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Sen. Duckworth Urges DOE to Fully Fund Cutting-Edge Research Programs at Argonne and Fermi National Laboratories

Argonne National Laboratory
Argonne National Laboratory near Lemont, IL (Source: Wikipedia)

Washington, DC—(ENEWSPF)—January 16, 2018

By: Sean Savett

Following Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Rick Perry’s visit to Argonne and Fermi National Laboratories this week at U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth’s (D-IL) request, Duckworth penned a letter to U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Rick Perry urging him to include full funding for cutting-edge research programs at Argonne and Fermi National Laboratories in DOE’s fiscal year 2019 budget request. Duckworth outlined the importance of supporting the laboratories’ research initiatives in quantum information science, particle physics and various innovative technologies to help keep the United States competitive on a global scale.

“Argonne and Fermilab are National treasurers at the forefront of cutting-edge science and innovation,” Duckworth wrote. “The thousands of scientists and engineers that work there represent the best among us—every day they dedicate their expertise to helping solve the world’s most pressing problems like finding cures for cancer and creating new renewable energy technologies capable of preventing the worst impacts of climate change… Federal investment is critical to ensuring the success of our laboratories and that the United States remains a leader in science.”

The Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee, which has jurisdiction over our national laboratories. Duckworth has been a strong supporter of investing in our national laboratories as a member of the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee. In June 2017, she introduced a resolution that passed the Senate unanimously congratulating Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) on 50 years of groundbreaking discoveries.

Argonne National Laboratory, located in Argonne, Illinois, is the largest national laboratory in the Midwest. It employs more than 3,400 full time employees and hosts thousands of students and visiting scientists. Argonne scientists are currently working on a number of important projects critical to our national security and to our nation’s energy resources. Its Exascale project is developing a supercomputer capable of making over a billion calculations per second and its Advanced Photon Source facility is pioneering new drugs and nanotechnologies.

Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), located in Batavia, Illinois, is America’s premier particle physics and accelerator laboratory. This world-renowned facility generates cutting edge research with national and global partners to develop new technologies that support U.S. industrial competitiveness and make groundbreaking scientific discoveries.

A full copy of the letter is below:

Dear Secretary Perry:

During your confirmation process, you promised to tour both Argonne and Fermi National Laboratories. I write to share my appreciation for following through on your commitment to me.

I also write to share a number of the laboratories’ priorities that are of critical national importance and deserve your support. Argonne and Fermilab are national treasurers at the forefront of cutting-edge science and innovation. The thousands of scientists and engineers that work there represent the best among us—every day they dedicate their expertise to helping solve the world’s most pressing problems like finding cures for cancer and creating new renewable energy technologies capable of preventing the worst impacts of climate change.

As you saw firsthand, federal investment is critical to ensuring the success of our Laboratories and that the United States remains a leader in science. To that end, as the Administration develops its science and budget priorities I urge you to:

Invest in the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility (LBNF) for Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE) Project hosted by Fermilab

Once completed, the LBNF-DUNE Project, which is funded by the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science, will be the world’s flagship facility for neutrino physics. The project will also ensure U.S. leadership in particle physics for the next several decades.

It is critical that $145 million be included in your FY 2019 budget request for LBNF-DUNE, consistent with DOE’s approved funding profile.  This level of funding will ensure the project remains both on time and on budget, meets international milestones and compels our international partners to make financial contributions to the project.

Invest in Quantum Information Science

Fermilab and Argonne are leading the world in developing quantum technologies which will dramatically revolutionize the areas of computation, communication, and our understanding of the world around us.  Fermilab, specifically, has developed and launched a number of initiatives that capitalize on their unique role as the national center for high energy physics. This work is being executed in close coordination with industry partners, including Google, AT&T and Lockheed Martin, as well as universities across the country to accelerate the deployment of these transformational technologies. Continued DOE Office of Science investments are critical to maintaining our competitiveness in this area.

Invest in Argonne’s upgrade of the Advanced Photon Source (APS)

Once complete, the APS upgrade will be the world’s most powerful 3-D microscope and open up new areas of scientific discovery in material science, biological and pharmaceutical sciences, physics, chemistry, engineering and national security.  Furthermore, the applications of these discoveries are abundant and wide-ranging. The APS has helped improve recovery of oil and natural gas, enabled new therapy and drug treatments to fight diseases like HIV and cancer, developed new materials, improved combustion engines and advanced technology for stockpile stewardship and the military.

This upgrade will ensure researchers continue to have the advanced tools they need to drive innovation. It will also keep us at the forefront of x-ray science and technology, ahead of competition from China, Europe, and Japan.

Invest in the Exascale Computing Project (ECP) at Argonne

The ECP is a collaborative effort between DOE’s Office of Science, the National Nuclear Security Administration, academia and industry. The mission of the ECP is to revolutionize high-performance computing by creating a computer system capable of functioning at least 50 times faster than today’s most powerful supercomputers.

As you know, we continue to compete against China and the international community to develop the world’s fastest computer. Since 2013, China has held the number one spot for fastest computer and in 2016, it held the top two spots. Furthermore, China is vastly outspending the U.S. on supercomputing. Without robust funding for the ECP, we will fall further and further behind in the race to develop the world’s fastest computer.

Invest in Argonne’s Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR)

Argonne is home to a globally recognized energy storage program that enables vehicles to travel farther, electronic devices to last longer and renewable energy to be integrated into our national electric grid system.  Energy storage today is dominated by a single battery type, lithium-ion; however, storage of the future will require storage diversity for a variety of applications. Continued support for JCESR is key to developing new tools and techniques of predictive battery design of new materials to meet the nation’s future energy storage needs.

Thank you again for touring Illinois world-class National Laboratories and I look forward to working with you on securing these vital priorities.


Tammy Duckworth, United States Senator

Source: www.duckworth.senate.gov


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