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.
For years Brenda Smith found fulfillment working with nuclear batteries, a topic she’s been researching as a chemist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
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.
A better way of welding targets for Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s plutonium-238 production has sped up the process and improved consistency and efficiency. This advancement will ultimately benefit the lab’s goal to make enough Pu-238 – the isotope that powers NASA’s deep space missions – to yield 1.5 kilograms of plutonium oxide annually by 2026.