Labs and Facilities

FYI covers major policy developments related to universities, national laboratories, and other Federally Funded Research and Development Centers, especially those relevant to the physical sciences.


More than 2,500 scientists and community members have signed a petition calling on Fermilab to loosen cumbersome visitor access procedures. Lab management says safety and security concerns are driving access policies, but also that improvements are on the way.

The six-month Molten Chloride Reactor Experiment that TerraPower and Southern Company plan to conduct at Idaho National Lab would be a rare case in which highly enriched uranium is used for new domestic civilian purposes.

House appropriators for the Department of Energy previewed their priorities at a hearing on DOE’s budget request for fiscal year 2024, the first since Republicans won control of the House.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has cleared the National Institute of Standards and Technology to resume operating its research reactor, a major user facility for neutron-scattering experiments, ending an extended closure stemming from a February 2021 radiation incident.

A new National Academies report details the extensive degradation of facilities on the two main campuses of the National Institute of Standards and Technology. To resolve the situation, it endorses a plan to more than triple the agency’s current construction and maintenance budget for more than a decade.

Congress raised the National Science Foundation’s budget by 12% to $9.87 billion for fiscal year 2023, with a portion dedicated to implementing initiatives of the CHIPS and Science Act.

Congress raised the budget for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science by 8% to $8.1 billion for fiscal year 2023, double the request. Combined with a one-time boost last year from the Inflation Reduction Act, the office has been able to accelerate certain projects and initiatives across its portfolio.

Congress is working to pass fiscal year 2023 spending legislation by the end of this week. Although the finalized package falls well short of the ambitious funding targets set in the CHIPS and Science Act, it does include funding increases across science agencies that generally keep up with inflation and in some cases delivers double-digit percentage increases.

The National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Lab has performed a nuclear fusion experiment that released more energy than was applied to it. The accomplishment realizes an idea first posited six decades ago and will have applications in nuclear warhead stewardship, but using the method for practical energy generation remains a distant prospect.

DOE has finished allocating a one-time $1.55 billion boost to facilities and equipment projects across its Office of Science. Major priorities included shoring up funding for international projects and moving light source upgrades forward, while projects still in their earlier phases tended to receive lesser shares of the total.