Story tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, December 2013

December 09, 2013

NONPROLIFERATION - Tell-tale seals . . .

Using an Oak Ridge National Laboratory technology, inspectors of containers of nuclear material will be able to know with unprecedented confidence whether an intruder has tampered with a seal. The system uses a light source of entangled photons to verify the continuity of a fiber-based seal, according to Travis Humble, who led the development team. Entanglement is a feature of quantum physics that describes how two spatially disparate systems exhibit strong correlations in otherwise independent behaviors. The work, sponsored by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, is vital to ensure compliance with nonproliferation treaties because inspectors must confirm the uninterrupted containment and surveillance of any nuclear material. [Contact: Ron Walli, (865) 576-0226;]

CYBERSECURITY - Foiling attackers . . .

By frequently changing the Internet addresses of protected servers, Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Craig Shue has created a technology that thwarts attacks with just minor changes in infrastructure. The system, dubbed Choreographer, makes it difficult for hackers to guess the server's address while seamlessly redirecting the culprit to a monitoring infrastructure, or "honey pot." When contacted by a legitimate user - one with no history of attacks - the server provides the correct address and creates a network mapping to maintain the link. "Our approach reduces attacker scanning effectiveness from around 100 percent to less than 1 percent for most network deployments," Shue said. Choreographer was selected as one of eight projects in the Department of Homeland Security's Transition to Practice Program, designed to help commercialize promising high-impact research. [Contact: Ron Walli, (865) 576-0226;]

TRAINING - Nuclear forensics in spotlight . . .

Federal employees and select personnel from national laboratories will gather at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in February for a two-day training session in nuclear forensics. The event, sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security, will provide an overview and basic understanding of all aspects of the nuclear forensics process, which involves analysis of recovered material and radioactive debris following a nuclear explosion. Attendees will learn about collection and analysis of nuclear material and methods to interpret analytical results. Discussion topics will include U.S. nuclear forensics policy and organizational roles and responsibilities; nuclear forensics processes for domestic and foreign events; overview of the nuclear fuel cycle as it relates to nuclear forensics; and nuclear forensics case studies. The course, scheduled Feb. 11-12, will be conducted by the National Technical Nuclear Forensics Center of the DHS Domestic Nuclear Detection Office. [Contact: Ron Walli, (865) 576-0226;]

MILITARY - Tougher tanks . . .

Improving welds of heavy and light armored fighting vehicles is the target of a collaboration among Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center, and ArcelorMittal USA. While military vehicle designs use high-strength steels, hydrogen-induced cracking and weld fatigue are persistent challenges, according to Zhili Feng of ORNL's Materials Science and Technology Division. Feng and colleagues are developing special weld wire chemistries and conducting tests to solve this long-standing issue. The newly developed welding wire reduces the high-tensile residual stresses in the weld region, eliminating one of three key factors for hydrogen-induced cracking during welding. [Contact: Ron Walli, (865) 576-0226;]
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DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory

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