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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. 

Tungsten tiles for fusion

Using additive manufacturing, scientists experimenting with tungsten at Oak Ridge National Laboratory hope to unlock new potential of the high-performance heat-transferring material used to protect components from the plasma inside a fusion reactor. Fusion requires hydrogen isotopes to reach millions of degrees.

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.

Quantum—Widening the net

Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory studying quantum communications have discovered a more practical way to share secret messages among three parties, which could ultimately lead to better cybersecurity for the electric grid 

Small modular reactor computer simulation

In a step toward advancing small modular nuclear reactor designs, scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have run reactor simulations on ORNL supercomputer Summit with greater-than-expected computational efficiency.

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.

An ORNL-developed graphite foam, which could be used in plasma-facing components in fusion reactors, performed well during testing at the Wendlestein 7-X stellarator in Germany.

Scientists have tested a novel heat-shielding graphite foam, originally created at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, at Germany’s Wendelstein 7-X stellarator with promising results for use in plasma-facing components of fusion 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.

exp_in_10_dry_tube.jpg

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