Nuclear reactor components 3D printed by ORNL now installed at TVA Browns Ferry nuclear plant

Four first-of-a-kind 3D-printed fuel assembly brackets, produced at the Department of Energy’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, have been installed and are now under routine operating conditions at the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant Unit 2 in Athens, Alabama.

The components were developed in collaboration with TVA, Framatome and the DOE Office of Nuclear Energy–funded Transformational Challenge Reactor, or TCR, program based at ORNL.


Pickel elected fellow of the American Chemical Society

Joseph Pickel of the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory has been elected a 2021 fellow of the American Chemical Society, or ACS.

Pickel supports the Fusion and Fission Energy and Sciences Directorate as environment, safety and health coordinator.

He was recognized for his contributions to improved laboratory safety and operational processes and modernization of laboratory facilities. He also is recognized for contributions through service in leadership roles and the development of safety programming for the ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety.


Browning leaves on Oak Ridge Reservation harbinger of next cicada generation

On the road leading to the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, drivers may notice that many of the green trees lining the entrance to the lab are dappled with brown leaves. At first glance, the sight isn’t extraordinary, as deciduous tree leaves turn hues of oranges and browns before falling to the ground each autumn.

Yet, just weeks past the summer solstice, this phenomenon is out of place and is in fact evidence of another natural occurrence: cicada “flagging.”


Population-specific diversity within fungi species could enable improved drug discovery

Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Wisconsin–Madison have discovered that genetically distinct populations within the same species of fungi can produce unique mixes of secondary metabolites, which are organic compounds with applications in medicine, industry and agriculture. The finding could open new avenues for drug discovery and provide a deeper understanding of fungal evolution.


Tiny but mighty precipitates toughen a structural alloy

Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, have found a way to simultaneously increase the strength and ductility of an alloy by introducing tiny precipitates into its matrix and tuning their size and spacing. The precipitates are solids that separate from the metal mixture as the alloy cools. The results, published in the journal Naturewill open new avenues for advancing structural materials.