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Balendra Sutharshan

In the mid-1980s, Balendra Sutharshan moved to Canada from the island nation of Sri Lanka. That move set Sutharshan on a path that had him heading continent-spanning collaborations and holding leadership posts at multiple Department of Energy national labs.

L-R: ORNL’s Omer Onar and Veda Galigekere with the dynamic wireless charging test bed at ORNL’s Grid Research Integration and Deployment Center. Credit: Carlos Jones, ORNL/U.S. Dept. of Energy

Consumer buy-in is key to the future of a decarbonized transportation sector in which electric vehicles largely replace today’s conventionally fueled cars and trucks.

Brenda Smith, shown here working with a gas viscometer in her research lab, is one of several people concurrently researching the thermophysical properties of feedstock gas. Their research will support computational researchers who are designing processes to separate isotopes. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL, US Dept. of Energy

For years Brenda Smith found fulfillment working with nuclear batteries, a topic she’s been researching as a chemist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Jianlin Li, leader of the Energy Storage and Conversion Manufacturing Group, directs the development of advanced manufacturing schemes and pilot-scale devices into emerging energy storage and conversion research. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

In his career focused on energy storage science, Jianlin Li has learned that discovering new ways to process and assemble batteries is just as important as the development of new materials.

Heavy-duty vehicles contribute 23% of transportation emissions of greenhouse gases and account for almost one-quarter of the fuel consumed annually in the U.S. Credit: Chris Bair/Unsplash

Through a consortium of Department of Energy national laboratories, ORNL scientists are applying their expertise to provide solutions that enable the commercialization of emission-free hydrogen fuel cell technology for heavy-duty

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.

Verónica Melesse Vergara speaks with third and fourth graders at East Side Intermediate School in Brownsville. Credit: ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Twenty-seven ORNL researchers Zoomed into 11 middle schools across Tennessee during the annual Engineers Week in February. East Tennessee schools throughout Oak Ridge and Roane, Sevier, Blount and Loudon counties participated, with three West Tennessee schools joining in.

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.

Porter Bailey started and will end his 33-year career at ORNL in the same building: 7920 of the Radiochemical Engineering Development Center.

Porter Bailey started and will end his 33-year career at ORNL in the same building: 7920 of the Radiochemical Engineering Development Center.

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.