In a land where religious holidays and the spirit are often an afterthought,
ORNL's Danny Powell has opened his heart to the orphans who live outside
Russia's four closed cities.
Powell collects donations of money and various items in Oak Ridge, makes purchases in Russia, and distributes the gifts to orphanages in rural areas outside Novouralsk, Zelenogonsk, Mayak, and Tomsk, where temperatures can drop to –40°F in the winter.
"Orphans received less support from the government after the Soviet Union's collapse in 1992. The dramatic devaluation of the rouble during the 1998 Asian monetary crisis only made matters worse," Powell says.
A member of ORNL's Nuclear Security Technologies Group, Powell's "day job" is with a U.S.–Russian Federation program whose goal over the next 20 years is to remove 500 metric tons of highly enriched uranium from dismantled Russian nuclear weapons.
"We monitor the automated conversion of weapons' HEU to low-enriched uranium," Powell says. "The product is transported to the U.S. Enrichment Corporation, which sells it as nuclear fuel to American nuclear power plants."
For Powell, his work with Russian orphans has redefined the meaning of enrichment.
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