Web Date: March 24, 2009
The Department of Energy (DOE) announced plans on March 23 to spend $1.2 billion on an array of Office of Science-sponsored construction, laboratory infrastructure, and research efforts across the nation.
"Leadership in science remains vital to America's economic prosperity, energy security, and global competitiveness," said Secretary Steven Chu, who announced the projects during a visit to the Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island, N.Y.
Chu said the projects will create "thousands of jobs and breathe new life into many local economies, while helping to accelerate new technology development, renew our scientific and engineering workforce, and modernize our nation???s scientific infrastructure."
The $1.2 billion in new science funding is the first installment of the $1.6 billion allocated to DOE's Office of Science by Congress under the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act, the economic stimulus legislation Congress passed last month (C&EN, Feb. 16, page 7). Officials are working on details to release the remaining $371 million.
Under the plan unveiled by Chu, DOE will spend about $830 million on a range of construction, infrastructure, equipment acquisition, and research efforts at nine of the 10 national laboratories overseen by the department???s science office.
The Brookhaven facility will receive $184 million, with most of the money used to accelerate construction of the National Synchrotron Light Source II project. When complete in fiscal 2015 at a projected cost of $912 million, NSLS-II will be "the brightest X-ray source in the world," according to DOE. Ultimately, the department says, it could lead to advances in battery technology and photovoltaics.
"This increase in federal support for basic research, the hallmark of our work at Brookhaven Lab, will strengthen the country???s global leadership position in science and technology," said Laboratory Director Sam Aronson.
"Secretary Chu's visit to Brookhaven is a clear sign of how important the lab is to the scientific and competitive research future of Long Island and the entire nation," ??Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) added.
DOE says other funding will provide support for both university- and national laboratory-based researchers, working on problems in fields ranging from particle and plasma physics to biofuels, solar energy, superconductivity, solid state lighting, electricity storage, and materials science.
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