Durbin: Senate Appropriations Committee Approves Bill That Preserves Essential Funding for Fermilab and Argonne National Lab

[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today announced that the Senate Appropriations Committee, of which he is a member, has approved a bill that preserves essential federal funding for scientific research and development programs that will support work at two Illinois labs – Argonne National Laboratory and FermiLab which together employ roughly 4,800 Illinoisans.  These projects were included in President Obama’s FY2012 Budget and supported by Durbin. 


“We must reduce our spending but we cannot afford to abandon our leadership in research and innovation,” said Durbin.  “Science labs like Fermi and Argonne are the backbone of our nation’s scientific infrastructure and workforce.  With today’s legislation, we have found a fiscally responsible way to allow them to continue existing projects, expand their research and protect America’s position as a leader in scientific and technological innovation.”


“Senator Durbin has been a longtime champion for federal investment in scientific research – the cornerstone of America’s technological innovation and economic progress,” said Eric D. Isaacs, Director of Argonne National Laboratory. “In these tough economic times, it is great to see the Senator's steadfast commitment to investing in the future and standing up for Illinois’ national laboratories and their extraordinary ongoing contribution to our national interest.”


“We at Fermilab appreciate very much Senator Durbin’s efforts to champion scientific research in the DOE Office of Science and in our national laboratories.  His support is critical for us at Fermilab in this period of transition” said Pier Oddone, Director of Fermilab.

The Fiscal Year 2012 Appropriations Bill for Energy and Water includes funding for the following energy research and development accounts that fund projects at Argonne National Laboratory and Fermilab:


  • Vehicle Technologies: $319,000,000 in funding for the Office of Energy’s Efficiency and Renewable Energy Vehicle Technologies account which supports Argonne National Laboratory’s research on batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles;


  • Fuel Cycle Research: $188,000,000 in funding for the Office of Nuclear Energy’s Fuel Cycle Research and Development account which supports research on spent nuclear fuel reprocessing and management.  Illinois is home to 11 working nuclear reactors at six sites, more than any other state, and gets about half of its electricity from nuclear power;


  • Basic Energy Science: $1,700,000,000 in funding for the Office of Science’s Basic Energy Science account which is Argonne National Laboratory’s largest funding source (approximately 40% of Argonne’s funding support comes from this account);


  • Advanced Scientific Computing Research: $443,000,000 in funding for the Office of Science’s Advanced Scientific Computing Research account, a priority for Argonne National Laboratory which currently has one of the fastest supercomputers;


  • High Energy Physics: $780,000,000 in funding for the Office of Science’s High Energy Physics account which is the primary source of funding for Fermilab;


  • Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E): $250,000,000 for the Department of Energy’s ARPA-E energy innovation grant program which awards competitive grants for innovative high-risk, high payoff research projects to solve the nation’s greatest energy challenges.


Argonne National Laboratory is one of the U.S. Department of Energy's largest research centers. It is also the nation's first national laboratory which houses basic and applied scientific research across a wide spectrum of disciplines, ranging from high-energy physics to climatology and biotechnology.  Argonne employs roughly 2,900 people, including about 1,000 scientists and engineers. 


Fermilab is the nation’s premier high-energy physics laboratory that employs roughly 1,900 people including about 900 physicists, engineers and computer professionals.  The laboratory leads U.S. research into the fundamental nature of matter and energy. At the end of September the Tevatron will stop running after nearly three decades of enormous productivity in scientific discovery and technological innovation. Fermilab will continue to be a world-leading laboratory in the study of neutrinos and very rare processes using existing and upgraded facilities.