- Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) has awarded to ORNL a construction contract for a new Radioisotope Development Laboratory that will provide an improved research and development facility for production of isotopes unavailable and at a lower unit cost. ORNL has been for 14 years AEC's principal producer and distributor of more than 138,000 shipments of radioisotopes throughout the world contributing to significant progress in all fields of human endeavor for better living. The increase in cobalt-60 production and distribution is a good example of the growth of ORNL's over-all radioisotope program, with 5800 curies shipped in the first five years, and more than 100,000 curies shipped in 1959 alone.
- The Experimental Gas-Cooled Reactor (EGCR) is under construction at Gallaher Bend on the Clinch River. Public interest was so high that AEC's Oak Ridge Operations Office had arranged for an observation point so visitors could see the unclassified project without interfering with construction. The EGCR will be a combined experimental and power producing plant. It will provide facilities for testing fuel elements, gas coolants and reactor materials and will generate about 25,000 kilowatts for AEC's operations at Oak Ridge.
- The largest component, a 200-ton magnet for the new Oak Ridge Isochronous Cyclotron (ORIC) successfully received its initial tests at Y-12. Upon completion of the ORIC building at ORNL, the magnet will be moved and reinstalled permanently for the cyclotron. The new facility will be one of the most versatile medium energy cyclotrons in the world, in that, it will accommodate experiments with a variety of particles over a wide range of energies. The new 76-inch cyclotron will be capable of accelerating protons up to 75 Mev and other ions, such as nitrogen, up to 100 Mev.
- ORNL successfully completed a three day annealing operation to remove stored energy from the Graphite Reactor. This procedure involves the heating of the graphite above it normal operating temperature to remove “stored energy” accumulated over its 17 years of routine operation. Stored energy relates to potential energy of displaced atoms of graphite accumulated near the cool (inlet air) side and concentrated in the high flux region. Accumulation of stored energy using a solid graphite moderator was first discovered by former research director, Eugene P. Wigner.
- The first known separation of gram quantities of osmium isotopes has been accomplished by the electromagnetic process. Of approximately 290 stable isotopes of 86 elements, 265 isotopes of 58 elements have been separated by this process, hence the completion of the first phase of the stable isotope program at ORNL.
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