UT-Battelle, the organization that operates Oak Ridge National Laboratory, has announced that the Department of Energy has graded their operational service with high marks again this year. The annual DOE report card scored UT-Battelle with an ‘A-’ in all eight categories. This is a slight improvement from last year’s seven ‘A-’ scores and one ‘B+’.
The 2009 assessment was based on three key measures related to ORNL’s scientific research programs and five criteria that rate efficiency of the lab’s operations. In a letter to ORNL Director and UT-Battelle CEO Thom Mason, the DOE’s Oak Ridge Operations Manager Gerald Boyd said, “You and your staff are to be congratulated for achieving a high level of performance in the management and operation of ORNL.”
UT-Battelle credits several major achievements over the past year that contributed to the outstanding performance grades.
- ORNL researchers won eight prestigious R&D 100 awards, given to discoveries with high potential for commercial application.
- Scientists developed stainless steels that have an increased upper-temperature corrosion limit up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit higher than conventional stainless steels.
- Researchers in the BioEnergy Sciences Center, created in 2007 to accelerate basic research toward the development of cellulosic ethanol as a cost-effective alternative fuel, produced 80 science publications and 16 invention disclosures.
- Materials scientists completed successful tests of a new generation of High Temperature Superconducting cable that can transmit more power in less space.
- Researchers in ORNL’s nuclear energy program fabricated a coated particle fuel that set a world record for advanced high temperature gas-cooled reactor fuel.
Operational highlights include:
- Delivery on time and budget of the Department of Energy’s Leadership Class Facility for high-performance computing, featuring Jaguar, the world’s most powerful computer capable of 1,700 trillion calculations per second.
- The Spallation Neutron Source, already the world’s most powerful facility for pulsed neutron scattering science, in September became the first pulsed spallation neutron source to break the one-megawatt power barrier.
- Managing the U.S. role in the ITER project and working with the project’s international members.
- Breaking ground in May on a $95 million Chemical and Materials Sciences facility, the Department of Energy’s first Science Laboratories Infrastructure construction project supported by funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
- Energy efficiency improvements expected to reduce energy consumption by 50 percent, water usage by 23 percent, and fossil fuel use by more than 80 percent.
The grades were given for the period of performance between October 2008 and September 2009. Congrats to the folks at ORNL and UT-Battelle for such great marks. For more info, read their full release here.