Argonne National Laboratory announces impacts in wake of Omnibus bill passed by Congress

By Steve McGregorJanuary 7, 2008

Effect on staffing undetermined, but job reductions called a certainty

ARGONNE, Ill.  – The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory today announced the shutdown of its Intense Pulsed Neutron Source (IPNS), one of the most productive neutron scattering facilities in the world, as the result of the fiscal year 2008 spending bill approved by Congress prior to the holidays. Moreover, the lab may have to scale back other operations at its Advanced Photon Source (APS) and High Energy Physics (HEP) Division due to lack of funding.

In a memo to Argonne employees, Laboratory Director Robert Rosner said that IPNS would be closed immediately and that decontamination and decommissioning procedures would begin.

"While we expected this to happen in the next few years, the suddenness of the directive from DOE is a consequence of the Omnibus bill passed by Congress just before the holidays," Rosner said. "The actual impact on staffing is yet to be determined . . . but it is certain that there will be staff reductions in IPNS this year."

The extent of possible cutbacks at the APS, the nation's premier X-ray light source, and the HEP Division is not yet clear, Rosner said.

Rosner called the Argonne cutbacks “challenging” and suggested they could have a negative effect on the "morale of younger scientists and engineers who are our future in the international technology race.

"Although I don't want to downplay the seriousness of this situation, it is important to point out that Argonne will overcome this setback," Rosner said. "We have been tested in the past and have not only survived, but thrived. I have the utmost faith in the ability of our people and the mission of the laboratory."