Category Archives: UT

Perimeter potties at Oak Ridge National Lab

ORNL-restrooms_MP (2)In the background note the new bathroom at Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s east security portal on Bethel Valley Road. (KNS photo/Michael Patrick)

Anybody who’s been paying attention over the past 15 years knows there’s been a top-to-bottom makeover at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, with major new research facilities — costing hundreds of millions of dollars — and replacement infrastructure at every turn.

What’s left to do? Apparently replace the toilets at the security portals. Continue reading

UT, ORNL win nuke grants

hfircalifornThe U.S. Department of Energy today announced more than $60M in nuclear energy research and infrastructure awards, and the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory were among the recipients.

UT will receive $1M to develop a model for qualification of embedded digital devices for nuclear power applications. The university also will receive $793,121 to develop and demonstrate a process to purify zirconium tetrachloride that’s obtained from the used Zircaloy cladding material from spent nuclear fuel assemblies and 400,000 to study the structural stability and thermal conductivity of “high-thermal conductivity fuels.” Continue reading

Football misery

Is it unusual that a University of Tennesse professor should care so much about his football team that he hurts horribly when his team loses and question whether he’s able to derive true pleasure when the Big Game is on the line? Maybe not. But Jeremy Smith’s story is a little different. Or maybe not.

Smith, the first Governor’s Chair at UT and director of ORNL’s Center for Molecular Biophysics, writes about football on his Club Mod blog (of which I am a fan).

UT gets nuke awards from DOE

The University of Tennessee was among the universities that recently received advanced nuclear energy awards from the U.S. Department of Energy. UT received 11 of the undergraduate scholarships (valued at $7,500 each to cover education costs for nuclear engineering degrees) and 3 of the graduate fellowships (providing $50K per year for graduate studies and research).

For more information on DOE’s nuclear university programs, click here.

Mason: new contract ‘tremendous vote of confidence’

ornlaerial2014UT-Battelle, a partnership of the University of Tennessee and Battelle Memorial Institute, has received a new five-year contract to manage Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

ORNL Director Thom Mason confirmed Monday that the new contract with the U.S. Department of Energy had been signed and will go into effect April 1.

UT-Battelle has managed the lab since 2000. The annual budget exceeds $1.5 billion. Continue reading

Battelle ‘intrigued’ by NNSA possibilities


Battelle executive Ron Townsend talks on the sidelines of last week’s Nuclear Deterrence Summit.

Ron Townsend, Battelle’s executive vice president for global laboratory operations, was in Washington, D.C., last week for the 7th annual Nuclear Deterrence Summit, and it was very much a business trip. Townsend was there to better understand the challenges facing the National Nuclear Security Administration and evaluate what roles Battelle might play in the nuclear weapons complex and what it might be able to contribute.

“We’re intrigued,” Townsend said in an interview. “We have a very strong science and energy portfolio. We manage three Science labs (Oak Ridge, Pacific Northwest and Brookhaven) and both Energy labs — Idaho and NREL (National Renewable Energy Lab). We don’t have a significant presence in the weapons area, the national nuclear security arena. But we’re intrigued by that.” Continue reading

ORNL’s 3-D Shelby on display in Detroit

Tennessee Obama

President Barack Obama, right, and Vice President Joe Biden share a laugh Jan. 9 as Biden feigns climbing into a replica of a 1964 Shelby Cobra made at Oak Ridge National Laboratory with carbon fiber polymers. About 500 pounds of the parts were manufactured using 3-D printing at ORNL’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility. The car is being displayed this week at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. According to info distributed by ORNL, the car will be on display through Jan. 15 as part of the show’s inaugural Technology Showcase. ORNL’s Lonnie Love, standing next to the President, said in a statement, “Our goal is to demonstrate the potential of large-scale additive manufacturing as an innovative and viable manufacturing technology.”  (photo by MICHAEL PATRICK/NEWS SENTINEL)

Sen. Alexander’s statement on manufacturing institute

Here’s a statement from Sen. Lamar Alexander on today’s announcement of the new Manufacturing Innovation Institute for Advanced Composites:

“Today’s decision will make it easier to take advantage of the extraordinary expertise in materials at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which in turn will make it easier to create good-paying jobs. In a state like Tennessee that is increasingly attracting new advanced manufacturing jobs, this new institute and Oak Ridge’s unique expertise is one more good reason for advanced manufacturing companies to locate in Tennessee.”

Manufacturing Innovation Institute for Advanced Composites

As expected, the White House today officially announced creation of the Manufacturing Innovation Institute for Advanced Composites, which will be based in Knoxville and managed by the University of Tennessee. The announcement came in conjunction with President Obama’s visit to East Tennessee, including a speech at Pellissippi State Community College and an anticipated stop at Techmer PM in Clinton.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory was instrumental in putting together the proposal that won the hub competition, and Director Thom Mason talked about his excitement about the Department of Energy program in a mid-December interview.

“Headquartered in Knoxville, the latest public-private partnership aimed at boosting advanced manufacturing will focus on making advanced composites less expensive and less energy-intensive to manufacture, while also making the composites easier to recycle,” today’s announcement stated.

The institute will involve a financial investment of $250 million, with $70 million in federal funds and more than $180 million in non-federal funds, according to a news release distributed by the Department of Energy. Here’s a link to a DOE blog and what Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz had to say. Continue reading

The big announcement

In a year-end interview last month, Oak Ridge National Laboratory Thom Mason talked about exciting prospects for the lab in 2015. In particular, he cited the lab’s multi-partner proposal for a new manufacturing research institute that would focus on composite materials. He sounded very optimistic and very excited about the prospects of the ORNL team winning funds for an institute that would be managed by the UT Research Foundation.carbon2

“We’re eagerly awaiting the announcement,” he said in mid-December. “We’ve all got our fingers crossed.” Mason’s description sounded very much like the manufacturing hub that President Obama is reportedly going to announce during Friday’s visit to East Tennessee. Continue reading