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ORNL poised to benefit from new Department of Energy projects
OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Nov. 10, 2003 — Oak Ridge National Laboratory might be the future home for a number of 28 proposed major projects released today by Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham.
Abraham released the list of proposed multi-million dollar projects in an address before the National Press Club in Washington. The projects represent an effort by the Department of Energy to provide a blueprint for the next 20 years of scientific research. Most of the projects will be awarded through a process that involves highly competitive proposals from national laboratories and universities. Leading the list was the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, a facility capable of producing a "burning plasma" fusion reaction that would provide new sources of energy.
ORNL laboratory director Jeff Wadsworth said the secretary's list includes major initiatives in supercomputing, biology and neutron sciences. "In each of these three areas, Oak Ridge will be in a very strong position to compete successfully," Wadsworth said.
Wadsworth pointed to Abraham's commitment to regain from the Japanese America's traditional leadership in computing. Listed as number 2 on the list of priorities, the Department of Energy is seeking to build the world's largest unclassified supercomputer at an estimated cost of $350 million. ORNL's Center for Computational Sciences, located in a new 150,000 sq ft facility, is viewed by Wadsworth as a leading contender to house the proposed supercomputer.
Ranking 7th on the secretary's list is a new Genomics Research facility for technologies designed to reduce pollution and develop new energy sources by studying how cells respond to various environments. Wadsworth said ORNL is already making plans to join with university partners to bid on the new $270 million facility.
Coming in at number 14 on the list is a second target station for the Spallation Neutron Source, scheduled for completion in 2006, and a 4-megawatt upgrade of the SNS. The $480 million project would be located adjacent to the current SNS facility in Oak Ridge and help make ORNL the world's foremost center for the study of materials.
ORNL's neutron sciences program also would benefit from a proposed upgrade of the neutron cold source at the High Flux Isotope Reactor, number 23 on the secretary's list.
Wadsworth added that in addition to these four projects, the list included areas in fusion and physics "in which we expect ORNL will play a strong role."
Wadsworth cautioned that funding for the secretary's plan is contingent upon passage of the energy legislation now before Congress as well as future budgets. "This is a tremendous plan that reflects leadership and vision. Our task now is to match the resources with the vision," Wadsworth said.
The "Facilities for the Future" document is available on the Office of Science Website, http://www.science.doe.gov.
ORNL is a multiprogram facility managed for DOE by UT-Battelle.
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