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OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (WVLT) – Oak Ridge National Lab is set to receive $497 million dollars from the federal government, money that comes from President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act.
“These kind of big chunks of money happen once in a decade or so,” said Dr. Thomas Zacharia, Director for ORNL.
Dr. Zacharia said the money will go a long way toward innovation and bringing more jobs to the area. One of the biggest projects is a second target station, which is important for materials research and will cost more than $42 million.
“New battery technology for energy storage, whether it’s on the grid, or for new automobiles as we go into electric vehicles,” said Zacharia.
The second target station is one of several facilities the lab will build, thanks to the funding.
Zacharia said energy and climate change are two of the biggest challenges society faces. The new facilities will contribute directly towards innovations in those fields.
“In terms of how we build our homes, how we are receiving information, how we travel, how we move around,” Zacharia said.
The investment in the lab will also add jobs, adding to an already growing lab.
“We have grown the laboratory by about 1,500 jobs in the last few years,” Zacharia said. “The knock-on effects from these inventions and small companies starting around the laboratory is going to create more jobs.”
Zacharia said these projects will pan out over the course of the next several years, and he believes the investment will enrich the community and lead the lab into the future.