Source: Senator Lamar Alexander | Release | March 22, 2018

Bill also increases funding for supercomputing and environmental cleanup in Oak Ridge

United States Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today said the government funding bill increases funding for the most important federal program – the Office of Science – that supports work at Oak Ridge National Laboratory for the third consecutive year, and sets a new record funding level in a regular appropriations bill. The bill also includes significant funding increases in supercomputing and environmental cleanup in Oak Ridge.

“The government funding bill includes record funding – in a regular appropriations bill – for the third consecutive year for the most important federal program that supports the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and demonstrates the importance that Congress attaches to the hard work of thousands of men and women who work in Oak Ridge and the importance of that to our national security and our high standard of living. Tennesseans know that innovative energy research at Oak Ridge National Laboratory means thousands of high-tech jobs for our state and higher family incomes.” Alexander said. “The funding in this legislation will help support Oak Ridge’s supercomputing facility, and Oak Ridge leads the world in some areas in that. Dozens of companies, from small business to Fortune 500 giants, have used supercomputers at Oak Ridge to remain competitive in the global market. Not only does supercomputing help scientists and companies, supercomputers at our national laboratories can be used by federal agencies to combat issues like waste, fraud, and abuse; finding terrorists and criminals; and helping the National Institutes of Health find cures and treatments for diseases. I’m glad we were able to provide a substantial amount of new funding for this effort.”

The bill includes the following priorities for the federal program that supports ORNL:

  • $6.26 billion for the Office of Science, which is $868 million more than last year and a 16 percent increase in the Office of Science’s funding level over last year.
  • $810 million for Advanced Scientific Computing Research, which is an increase of $163 million over last year.
    • Of this amount, $162.5 million is included for the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility, an increase of $52.5 million – or nearly 50 percent – above last year.
    • Supercomputing is one of the most important programs at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and later this year the new Summit supercomputer at Oak Ridge could be the fastest open source research computer in the world.
    • Oak Ridge is also leading the way on the development of the next generation of supercomputers – known as “exascale.”
    • The Exascale Computing Project will receive $205 million, which is an increase of $41 million over last year. Oak Ridge National Laboratory hosts the Exascale Computing Project Office.

Alexander continued: “In addition, the bill includes new funding for advanced manufacturing, which is attracting companies to learn about ways to create new jobs. Last year, I had the opportunity to show Secretary of Energy Rick Perry Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility, where we saw a collection of 3-D printers that companies to Oak Ridge and use to develop advanced manufacturing techniques. Industries are now 3-D printing everything from medical devices to epilepsy drugs, robotic arms to airplane parts, whole cars and buildings. This technology is already used by the automotive and aviation industries and has the potential to do much more. Government-sponsored 3-D printing research is beginning to transform the manufacturing sector in the same way that government-sponsored research played a large role, along with our free enterprise system, in the development of unconventional natural gas that has transformed the energy sector and will continue to shape America’s energy policy for decades.”