While visiting The Secret City earlier this week to take an active role in the U.S. Department of Energy announcing a contract with Cray Inc. to build the $600 million Frontier supercomputer at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (as reported in Wednesday’s print edition of The Oak Ridger), U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry also helped break ground on a new 100,000-square foot Translational Research Capability Facility with an estimated price tag of $95 million.
OAK RIDGE, Tenn. — While visiting The Secret City earlier this week to take an active role in the U.S. Department of Energy announcing a contract with Cray Inc. to build the $600 million Frontier supercomputer at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (as reported in Wednesday’s print edition of The Oak Ridger), U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry also helped break ground on a new 100,000-square foot Translational Research Capability Facility with an estimated price tag of $95 million.
According to an ORNL release, the multipurpose research facility will provide state-of-the-art laboratory space for expanding scientific activities at DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The new Translational Research Capability — or TRC — will be purpose-built for world-leading research in computing and materials science and will serve to advance the science and engineering of quantum information.
“Through today’s (May 7, 2019) groundbreaking, we’re writing a new chapter in research at the Translational Research Capability Facility,” Perry stated in the ORNL release. “This building will be the home for advances in Quantum Information Science, battery and energy storage, materials science and more. It will also be a place for our scientists, researchers, engineers and innovators to take on big challenges and deliver transformative solutions.”
With an estimated total project cost of $95 million, the TRC — located in the central ORNL campus — will accommodate sensitive equipment, multipurpose labs, heavy equipment and inert environmental labs, according to ORNL. About 75 percent of the facility will contain large, modularly planned and open laboratory areas … with the rest as office and support spaces.
ORNL Director Thomas Zacharia said, “This research and development space will advance and support the multidisciplinary mission needs of the nation’s advanced computing, materials research, fusion science and physics programs. The new building represents a renaissance in the way we carry out research following more flexible alignment of our research activities to the needs of frontier research.”
The flexible space will support the national lab’s growing fundamental materials research to advance future quantum information service and computing systems.
“The modern facility will provide atomic fabrication and materials characterization capabilities to accelerate the development of novel quantum computing devices,” the ORNL release stated. “Researchers will also use the facility to pursue advances in quantum modeling and simulation — leveraging a co-design approach to develop algorithms along with prototype quantum systems.”
The new laboratories, according to ORNL, will provide noise isolation, electromagnetic shielding and low vibration environments required for multidisciplinary research in quantum information science, as well as materials development and performance testing for fusion energy applications.
“The co-location of the flexible, modular spaces will enhance collaboration among projects,” the ORNL release stated.
At approximately 100,000 square feet, the new Translational Research Capability Facility will be similar in size and appearance to another modern ORNL research facility — the Chemical and Materials Sciences Building which was completed in 2011 and is located nearby.
“The facility’s design and location will also conform to sustainable building practices with an eye toward encouraging collaboration among researchers,” the ORNL release stated. “The TRC will be centrally located in the ORNL main campus area on a brownfield tract that was formerly occupied by one of the laboratory’s earliest Manhattan Project-era structures.”
According to the release, ORNL began a modernization campaign shortly after UT-Battelle arrived in 2000 to manage the national laboratory.
“The new construction has enabled ORNL to meet growing space and infrastructure requirements for rapidly advancing fields such as scientific computing while vacating legacy spaces with inherent high operating costs, inflexible infrastructure and legacy waste issues,” the ORNL release stated.
The construction is supported by the Science Laboratory Infrastructure program of the DOE Office of Science.
ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, “the single largest supporter of basic research in the United States,” according to the ORNL release. “DOE’s Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time.”
For more information, visit http://science.energy.gov/.
Darrell Richardson can be contacted at (865) 220-5510.
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