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ORAU History - 2010

An ORAU health physics technician conducts a characterization survey.

A major milestone was reached in 2010 when ORAU completed radiological and chemical characterization sampling of 34 structures at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and of the K-33 superstructure, a 2.8 million-square-foot facility located at the former Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant. The facilities, many of which dated back to the Manhattan Project, were deteriorating and deemed non-essential to DOE’s future mission.

In 2010, ORAU was a key partner in Tennessee’s winning proposal for the national Race to the Top competition—a $4.35 billion U.S. Department of Education program designed to spur reform in K-12 education. One of just two states selected in the competition’s first phase, Tennessee received $500 million to improve its education performance over the next four years. ORAU will partner with Battelle to support several initiatives, including the development of the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network—a system of interconnected educators, schools and districts that will help teachers benefit from shared learning experiences and professional development.

ORAU reached a major milestone this year on ARRA-funded work through the ORISE contract to dramatically reduce the number of high-risk facilities at DOE’s Oak Ridge Reservation. Radiological and chemical characterization was completed at 34 ORNL structures—many of which were deteriorating Manhattan Project-era facilities—and the K-33 super structure located at the former Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant. Characterization helps assess activities that occurred in the building, pinpoint chemicals or hazardous substances that may have been stored or processed there, and determine how best to safely remove and dispose of them.

In FY10, ORAU managed more than 1,950 medical screenings for former workers under DOE’s National Supplemental Screening Program, and our contract to manage the NSSP was extended through 2015. Since 2005, more than 7,800 screenings have been provided to identify occupational diseases, such as respiratory illnesses and cancer. ORISE’s Beryllium Laboratory conducted nearly 5,100 beryllium lymphocyte proliferation tests in 2010 with zero errors. This number of tests is a 60 percent increase over the last five years.

ORAU’s expertise was sought by TVA following the 2008 coal fly ash spill at its Kingston Fossil Plant. Partnering with Vanderbilt University Medical Center, an ORAU sponsoring institution, ORAU conducted an assessment of area residents who opted to participate in an independent medical screening program at no cost to them. Through a robust communication outreach effort, hundreds of individuals, doctors, and other interested parties were provided with information about the program, and a total of 214 people from 112 households participated in the medical evaluations. In August, ORAU released the results, which found no adverse health effects were caused by the spill.

In its second year, ORAU’ 2010 Extreme Classroom Makeover competition awarded Jordan Haney, a 5th grade teacher at Rocky Hill Elementary School in Knoxville, Tenn., a $25,000 grant for technology and other enhancements to his classroom. Two other area educators were named runners-up in the contest: Kimberly Carroll’s seventh and eighth grade science classes at Central Middle School in Wartburg, Tenn., and George Pace’s fifth grade class at Sunbright School in Sunbright, Tenn. Both received prize packages valued at $4,000 each.