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Search Tags: Meeting Mission Goals Through Technology
Scientists at the Nuclear Science and Technology Division of the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Lab are bringing together decades of nuclear energy and safety expertise with high-performance computing to effectively address a range of nuclear energy - and security-related - challenges. One of the goals of the Lab's Nuclear Science and Technology Division is to bring together what we know about nuclear energy, nuclear national security modeling, and simulation capabilities with high-performance computing. That will solve problems that were previously unthinkable, or impractical, in terms of the computing power required to address them. One example is using computational methods and software to simulate radiation, in order to support the design and safety of nuclear facilities.
Winds across the Illinois plains are now blowing clean, renewable energy into the Tennessee Valley Authority service region.
The Authority - a corporation owned by the U.S. Government - has begun transmitting 300 megawatts of renewable wind power to its customers received from Iberdrola Renewables' Streator Cayuga Ridge wind park in Livingston County, Illinois.
It marks the first delivery under seven contracts TVA recently signed to purchase up to 1,380 megawatts of renewable wind energy from the Midwest. It's the largest of the TVA's wind-power contracts, which altogether may provide enough electricity for about 325,000 homes in their seven-state service region.
Senior vice president for the Tennesee Valley Authority John Trawick says the new wind-power source is an important milestone in the Authority's plans to expand their clean and renewable energy options.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has redesigned the Permanent Resident Card - commonly known as the "Green Card" - to incorporate several major new security features.
They've begun issuing all Green Cards in the new format. The redesign is the latest advance in the Immigration Department's ongoing efforts to deter immigration fraud, that officials say will better serve law enforcement, employers, and immigrants.
Among the benefits of the new technology: Secure optical media will store biometrics for rapid, reliable identification of the card holder. Holographic images, laser engraved fingerprints, and high resolution micro-images will make the card nearly impossible to reproduce. Additionally, Radio Frequency Identification capabilities will allow Customs officers at ports of entry to read the card from a distance and compare it immediately to file data.
A new website has been launched that communicates essential information about America's energy situation, based on the vast holdings of reports from the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Medicine, and the National Research Council. A finalist for the Webby Award in the category of science, the site called "What You Need to Know About Energy" provides an overview of our current energy system in the United States, and covers the uses for energy, sources of energy, the cost of energy including to cost to the environment, national security, and sustainability, and energy efficiency. It identifies each of the energy sources we rely on today - ranging from wind to nuclear to oil - and tracks how each is used. You'll find it at needtoknow.nas.edu.
The Atlantic City International Airport, located at the Federal Aviation Adminstration's Technical Center, has become the first in the national airspace system to deliver "digital notices to airmen," or NOTAM's. NOTAMs provide computer-generated safety information to pilots and air traffic controllers about conditions at an airport like construction and hazards. FAA Administrator Randy Babbit calls digital information management "key to meeting the air traffic system's safety and efficiency goals," as well as modernizing the national airspace system. Digital NOTAMs have safety and efficiency benefits over traditional NOTAMs, including transmitting to all air traffic management systems simultaneously. And, airspace users get easier to read information. Other airports that will follow the lead of Atlantic City International include: Washington Dulles, Reagan National, B-W-I, Richmond, and Norfolk.
A new form of platinum that could be used to make cheaper, more efficient fuel cells has been created by researchers at the Department of Energy's S-L-A-C National Accelerator Laboratory and the University of Houston. The process could help enable broader use of the devices, which produce emissions-free energy using hydrogen. Fuel cells hold significant promise for clean energy because the cell's only byproduct is water. But current fuel cell designs can require as much as 100 grams of platinum, pushing their price tags into the thousands of dollars. By tweaking platinum's reactivity, the researchers were able to curtail the amount of platinum required by 80 percent, and hope to soon reduce it by another 10 percent, greatly trimming away at the overall cost.
Commerce Secretary Gary Locke has announced that nine American Recovery Act investments will go to help bridge the technological divide and boost economic growth nationwide, meeting several goals of that Department. More than $114 million dollars will be awarded to increase broadband access, and adoption, in more than a dozen states. The grants will fund projects that lay the groundwork to bring enhanced high-speed Internet access to thousands of households and businesses and link hundreds of schools, hospitals, libraries, and public safety offices through the internet. All told, the Department has awarded 82 Broadband Technology Opportunities Program grants worth a total of $1.2 billion dollars to expand broadband access through projects in a majority of states and territories.
Officials from the Department of the Treasury, the Federal Reserve System and the Secret Service have unveiled the new design for the $100 note, complete with advanced technology to combat counterfeiting. Among new security features in the redesigned note are a 3-D Security Ribbon and the so-called "Bell in the Inkwell." The blue Ribbon on the front of the bill contains images of bells and the number 100 that move and change as you tilt the note. The Bell in the Inkwell changes color from copper to green when the note is tilted, an effect that makes it seem to appear and disappear within a copper inkwell. The new security features come after more than a decade of research.The new note will be issued on February 10th of 2011.
Tags: technology ,
The U.S. Geological Survey has awarded $2.7 million in cooperative agreements under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to several American universities and UNAVCO, Incorporated, to improve networks that detect minute changes in the earth's crust caused by faulting in earthquake-prone regions. The agency says monitoring the changes - undetectable except through the methods of advanced technology - is an integral part of assessing the likely rate of large earthquakes. They say, for optimal performance in real time, many existing monitoring stations will need modern sensors and improved communication systems. Funds provided through six cooperative agreements will improve monitoring capabilities by replacing obsolete sensors.
In observation of the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, the Vice President's Office announced the selection of 25 communities for up to $452 million in Recovery Act funding to "ramp-up" energy efficiency building retrofits. Under a Department of Energy initiative, communities, governments, private sector companies and non-profits will work together on programs for concentrated retrofits of neighborhoods and towns - and eventually entire states. Meeting one of the Energy Department's missions, the models are expected to save households and businesses about a $100 million annually in utility bills, while leveraging private sector resources, to create what could be as many as 30,000 new jobs over the next three years.