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ORNL's Communications team works with news media seeking information about the laboratory. Media may use the resources listed below or send questions to news@ornl.gov.

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Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists have developed an experiment for testing potential materials for use in interplanetary travel. The experiment exposes prototype materials to temperatures over 2,400 degrees Celsius with only 300 watts of input electrical power. Credit: Carlos Jones, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

If humankind reaches Mars this century, an Oak Ridge National Laboratory-developed experiment testing advanced materials for spacecraft may play a key role. 

Nuclear—More than the core

Researchers have developed high-fidelity modeling capabilities for predicting radiation interactions outside of the reactor core—a tool that could help keep nuclear reactors running longer.

Nuclear—Tiny testing fuels

For the first time, Oak Ridge National Laboratory has completed testing of nuclear fuels using MiniFuel, an irradiation vehicle that allows for rapid experimentation.

Microreactors could offer unique mobility and flexibility—opening the possibility for nuclear energy to reach isolated areas.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists are evaluating paths for licensing remotely operated microreactors, which could provide clean energy sources to hard-to-reach communities, such as isolated areas in Alaska.

ORNL nuclear engineer Chris Petrie

Oak Ridge National Laboratory is using ultrasonic additive manufacturing to embed highly accurate fiber optic sensors in heat- and radiation-resistant materials, allowing for real-time monitoring that could lead to greater insights and safer reactors.

Nuclear—Deep space travel

By automating the production of neptunium oxide-aluminum pellets, Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists have eliminated a key bottleneck when producing plutonium-238 used by NASA to fuel deep space exploration.

The Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors uses its Virtual Environment for Reactor Applications (VERA) software for the modeling and simulation of various nuclear reactors, such as the Westinghouse AP1000 pressurized water reactor.

The Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory is collaborating with industry on six new projects focused on advancing commercial nuclear energy technologies that offer potential improvements to current nuclear reactors and move new reactor designs closer to deployment.

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Scientists from Oak Ridge National Laboratory performed a corrosion test in a neutron radiation field to support the continued development of molten salt reactors.

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With an organ-on-a-chip technology, scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory are testing the effects of radiation on cells that mimic human respiration.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory has signed a memorandum of understanding with the United Kingdom’s National Nuclear Laboratory to partner on various nuclear research and development efforts.

The United Kingdom’s National Nuclear Laboratory and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have agreed to cooperate on a wide range of nuclear energy research and development efforts that leverage both organizations’ unique expertise and capabilities.