Senator Meets with Argonne Board Chairman Following Committee Approval of Appropriations Bill That Preserves Essential Funding for Fermilab and Argonne National Lab

[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today met with Argonne National Laboratory Chairman of the Board and University of Chicago President, Robert Zimmer, following the Senate Appropriations Committee’s approval a bill that preserves essential federal funding for scientific research and development programs that will support work at both Argonne National Laboratory and Fermilab. The two labs together employ roughly 4,725 Illinoisans. A photo of today’s meeting is available here.


“Research and innovation are part of the basic infrastructure that builds this country,” said Durbin. “Science labs like Fermi and Argonne are the backbone of our nation’s scientific infrastructure and workforce. I am pleased that today’s legislation will continue our support of existing projects at our national laboratories, and protect America’s position as a leader in scientific and technological innovation.”


The Fiscal Year 2014 Appropriations Bill for Energy and Water Development – which now awaits action by the full Senate – includes funding for the following energy research and development accounts that fund projects at Argonne National Laboratory and Fermilab:


  • Basic Energy Science: $1.805 billion in funding for the Office of Science’s Basic Energy Science account which is Argonne National Laboratory’s largest single-source funding source, and accounts for approximately 40 percent of the lab’s funding;


  • Major Items of Equipment:  $169 million for the upgrade and operations of the Advanced Photon Source, a sophisticated x-ray beam that companies, universities, and other research institutions use to conduct their own research.


  • Energy Innovation Hub for Batteries and Energy Storage: $24.2 million for the Energy Innovation Hub for Batteries and Energy Storage. In November 2012, Argonne National Laboratory was selected to receive an award of up to $120 million over five years to create the Hub, also known as the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR), which is a partnership including University of Chicago, the University of Illinois, the City of Chicago, and private firms and townships in Illinois. The project will establish Illinois as a leader in a multi-billion dollar, developing industry that has potential to stimulate substantial employment and economic growth.


  • Advanced Scientific Computing Research: $494 million in funding for the Office of Science’s Advanced Scientific Computing Research account, which supports Argonne’s National Laboratory’s supercomputer initiatives;


  • Leadership Computing Facility: $67 million for the operations of Argonne’s Leadership Computing Facility;


  • Exascale Computing Initiative: $150 million for the DOE’s Exascale Computing Initiative. Durbin is a lead sponsor of the ExaSCALE Computing Leadership Act of 2013, which would speed the development of computers that are faster than 50 million laptops combined. The new technology would be useful in computation-intensive research areas such as physics, earth science, national security, biology, engineering, climate modeling, aerospace and energy.


  • High Energy Physics: $806 million in funding for the Office of Science’s High Energy Physics account which is the primary source of funding for Fermilab, and accounts for approximately 90 percent of the lab’s funding;


  • Long Baseline Neutrino Experiment: $30 million in funding is included for the Long Baseline Neutrino Experiment, a primary focus at Fermilab. Research in neutrinos represents the next frontier of particle physics. 


  • The Muon to Electron Experiment: $35 million in funding is included for the Muon to Electron Experiment which could result in the development of a revolutionary technology in the field. 


  • Accelorator Stewardship: $20 million in funding to help quickly translate scientific advancements in High Energy Physics to other energy and medical research fields. This is a critical mission at the Illinois Accelerator Research Center, located on Fermilab’s campus.


  • Science Laboratory Infrastructure: $98 million for infrastructure upgrade at national laboratories, including $35 million for critical infrastructure upgrades at Fermilab.


The bill also directs the Secretary of Energy to create a commission to review the DOE’s National Laboratory system and recommend ways the labs can be managed more cost effectively to better align its research activities with the missions of the Department of Energy.


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 3,450 people, including scientists and engineers. 


Fermilab is the nation’s premier high-energy physics laboratory that employs over 1,257 people including physicists, engineers and computer professionals.  The laboratory leads U.S. research into the fundamental nature of matter and energy. Fermilab is a world-leading laboratory in the study of neutrinos and very rare processes using existing and upgraded facilities.