Particle physics laboratory

Oak Ridge National Laboratory Receives Inflation Reduction Act Funding

Oak Ridge National Laboratory will receive $497 million from the Cut Inflation Act to fund key science and energy projects – isotope production, fusion energy research and supercomputing – that will boost the technological innovation.

The funding, announced Friday, is part of $1.5 billion that will help national laboratories across the country upgrade science facilities, upgrade infrastructure and address deferred maintenance projects, according to the US Department of Energy.

“This funding will support several critical national missions at ORNL, including the production of new isotopes, fusion energy research and development, supercomputing innovation and the second target station,” said the director of ORNL, Thomas Zacharia, in a press release. “We are privileged to have the DOE entrust us with the management of these world-leading capabilities for the nation.”

The funding, which comes from the DOE’s Office of Science, will go to projects that ORNL manages on behalf of the federal government:

Oak Ridge National Laboratory Director Dr. Thomas Zacharia speaks during a groundbreaking ceremony for ORNL's Stable Isotope Production and Research Center Monday, Oct. 24, 2022. The Stable Isotope Production and Research Center will expand the nationÕs ability to enrich stable isotopes for medical, industrial and research application.
  • American ITER project$256 million: This project designs and supplies hardware systems for a reactor-scale plasma combustion experiment.
  • Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility$57 million: ORNL is home to the world’s fastest supercomputer, driving innovative science in areas such as climate change, nuclear science and more.
  • Second target station$42.7 million: This funding will be used to develop a next-generation neutron facility for materials innovation.
  • Materials Plasma exposure experiment$14 million: This device under construction at ORNL will support materials research for next-generation fusion facilities.
  • LEGEND$5 million: ORNL is leading this international nuclear physics experiment that helps scientists understand the universe, matter and antimatter.

ORNL will use an additional $48 million to support isotope work, including $12 million earmarked for its Radioisotope Processing Facility to meet the country’s radioisotope needs.

US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm visited the lab in October to inaugurate the Center for Stable Isotope Production and Research, which will receive about $75 million.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory Director Dr. Thomas Zacharia shows the inner workings of part of the new Frontier supercomputer inside the laboratory complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, Monday, Aug. 8, 2022.

“America’s commitment to science and ingenuity has made us the global leaders we are today, and the continued success of our National Laboratories will ensure that we will be at the forefront of global innovation to generations to come,” Granholm said in the statement.

Silas Sloan covers growth and development in East Tennessee for Knox News. He can be reached at [email protected] You can follow his work on Twitter @silasloan, or on Instagram @knox.growth. and sign up for Urban Knoxville’s free weekly newsletter. Unlock premium benefits and support strong local journalism at knoxnews.com/subscribe.