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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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Deborah Frincke, one of the nation’s preeminent computer scientists and cybersecurity experts, serves as associate laboratory director of ORNL’s National Security Science Directorate. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Deborah Frincke, one of the nation’s preeminent computer scientists and cybersecurity experts, serves as associate laboratory director of ORNL’s National Security Science Directorate. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

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.

Targeted alpha therapy can deliver radiation to specific cells, with minimal effect on surrounding, healthy cells. Credit: Michelle Lehman and Jaimee Janiga/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

A rare isotope in high demand for treating cancer is now more available to pharmaceutical companies developing and testing new drugs.

Urban climate modeling

Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have identified a statistical relationship between the growth of cities and the spread of paved surfaces like roads and sidewalks. These impervious surfaces impede the flow of water into the ground, affecting the water cycle and, by extension, the climate.

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.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory entrance sign

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.

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.

ORNL recognized the small businesses that have made a positive impact on ORNL’s operations at the virtual 2020 Small Business Awards. Credit: ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

Thirty-two Oak Ridge National Laboratory employees were named among teams recognized by former DOE Secretary Dan Brouillette with Secretary’s Honor Awards as he completed his term. Four teams received new awards that reflect DOE responses to the coronavirus pandemic.

ORNL welder Devin Johnson uses a new orbital welder to seal a hollow target in a glovebox in the lab’s Radiochemical Engineering Development Center. The new welder makes a clean seam on the metal target, eliminating the need for hand-finishing afterward. Credit: Carlos Jones/ORNL, U.S. Dept. of Energy

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.

Brian Damiano

Brian Damiano, head of the Centrifuge Engineering and Fabrication Section, has been elected fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.