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Date:4/3/2012

the success of the experiments. "In general, the world-class instruments at HFIR and the high neutron flux there make difficult experiments like this one possible," Wilson said. [Contact: Bill Cabage, (865) 574-4399; cabagewh@ornl.gov]

FUSION -- Taking the heat . . .

The United States is responsible for 8 percent of the Toroidal Field Conductor that the huge experimental fusion reactor now being built in France requires. ITER will use 80,000 kilometers of low-temperature helium-cooled superconducting wire to generate the immense magnetic fields needed to confine the burning plasma. By September, said Kevin Chan, US ITER's Toroidal Field Coil Conductor project engineer, US ITER will have completed its share of that wire to support the toroidal field magnets to rein in the burning plasma. The internal temperature of that plasma will be 150 million to 200 million degrees Celsius -- more than 10 times the internal temperature of the sun. [Written by Agatha Bardoel; media contact: Ron Walli, (865) 576-0226; wallira@ornl.gov]

BIOLOGY -- Tracking mercury . . .

How to clean up the mercury in the environment is a major issue for the Department of Energy. Moreover, bioaccumulation of methylmercury is of global concern. Researchers at the Spallation Neutron Source and the Environmental Sciences Division are studying the internal dynamics of a remarkable family of bacteria that eats its way into mercury in nature, transforming it into less toxic forms, without itself being killed in the process. They use the Neutron Spin Echo instrument at SNS to look at the special dynamics inside a protein regulator on the bacteria that allows the bacteria to detect mercury. This regulator initiates the production of the molecular defense machinery that enables it to break down the contaminant. [Written by Agatha Bardoel; media contact: Ron Walli, (865) 576-0226; '/>"/>

Contact: Ron Walli
wallira@ornl.gov
865-576-0226
DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

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