OAK RIDGE — Led by a number of scientific breakthroughs and operational milestones at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, UT-Battelle has again earned high performance ratings from the Department of Energy.
The annual DOE “report card” graded UT-Battelle’s management performance with “A-” scores in all eight evaluation categories. The report covers UT-Battelle’s performance from October 2008 through September 2009. Last year’s scores contained seven “A-‘s” 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.”
Lab officials said UT-Battelle takes pride in combining the highest levels of science with good management. “Every day for nearly ten years, our goal has been to deliver science that will make a lasting difference in people’s lives,” Mason said. “These high marks are evidence of DOE’s confidence that our staff are achieving that goal.”
UT-Battelle’s management contract fee awarded is based on scores from the DOE performance rating. UT-Battelle’s total fee for operating ORNL in fiscal year 2009 is $10,058,000, or 94 percent of the maximum fee.
A number of ORNL achievements in 2009 contributed to the laboratory’s high performance scores. Included among the laboratory’s science highlights in 2009:
- 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 high points at the lab over the past year 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.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy Office of Science.