OAK RIDGE, TN - At an event earlier this afternoon at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced that DOE has issued a five-year extension to its current management and operating contractor, UT-Battelle, LLC, for the continued operation of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. While at Oak Ridge, Secretary Chu also met with staff from the laboratory and saw firsthand the progress that has been made possible as a result of the Recovery Act investments at the site.
"ORNL's world-class facilities and scientific talent are vital to developing solutions to the Nation's many energy challenges," said Secretary Chu. "The entire Oak Ridge site has made tremendous progress on Recovery Act-funded projects - creating nearly 2,000 jobs, accelerating our cleanup efforts, and helping to put the country on a path to a clean energy future."
During his visit to ORNL, Secretary Chu toured the construction area for the Chemical and Materials Science Laboratory. As a result of the Recovery Act, DOE was able to begin construction of the facility a year earlier than originally planned. To date, of the more than $1.1 billion in Recovery Act funds received in Oak Ridge, $1 billion has been assigned to specific projects and nearly 2,000 jobs have been created or saved. This includes funding for science and clean energy programs at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, as well as environmental cleanup projects at ORNL, the Y-12 National Security Complex, and the East Tennessee Technology Park.
As one of the Department's major, multi-program national laboratories, ORNL is an international leader in a wide range of scientific areas that support the Department of Energy's missions. The Laboratory's six major scientific competencies include neutron science, energy, high performance computing, complex biological systems, advanced materials, and national security.
ORNL is the site of the Spallation Neutron Source and the High Flux Isotope Reactor, which combined have positioned ORNL as the world's foremost center for neutron science research. ORNL is also the site of the Office of Science's National Leadership Computing Facility that currently houses the world's 1st and 3rd fastest computers. In addition, ORNL is home to one of the Department's three Bioenergy Research Centers, with the mission of developing the nation's next-generation alternative fuels.
UT-Battelle, which was formed specifically to propose on the Oak Ridge National Laboratory contract in 1999, is comprised of The University of Tennessee and Battelle Memorial Institute based in Columbus, Ohio. The contract extension announced today by Secretary Chu will run through March 31, 2015, and has an annual value of over $1.4 billion.