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Originally appeared in Friday, June 18, 2004 Oak Ridger

Funding looking positive for Oak Ridge

THE SITUATION: Projects impacted range from neutron research to the construction and demolition of facilities.

By: Paul Parson | Oak Ridger Staff

The 2005 Energy and Water spending bill includes $114 million for a new storage facility for bomb-grade uranium at Oak Ridge's nuclear weapons plant.

That's $50 million over the budget request, according to U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, R-3rd District.

Several other projects at the Y-12 National Security Complex got funding boosts in the appropriations bill. With an increase of $160 million above the budget request, the bill next goes up for a vote on the House floor, with trips to the Senate and a joint conference committee to follow.

An additional $80 million was included to demolish outdated buildings, modernize production facilities and reduce the footprint of Y-12 in order to streamline manufacturing and cut security costs, according to Wamp. Also, an extra $30 million was tacked on to an account that will be used to continue to fortify security at the plant.

Wamp said the total budget request for local Department of Energy-related activities is around $2.9 billion. The appropriations bill also includes funding for the following projects:

  • Full funding of $113.6 million for continued construction of the Spallation Neutron Source, which will be the world's most powerful neutron research facility when completed in 2006.
  • $42.3 million for science laboratory infrastructure, which will continue modernization efforts at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
  • An additional $30 million in the area of advanced scientific computing - a benefit since ORNL will soon house the world's fastest supercomputer.
  • $17.81 million for the Center for Nanophase Materials Science at ORNL, which will be the first of its kind and leverage ORNL's unique neutron scattering capabilities.
  • An additional $12 million in the area of fusion energy, which will fund research addressing the backlog of domestic projects in this field.
  • *$750,000 for the Energy Reliability and Efficiency Laboratory that will be used to research and develop electricity transmission and distribution technologies - among other things.

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