-year mentor-protege agreement with Fayetteville State University. Fayetteville State was founded as the Howard School in North Carolina, and it is among the historically black colleges and universities in the DOE mentor-protege program.

Robotics & engineering

roboticsOak Ridge Associated Universities last week hosted 26 students (7th, 8th and 9th graders) for the annual Oak Ridge Robotics Academy. “We call it a robotics academy, but it’s really an engineering academy,” Tad Douce, the director, said in a statement. “Our main goal is to get students to work with others, think logically and solve problems.”

The week-long, free camp was held at ORAU’s Center for Science Education. Students were placed into teams and given engineering challenges on a daily basis — such as programming their robot to solve a maze without being controlled. Continue reading

Oak Ridge beryllium lab accredited

berylliumThe Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge beryllium laboratory, which is managed by Oak Ridge Associated Universities, has been accredited by the American College of Pathologists for the third time since 2009.

The Oak Ridge lab is reportedly one of only three in the United States that’s certified to do the lymphocyte proliferation test, which determines whether a worker has become sensitized to the lightweight metal. Workplace exposures to beryllium can lead to development of chronic beryllium disease, an incurable respiratory ailment. Continue reading

ORAU’s Timmerman honored

Heidi Timmerman of Oak Ridge Associated Universities this week received the Facility Management Contractor Procurement Director of the Year award for Fiscal Year 2014, according to information released by ORAU. The award was made at the 14th Annual DOE Small Business Forum and Expo held in Phoenix. Timmerman has served as director of procurement and contracts administration at ORAU since 2009.

New cytogenetics chief in Oak Ridge

cytogeneticsIn the event of a radiological accident with severe radiation exposures, a little-known Oak Ridge laboratory could provide a potentially critical service. The Cytogenetic Biodosimetry Laboratory, a part of the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, is able to evaluate blood samples to determine the chromosome damage caused by the radiation and ultimately confirm the size of the radiation dose, which — of course — is important to determining the medical treatment, etc.

This week Oak Ridge Associated Universities, which manages the lab and the institute, announced a new director of the highly specialized laboratory. Continue reading

ORAU awards junior faculty grants totaling $175K

oraupicOak Ridge Associated Universities has awarded research grants to 35 junior faculty members at ORAU’s member institutions. The winners include Maik Lang, an assistant professor of nuclear engineering at the University of Tennessee.

Each of the recipients will receive $5,000 in “seed money” from ORAU for the 2015-16 academic year, with a matching amount from the member institution. Continue reading