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Stimulus Plan Brings $71.2 Million to ORNL

The Department of Energy announced Monday that $71.2 million in stimulus funding is coming to Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and most of that money will be used for construction of a new Chemical and Materials Science Lab.

 

The Department of Energy announced Monday that $71.2 million in stimulus funding is coming to Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and most of that money will be used for construction of a new Chemical and Materials Science Lab.

The supplemental funding was appropriated as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and will be used to speed work on the $95 million lab project, which has been in planning stages for a couple of years, and other infrastructure improvements at ORNL.
 
About 170 construction jobs will be generated by the spending, and the new research facility should be completed in 2011, a year ahead of schedule, according to Oak Ridge officials.
 
DOE said the $71.2 million for ORNL was the "first installment" of Oak Ridge funding from the government's economic stimulus package, and much more is expected in the days ahead.
 
The ORNL money was part of $1.2 billion is spending announced Monday by Energy Secretary Steven Chu during a visit to Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York.
 
Another $400 million in stimulus funds from DOE's Office of Science will be distributed later, and DOE also will announce within the next couple of weeks how it plans to allocate $6 billion in environmental cleanup dollars contained in the stimulus package. Oak Ridge is expected to get another piece of the science funding and a large share of the cleanup money.
 
Gerald Boyd, DOE's Oak Ridge manager, said about $60 million of the $71.2 million announced Monday will be devoted to the 160,000-square-foot Chemical and Materials Science Lab. Other money will be spent on improvements at the Spallation Neutron Source and the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences, he said.
 
"It's going to be a big help to us," Boyd said.
 
According to information distributed by ORNL, the new Chemical and Materials Science Lab will replace old wet labs that were built in the 1950s. "The current facility is plagued with high energy costs, leaking underground pipes and unreliable utilities," ORNL Director Thom Mason said in a statement.
 
The ORNL chief said designs for the new facility are nearly complete, and contractors have been selected. Once completed, it will house about 200 researchers working on projects such as solar batteries, corrosion-resistant materials and superconducting transmission lines.
 
Boyd did not want to specify how much money Oak Ridge is likely to get out of DOE's $6 billion cleanup fund, but he said it will be distributed among four Oak Ridge contractors - UT-Battelle at ORNL; B&W at the Y-12 National Security Complex; Bechtel Jacobs, DOE's cleanup manager in Oak Ridge; and EnergX, the contractor that manages DOE's Transuranic Waste Processing Center.
 
"It's going to create a substantial number of jobs," the DOE manager said.
 
Source: Knoxville News Sentinel Co.