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Parans Paranthaman, a researcher in the Chemical Sciences Division at ORNL, coordinated research efforts to study the filter efficiency of the N95 material. His published results represent one of the first studies on polypropylene as it relates to COVID-19. Credit: ORNL/U.S. Dept. of Energy

When COVID-19 was declared a pandemic in March 2020, Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Parans Paranthaman suddenly found himself working from home like millions of others.

Data from the ORNL Free Air CO2 Enrichment experiment were combined with observations from more than 100 other FACE sites for this analysis, which revealed new insights about the relationship between plant biomass growth and soil carbon storage. Credit: Jeff Warren/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Oak Ridge National Laboratory was among an international team, led by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, who synthesized 108 elevated carbon dioxide, or CO2, experiments performed in various ecosystems to find out how much carbon is absorbed by plants and soil.

Targeted alpha therapy can deliver radiation to specific cells, with minimal effect on surrounding, healthy cells. Credit: Michelle Lehman and Jaimee Janiga/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

A rare isotope in high demand for treating cancer is now more available to pharmaceutical companies developing and testing new drugs.

Technicians John Dyer and T. Dyer use a manipulator arm in a shielded cave in ORNL’s Radiochemical Engineering Development Center to separate concentrated Pm-147 from byproducts generated through the production of Pu-238.

A new method developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory proves one effort’s trash is another’s valuable isotope. One of the byproducts of the lab’s national plutonium-238 production program is promethium-147, a rare isotope used in nuclear batteries and to measure the thickness of materials.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory entrance sign

Balendra Sutharshan, deputy associate laboratory director for operational systems at DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, has joined ORNL as associate laboratory director for the Isotope Science and Engineering Directorate.

The Perseverance rover

On Feb. 18, the world will be watching as NASA’s Perseverance rover makes its final descent into Jezero Crater on the surface of Mars. Mars 2020 is the first NASA mission that uses plutonium-238 produced at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Associate Laboratory Director Kathy McCarthy heads the ORNL directorate that manages proto-MPEX, a linear plasma device that informs the development of the MPEX tool for study of fusion materials. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy
From the helm of a one-of-a-kind organization that brings nuclear fusion and fission expertise together to pave the way to expanding carbon-free energy, Kathy McCarthy can trace the first step of her engineering career back to
By producing 50 grams of plutonium-238, Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers have demonstrated the nation’s ability to provide a valuable energy source for deep space missions.

With the production of 50 grams of plutonium-238, researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have restored a U.S. capability dormant for nearly 30 years and set the course to provide power for NASA and other missions.

Pellet selector

When it’s up and running, the ITER fusion reactor will be very big and very hot, with more than 800 cubic meters of hydrogen plasma reaching 170 million degrees centigrade. The systems that fuel and control it, on the other hand, will be small and very cold. Pellets of frozen gas will be shot int...

Processing plutonium-238

Since its 1977 launch, NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft has travelled farther than any other piece of human technology. It is also the only human-made object to have entered interstellar space. More recently, the agency’s New Horizons mission flew past Pluto on July 14, giving us our first close-up lo...