Oak Ridge National Laboratory to receive record funding

Oak Ridge National Laboratory to receive record funding

September 30th, 2018 by Mike Pare in Local Regional News

U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann sits on a panel during a tax policy event hosted by America First policies at Lee University's Pangle Hall on Saturday, July 21, 2018, in Cleveland, Tenn. Vice President Mike Pence was the keynote speaker at the event, which featured a panel of guests discussing the effects of President Donald Trump's tax bill.

Photo by Doug Strickland /Times Free Press.

Staff Photo by Dan Henry / The Chattanooga Times Free Press- 8/30/16. Senator Lamar Alexander and Congressman Chuck Fleischmann speak to media moments after the Building K Р27 was demolished at the East Tennessee Technology Park in Oak Ridge, Tenn., on August 30, 2016.

Staff Photo by Dan Henry / The Chattanooga...

Photo by Dan Henry /Times Free Press.

U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann says Oak Ridge National Laboratory and nearby federal facilities will receive the highest dollar amount ever from new legislation that also aids Chattanooga.

Fleischmann, R-Tenn., said the measures include continued funding for the Chattanooga ORNL office as the lab moves ahead with collaborative efforts with EPB and other local entities.

He said the Chattanooga link with ORNL is "the thing I'm most proud of. EPB continues to grow its partnership." The office, opened in 2016, is located at EPB's downtown headquarters and has delved into issues such as power grid security.

Fleischmann said the entire Oak Ridge reservation, including ORNL, the Y-12 National Security Complex and the East Tennessee Technology Park, typically receives about $3 billion annually.

With passage of the new spending package, that figure jumps to more than $4.5 billion, he said.

Also, the legislation, signed into law by President Donald Trump, includes $117.7 million for continued construction of the new Chickamauga Lock in Chattanooga, Fleischmann said.

"From supplying the resources necessary for continued progress on the Chickamauga Lock to supporting the missions at Oak Ridge National Lab and the Y-12 National Security Complex, this package is a win for Tennessee's Third District," he said.

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., chairman of the Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee, said the bills fund key Tennessee priorities.

"These are important bills for Tennesseans," said Alexander, who also chaired the House-Senate conference committee that resolved differences between the versions of the funding measures including the Energy and Water Development appropriations bill.

Fleischmann, who serves on the House Appropriations Committee, said the spending package includes $703 million for ongoing construction of the Uranium Processing Facility in Oak Ridge.

UPF will employ more than 2,000 workers on site when construction peaks in a few years to build a more modern location to enrich materials used in America's nuclear arsenal. That mammoth project is slated for completion in 2025 at a cost no greater than $6.5 billion.

Also included is $200 million for the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility, an increase of $37.5 million above last year. The facility offers computing resources to researchers from government, academia, and industry.

Fleischmann said while ORNL recently brought online the world's fastest supercomputer, it likely will be surpassed within a year by others outside the U.S., probably first in China. He said Congress wants to put an emphasis on America's supercomputing efforts.

In addition, the legislation continues to support advanced manufacturing, including $25 million for Oak Ridge's Manufacturing Demonstration Facility to boost the development of additive manufacturing processes, low-cost carbon fiber, and other advanced technologies.

Chattanooga manufacturing endeavors such as 3-D printing is another of the collaborative efforts with ORNL, officials have said.

The spending measures advance efforts to clean up hazardous materials at Cold War-era sites in the U.S. The bill provides $7.2 billion to support cleanup efforts in the U.S., which is $578 million above the president's budget request. Included in this amount is $646 million for cleanup at the East Tennessee Technology Park, ORNL, and Y-12.

"I'm passionate about clean-up around the country," Fleischmann said.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.