December 13, 2004 — The U.S. Department of Energy has announced its decision to extend the UT-Battelle contract for operation of the Department's Oak Ridge National Laboratory for an additional five years.
UT-Battelle's current contract expires on March 31, 2005. DOE and UT-Battelle officials soon will begin discussions for the contract extension that is expected to become effective on April 1, 2005.
ORNL Director Jeff Wadsworth says the contract announcement is the result of the lab's strong growth under UT-Battelle management.
"DOE's announcement is a strong vote of confidence in the dramatic progress the University of Tennessee and Battelle have made at Oak Ridge over the last five years. The lab's research program has grown by 56 percent; we've replaced many of the lab's aging facilities; we've won some major scientific competitions; and we're nearing completion of the $1.4 billion Spallation Neutron source on budget, on scope and on time."
The estimated value of the contract is about $4.8 billion over the next five years. Wadsworth is optimistic for even greater growth over that time period.
"The laboratory's really been transformed over the last five years. As you now visit Oak Ridge, it looks like a 21st century laboratory and its got 21st century programs. So, it's a time of great optimism for us, and we hope the next five years will have a similar or even greater growth for the laboratory."
ORNL is DOE's largest multi-purpose research laboratory and is responsible for major DOE programs in basic energy sciences, material and neutron science, biological and environmental research, fusion energy science, advanced scientific computation, nuclear physics, energy efficiency and renewable energy, and national security.