DoE to help fund MSU isotope research

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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has entered a cooperative agreement with Michigan State University (MSU) to provide financial assistance to design and establish the university's Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB).

FRIB will be a DoE national user facility within the department's office of nuclear physics portfolio, and located on the MSU campus in East Lansing, Mich. The centerpiece of the new user facility will be a superconducting linear accelerator that will increase the reach of isotope research in the United States.

The DOE said that the research conducted at FRIB will involve experimentation with intense beams of rare isotopes, and is expected to advance critical applications in the areas of materials science, medicine and stockpile stewardship.

FRIB, which will be operational in about a decade, will have approximately 400 employees and serve about 1,000 users. FRIB will cost approximately $550 million to design and build and is projected to create hundreds of jobs in mid-Michigan and generate more than $180 million in new state tax revenue, according to an economic impact study by the Anderson Economic Group of East Lansing. The new facility will ensure continued U.S. leadership in isotope research and nuclear science education.

While FRIB is being constructed, MSU will continue to operate the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL) as a national user facility, funded via a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation (NSF). In fiscal year 2009, NSF has provided MSU with $20.5 million for NSCL.