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The INFUSE fusion program announced a second round of 2020 public-private partnership awards to accelerate fusion energy development.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s team that is charged with producing californium-252 helps deliver an isotope with a variety of uses, including starting up new and dormant nuclear reactors. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

East Tennessee occupies a special place in nuclear history. In 1943, the world’s first continuously operating reactor began operating on land that would become ORNL.

The image shows a visualization of a radiation transport simulation for a spaceflight radioisotope power system and complex interactions of radiation fields with operational environments. Credit: Michael B. R. Smith and M. Scott Greenwood/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory are developing a first-of-a-kind toolkit drawing on video game development software to visualize radiation data.

Drawing of air taxi

If air taxis become a viable mode of transportation, Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers have estimated they could reduce fuel consumption significantly while alleviating traffic congestion.

A Co-Optima research team led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Jim Szybist in collaboration with Argonne, Sandia and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, created a merit function tool that evaluates six fuel properties and their impact on engine performance, giving the scientific community a guide to quickly evaluate biofuels. Credit: ORNL/U.S. Dept. of Energy

As ORNL’s fuel properties technical lead for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Co-Optimization of Fuel and Engines, or Co-Optima, initiative, Jim Szybist has been on a quest for the past few years to identify the most significant indicators for predicting how a fuel will perform in engines designed for light-duty vehicles such as passenger cars and pickup trucks.


A multi-institutional team, led by a group of investigators at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, has been studying various SARS-CoV-2 protein targets, including the virus’s main protease. The feat has earned the team a finalist nomination for the Association of Computing Machinery, or ACM, Gordon Bell Special Prize for High Performance Computing-Based COVID-19 Research.

Chuck Kessel

Chuck Kessel was still in high school when he saw a scientist hold up a tiny vial of water and say, “This could fuel a house for a whole year.”


NellOne Therapeutics has licensed a drug delivery system from the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory that is designed to transport therapeutics directly to cells infected by SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19.

Suman Debnath is using simulation algorithms to accelerate understanding of the modern power grid and enhance its reliability and resilience. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Planning for a digitized, sustainable smart power grid is a challenge to which Suman Debnath is using not only his own applied mathematics expertise, but also the wider communal knowledge made possible by his revival of a local chapter of the IEEE professional society.

U.S. Department of Energy Deputy Secretary Mark Menezes (right) tours the DemeTECH N95 filter material production area with Xin Sun, ORNL interim associate laboratory director (center) and Craig Blue, ORNL advanced manufacturing program manager. Credit: US Dept. of Energy

A collaboration between the ORNL and a Florida-based medical device manufacturer has led to the addition of 500 jobs in the Miami area to support the mass production of N95 respirator masks.