November 17, 2003
Volume 81, Number 46
CENEAR 81 46 p. 15
ISSN 0009-2347


Science Office construction plan will shape R&D for next 20 years


Twenty-eight new and expanded science facilities were identified as investment priorities for the next 20 years in a Department of Energy blueprint for R&D growth laid out by Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham on Nov. 10.

About half of the 28 DOE Office of Science facilities would be completely new, said a senior DOE official, explaining that the list is broken into three six-year construction phases. It is a “snapshot in time,” the official stressed, to be reassessed by future presidents and congresses over the next two decades.

HEAVY ION COLLIDER Brookhaven National Lab is one facility on DOE’s priority list.
Initially, a list of more than 50 facilities was developed and ranked by six Science Office advisory panels, and the final selection was made by DOE Science Office Director Raymond Orbach (C&EN, Nov. 10, page 30).

The highest priority item is the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), a $5 billion fusion reactor being developed by an international consortium of countries.

Next comes a multisite unclassified computer system to speed today’s civilian calculation capability by a factor of 100, a space-based probe to explore the universe’s dark energy, a new protein production facility, and the Linac coherent light source proposed for the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center. All but a handful of the 28 have a chemistry, biology, or materials science flavor, and the official said it shows a change toward life-science-related R&D. This list is available at

Congressional staffers told C&EN the list will be “very helpful” to Congress when setting funding priorities.

To fund all the projects, the Science Office would need a 60% funding boost over five years, the DOE official said, taking Science Office funding to $5.5 billion by 2008. Authorization for this increase is in the pending national energy bill. The blueprint would require a 4% annual funding increase thereafter.


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