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Nuclear — Seeing inside particles

Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers working on neutron imaging capabilities for nuclear materials have developed a process for seeing the inside of uranium particles – without cutting them open.

VERA’s tools allow a virtual “window” inside the reactor core, down to a molecular level.

A software package, 10 years in the making, that can predict the behavior of nuclear reactors’ cores with stunning accuracy has been licensed commercially for the first time.

ORNL scientists are combining their expertise in environmental science, physics, sensors and additive manufacturing to create model fish for use in testing of hydropower turbine designs. The project supports healthy ecosystems and hydropower—the nation’s largest renewable energy resource. Photo credit: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy.

Hydropower developers must consider many factors when it comes time to license a new project or renew an existing one: How can environmental impacts be mitigated, including to fish populations?

Postdoctoral researcher Nischal Kafle positions a component for a portable plasma imaging diagnostic device at ORNL in February. The device, a project for ARPA-E, is built of off-the-shelf parts. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL

The techniques Theodore Biewer and his colleagues are using to measure whether plasma has the right conditions to create fusion have been around awhile.

Examples from the ORNL Overhead Vehicle Dataset, generated with images captured by GRIDSMART cameras. Image: Thomas Karnowski/ORNL

Each year, approximately 6 billion gallons of fuel are wasted as vehicles wait at stop lights or sit in dense traffic with engines idling, according to US Department of Energy estimates.

The agreement builds upon years of collaboration, including a 2016 effort using modeling tools developed at ORNL to predict the first six months of operations of TVA’s Watts Bar Unit 2 nuclear power plant. Credit: Andrew Godfrey/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Feb. 19, 2020 — The U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Tennessee Valley Authority have signed a memorandum of understanding to evaluate a new generation of flexible, cost-effective advanced nuclear reactors.

ORNL's Battery Manufacturing Facility

Energy storage startup SPARKZ Inc. has exclusively licensed five battery technologies from the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory designed to eliminate cobalt metal in lithium-ion batteries. The advancement is aimed at accelerating the production of electric vehicles and energy storage solutions for the power grid.

Argon pellet injection text

As scientists study approaches to best sustain a fusion reactor, a team led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory investigated injecting shattered argon pellets into a super-hot plasma, when needed, to protect the reactor’s interior wall from high-energy runaway electrons.

A pilot reactor, developed by Vertimass and located at TechnipFMC, can scale up the process that converts ethanol into fuels suitable for aviation, shipping and other heavy-duty applications. Credit: TechnipFMC.

A technology developed at the ORNL and scaled up by Vertimass LLC to convert ethanol into fuels suitable for aviation, shipping and other heavy-duty applications can be price-competitive with conventional fuels

The students analyzed diatom images like this one to compare wild and genetically modified strains of these organisms. Credit: Alison Pawlicki/Oak Ridge National Laboratory, US Department of Energy.

Students often participate in internships and receive formal training in their chosen career fields during college, but some pursue professional development opportunities even earlier.