It's time to call in the bulldozers at many of the Department of Energy's national laboratories. Officials at the 10 laboratories have been waiting, wish lists in hand, to hear how much of the stimulus package they might get to spend. Today, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu laid out a plan for how to spend $1.2 billion of the $1.6 billion that the $787 billion stimulus bill provides DOE's Office of Science. Most of that money will pay for upgraded buildings and equipment at the national laboratories.
The biggest single chunk of cash—$150 million—will go to Brookhaven National Laboratory to speed up construction of its National Synchrotron Light Source II.
Other big winners include the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory ($124 million), Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory ($116 million), Oak Ridge National Laboratory ($71 million), and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory ($68 million.) Some $65 million will go to accelerate a big upgrade of the Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility (CEBAF) at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, and $69 million will pay for a super-high-speed data network that will link the nation's research centers. Another $50 million will go to the NOvA neutrino experiment to be managed by Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in cooperation with the University of Minnesota.
There's also substantial new funding for researchers themselves. Chu announced that $277 million will be available for Energy Frontier Research Centers, a new competitive program for researchers based at universities and national laboratories. And $90 million will be allocated to supplement existing DOE-funded research grants.