Friends of ORNL Board of Directors

Minutes of the May 8, 2017 Meeting


The meeting was held in the front meeting room of the UT Center on the Oak Ridge Turnpike.  In Jim Rushton’s absence, Vice-president Kent Williams called the meeting to order at 9:30 a.m.  Other attendees were Chuck Coutant, Gloria Caton, Kathy Gant, Bob Hightower, Herb Krause, Dave McVicker, Bob Olson, Dick Raridon, Phil Sklad, and Steve Stow. Vic Tennery also attended.



The next FORNL and NPS Community Lecture, co-sponsored by ORION and the NPS will be held on May 18, 2017, Topic:

The August 21, 2017 Solar Eclipse.



The minutes for the April 10, 2017 board meeting were approved unanimously.


Collection of FORNL dues for 2017 continues.  There were 4 submissions received for 2017 member dues ($80) as of May 6, 2017 (since my last report on April 9, 2017).   Two new members (David Hackett and Francis Perey) were added to the active and general email lists. No members were identified as deceased. 

As of 5/6/17, the 2017 net paid membership includes 68 regular members and 36 life members for a total of 104 living members in good standing after seven months of 2017 dues collection. 

For reference, we ended the 2016 dues collection period (Sept. 2016) with 80 regular and 34 life members paid for a total of 114 members. 


 TREASURER’S REPORT (Vinod Sikka) - No Report



Luncheon Programs (Kent Williams):

Completed Program

April 11, 2017

James Campbell, President of The East Tennessee Economic Council, spoke about “Economic Development in East TN.”


 Scheduled Programs

May 9, 2017

Dr. Adam Rondinone of ORNL will discuss “Converting Carbon Dioxide into Ethanol: Waste to Fuel Technology.”


July 11, 2017

David Holcomb of ORNL will speak about “Salt Cooled Reactors”.


 August 8, 2017

A tentative ORNL speaker is Juan Carbajo who would discuss the solar eclipse technically.


Community Lecture Schedule (Bob Hightower)

On May 18, 2017, Chap Percival, a passionate astronomy educator from Florida who has written the book, “Go See the Eclipse: And Take a kid with You,” will lecture about the upcoming solar eclipse that we can observe on August 21, 2017. This lecture at the AMSE is being co-sponsored with ORION and the National Park Service (NPS). He wants to sell his book. The NPS plans to mention their park eclipse activities. Oak Ridge school students and teachers are being invited to attend by Dr. Tracey Beckendorf.  Jim will open the event, David Fields of ORION will say a few words about their plans, NPS will discuss their planned eclipse related events, and Kent will introduce the speaker.  If the speaker sells his book, then we will probably not offer him an honorarium; he will be driving his own vehicle. An article in UT’s Daily Beacon will invite students to the lecture.  Tracey would like to arrange knowledgeable eclipse speakers to address 18 classes in OR schools on the day of the eclipse and asked Bob for help in finding them; suggested speaker names should be sent to Bob.  Bob arranged for sufficient snacks to accommodate 200 people at the event.


History Room (Dave McVicker)

Dave will prepare the next quarter content for “Treasures from the Archives” in the ORNL Reporter but delayed starting because the winter issue has not appeared on the ORNL web yet.  Fred Strohl is presently busy with other duties and is uncertain when publication of the winter issue will occur or when he will need content for the next issue.  Dave will await instructions from Fred about preparing the content for the next issue. 


Hightower offered historical material about the Chemical Technology Division’s St. Patrick’s Day dances that History Room volunteers agreed to accept for processing/storage there.


Membership Committee (Gloria Caton and Kathy Gant)

Gloria and Kathy prepared a new FORNL membership form that will be sent to Leigha for insertion into the packet given to retiring ORNL employees by the HR department.  The general membership form that appears on our website may be simplified in the future.


As an inducement to attract new members, new ORNL retirees are being offered a 1-year complementary membership in FORNL. This membership class will NOT INCLUDE an ORNL visitor badge unless the new member pays the standard annual dues fee of $20.  This offer appears on the new FORNL membership form that will be distributed at ORNL.


ORNL Visitor Badges (Bob Hightower)

Bob received 4 more visitor badge requests for 2017 (a total of 58 to date). ORNL visitor badges are valid only for the current calendar year and must be requested annually after paying FORNL dues.  To request a visitors’ badge, e-mail Bob Hightower at with your full name (as it appears on your driver license) and a declaration that you are a US citizen.  


Tours (Dick Raridon)

Participation in the guided bus tours, that include highlights of the history of Oak Ridge and the science and technology at the three US DOE/Oak Ridge facilities, averaged 32 visitors/trip for the 11 tours held in April; the 34-seat bus was essentially filled during each trip (including guides and “helper volunteers”). The eleven tours were full and accommodated 352 visitors. The number of visitors wanting to take the trip is being recorded; there were even 15 and 20 visitors on “standby” status for two tours because of insufficient bus capacity. Tours are held Monday, Wednesday and Friday throughout April and May.



Lab Liaison (Leigha Humphries) – No Report


Manhattan Project (Chuck Coutant, Connor Matthews, Steve Stow, Bob Hightower, Dave McVicker, Dick Raridon,

                                          Bob Olson, Jim Rushton)

Chuck Coutant reported that Carolyn Krause applied AP style editing for our publicity article about FORNL’s contribution to the NPS white paper.  The article is essentially ready for release. Jim Rushton thinks it needs a short “flashier” header, so board members should send new header suggestions to Chuck and Jim. Board members should also send the address of area media contacts to Chuck, including the submission of addresses for area professional organizations.  Chuck will submit the article to media.


We were reminded with dismay that the new AMSE location in the “Downtown” area has the generic suggested name, “Public Education and Outreach Center.”  Our board members believe that such an inappropriate bureaucratic name will not attract museum visitors (to say the least).  Unfortunately, specific plans for this area have not been provided to our board.


It is now public knowledge (reported in The Oak Ridger) that the NPS has not approved the above location and is trying to obtain the NOAA building in Oak Ridge to house their local Manhattan Project museum.  There are plans to surplus this federal government building in the near future.



Press Release on FORNL Science and Technology Recommendations to NPS for Manhattan Park Foundation Document

See the Manhattan Project section above.  (Chuck Coutant)



Suggested topics for our statement to NRC on TVA Early Site Permit  (Jim Rushton, Kent Williams)

Chuck Coutant, who has participated in other NRC site reviews stated, “it is not certain we need to make a statement about the appropriateness of the site.  Short of providing new technical information about the site at the proceedings, there probably isn’t anything for FORNL to contribute.”  At this early stage, the NRC is interested in learning about the physical suitability of the site; e.g., availability of water, site contamination, etc.  FORNL board members did not urge any other board members to appear at the hearing so the discussion ended without the suggestion of any further action.


Vice-president Williams adjourned the meeting at 10:15 a.m.


Next board meeting:  Monday, June 12, 2017, 9:30 a.m., at the UT center in Oak Ridge (normal meeting place and time, day before the second Tuesday lunch/lecture meeting).


Next Lunch meeting: The next Luncheon Meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 13, 2017.


Herb Krause, Secretary.