LabNotes -- Research highlights from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Outsmarting power plant failures - An intelligent system developed at the Department of Energys Pacific Northwest National Laboratory could outsmart problems that lead to expensive emergency shutdowns at nuclear power plants worldwide. The Self-Diagnostic Monitoring System, or SDMS, uses a wireless architecture of software, smart sensors and data processing to diagnose and predict conditions that may lead to shutdowns.

When fully developed, the system will diagnose and predict potential problems at both the component and systems levels. PNNL engineers built a pilot system to mimic a nuclear power plants essential service water loop, in which they will artificially create biofouling, vibration and other conditions.

PNNL findings will be presented at the American Nuclear Society conference held Nov. 12 to 16 in Washington, D.C. DOEs Nuclear Energy Research Initiative supports this work.

Cold War scientists zap out bugs - Root-chomping bugs that destroy valuable crops worldwide have a new nemesis in an environmentally friendly biocontrol agent developed by Russian scientists with support from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Scientists at Russias State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology, or Vector, discovered a specific fungal strain has the ability to kill a harmful form of nematodes - tiny organisms that often feed on live plant roots. In greenhouse lab tests, this biocontrol agent reduced nematode infection in tomatoes and cucumbers by more than 61 percent.

Through the Department of Energys Initiatives for Proliferation Prevention, PNNL verified Vectors research results then connected Vector with AgraQuest, a California pest management company. AgraQuest will conduct field tests in 2001 and is considering marketing the technology.

Ukraine energy work recognized - The Association of Energy Engineers will present Pacific Northwest National Laboratory w

Contact: Staci Maloof
DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

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