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Governor's Budget Funds Neutron Research Facility at ORNL

February 1, 2005 — Governor Phil Bredesen's proposed state budget contains funding for a new research facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory that will be shared with the University of Tennessee.

The Governor's budget includes $8 million to build the Joint Institute for Neutron Sciences. Located adjacent to the Spallation Neutron Source, the state facility will house researchers from both ORNL and UT who will study ways to improve the structure of materials.

The proposed Joint Institute for Neutron Sciences would be the third joint institute funded by the state and shared by ORNL and UT. The Joint Institute for Computational Sciences is open. Construction on the Joint Institute for Biological Sciences is scheduled to begin in late spring. All are located at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The three joint institutes are part of a unique partnership that began in April 2000 when the University of Tennessee and Battelle Memorial Institute, located in Columbus, Ohio, became the managing contractor of ORNL. The partnership has enabled UT to expand and enrich the university's research program while providing ORNL facilities that can be used to compete for large federally-funded research programs.

The presence of the Joint Institute for Computational Sciences, for example, was a strong selling point in ORNL's successful bid in 2004 to build the world's largest unclassified computer for the Department of Energy. Likewise, the state's commitment to build the Joint Institute for Neutron Sciences was a factor in DOE's decision to locate the $1.4 billion Spallation Neutron Source in Tennessee.

ORNL Director Jeff Wadsworth thanked Governor Bredesen for proposing to fund the facility, saying the Governor "is using a creative approach to strengthen both UT and ORNL at the same time. The nation's scientific community will certainly take note of the remarkable things taking place in East Tennessee."

If funding is approved by the General Assembly, construction of the Joint Institute for Neutron Sciences is expected to begin in early fall.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy.