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ORNL to receive $497 million in Inflation Reduction Act funding

Nearly $500 million in Inflation Reduction Act funding will support several key science projects underway at ORNL. Credit: ORNL/U.S. Dept. of Energy

Several significant science and energy projects led by the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory will receive a total of $497 million in funding from the Inflation Reduction Act, or IRA.

The IRA funding from DOE’s Office of Science will enable progress on several significant scientific facilities underway at ORNL and fund projects that the lab manages on DOE’s behalf.

“America’s commitment to science and ingenuity shaped us into the world leaders we are today, and the continued success of our national laboratories will ensure we’re at the global forefront of innovation for generations to come,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “Thanks to President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, these world-class institutions will receive $1.5 billion — one of the largest-ever investments in national laboratory infrastructure — to develop advanced energy and manufacturing technologies we need to advance the frontiers of science and tackle tomorrow’s challenges.” 

Sec. Granholm visited ORNL in October to break ground for the Stable Isotope Production and Research Center, or SIPRC, which will receive approximately $75 million in IRA funding. Designed to expand the nation’s capability to enrich stable isotopes for medical, industrial, research and national security uses, the 64,000-square-foot facility will dramatically expand the United States’ isotope enrichment capabilities, reducing dependence on foreign suppliers.

“This funding will support multiple critical national missions at ORNL, including new isotope production, fusion energy research and development, supercomputing innovation and the Second Target Station,” ORNL Director Thomas Zacharia said. “We are privileged that DOE entrusts us to steward these world-leading capabilities for the nation.”

In addition to SIPRC, ORNL is receiving IRA funding for the following projects:

The US ITER project, managed by ORNL for DOE’s Office of Science, will receive $256 million to support U.S. contributions to the international ITER fusion facility. US ITER is designing, fabricating and delivering hardware systems for a reactor-scale burning plasma experiment that will demonstrate the scientific and technological feasibility of fusion energy.

The Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility, which houses multiple supercomputers including the world’s fastest – Frontier – will receive $57 million. Researchers use supercomputers to deliver practical breakthroughs and new scientific knowledge in climate, materials, nuclear science and a wide range of other disciplines.

The Second Target Station, or STS, will receive $42.7 million toward developing the next-generation neutron facility that will help the U.S. maintain leadership in materials innovation. The unique capabilities of STS will enable researchers to accelerate their work on materials well beyond the current pace, resulting in the rapid design and deployment of new materials necessary for energy applications.

The Materials Plasma Exposure eXperiment, or MPEX, is a cutting-edge linear plasma device under construction at ORNL that will receive $14 million. MPEX will support materials research relevant for next-generation fusion facilities, such as a fusion pilot plant.

ORNL will receive approximately $48 million to support additional isotope work, including $12 million for the Radioisotope Processing Facility, which will address the nation’s growing demand for radioisotopes.

LEGEND, the Large Enriched Germanium Experiment for Neutrinoless Double-Beta Decay, an international nuclear physics experiment led by ORNL, will receive $5 million. The experiment will seek an extremely rare signal that, if found, could dramatically revise scientists’ understanding of the universe and the imbalance of matter and antimatter.

UT-Battelle manages ORNL for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States. The Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit