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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 14, 2014

SCHUMER: ROCHESTER LASER LAB WILL RECEIVE $64 MILLION IN FUNDING THROUGH APPROPRIATIONS BILL; BOOST IN FUNDING WILL KEEP ROCHESTER AT THE CUTTING EDGE OF HIGH TECH ENERGY RESEARCH


Schumer Reveals that in FY2014 the Rochester Laser Lab Will Receive $64 Million, Over $5 Million More than Last Year – Schumer Has Fought for Years to Provide the U of R Lab With Much Needed Funding


Funding Will Go to Critical Programs that Protect Nation, Secure & Protect Over 300 Jobs in New York


Schumer: This Funding Will Help Keep Rochester at the Forefront of Laser Technology and Guarantees It Plays A Roll Solving Critical Problems for Our Nation

Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that, after his push, the FY2014 Appropriations Bill includes $64 million for the University of Rochester Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE). This is $5.25 million more than the $58.75 million allocated to the Lab last year under sequestration. This new funding will allow the University of Rochester to continue the critical work being done at its lab, particularly as it relates to the future of the United States through its research into fusion power, which has the potential to completely eradicate our dependence on foreign oil. This funding will provide the necessary resources to support the lab’s research program and operations and experiments on OMEGA. Absent this level of funding, the lab could have been forced to lay off scientists and engineers, and reduce their capacity and partnerships with national laboratories.

 

Schumer has urged his Senate colleagues to provide robust funding for the Omega Laser Facility at the U of R in the Fiscal Year 2014 Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill, and that request has been met with today’s news. Schumer urged his colleagues to come as close as possible to meeting the funding levels established in the recently-renewed cooperative agreement between the Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration.

 

“This significant boost in federal funding for the University of Rochester laser lab will not only be a boon for the world-class research in fusion power that it conducts, but will ensure that the lab is not forced to lay off scientists and engineers and that their partnerships with national laboratories do not suffer,” said Senator Schumer. “I am thrilled to have helped secure $64 million for the lab - $5 million more than last year - that will keep the U of R at the cutting edge of high-tech innovation and maintain Rochester as a job-creating center of laser innovation.”

 

Because the current continuing resolution that funds the federal government expires Wednesday, January 15th, Congress will first take up and pass a 3-day short-term extension of the continuing resolution. This allows time for the House of Representatives and Senate to pass the larger omnibus appropriations bill that was released on Monday night and already agreed to by both houses of Congress.

 

Established in 1970, the Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE) of the University of Rochester is a unique national resource for research and education in science and technology and a major asset of the University not found at any other university in

the country. Both the Rochester area and the University have a history of innovation that provides a singular environment for LLE within a technologically sophisticated scientific community.

 

LLE is home to the OMEGA laser, which is the second most powerful ultraviolet fusion laser in the world, and the OMEGA EP (Extended Performance) laser, a high-intensity, high-energy short-pulse laser, and serves as the principal laser research facility for three national laboratories.  The center’s primary goal is to investigate the interaction of intense radiation with matter and to support the National Ignition Campaign (NIC) using OMEGA and OMEGA EP as well as validate advanced concepts for ICF to be used on the National Ignition Facility (NIF) in order to demonstrate ignition and energy gain.  It is a vital component of our nation’s scientific capital and leadership, and key to strategic work on an independent energy future.

 

As one of the leading institutions training the next generation of leaders in the fields of physics, optics, and material science, LLE is an economic development magnet that bolsters local high tech jobs and attracts scientific talent to Rochester.  The LEE currently employs 316 full-time staff members, 20 University Faculty members and 5 contract employees. Since its inception, the LLE has attracted almost $2 billion to New York State to support cutting edge research, and more than 1,000 individuals are currently involved in the program. Through the LLE’s mission, the University also attracts as many as 300 additional visiting scientists each year to Rochester from national laboratories, universities, and companies and currently hosts over 141 students (graduate, undergraduate, and high school).

 

Last year, the University of Rochester requested funding under the Energy and Water Appropriations Bill for its Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE). The funding was used to develop new laser and materials technologies, provide education in electro-optics, and conduct research and development in advanced technology related to high-energy-density physics. In 2009, Schumer successfully lobbied the Congress for more funds so that the Laser Lab could avoid drastic budgets cuts and layoffs.

 

In 2010,  Senator Schumer announced that President Obama’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2011 included $62.5M in funding for Rochester University’s Laser Lab and pledged to continue to work for funds to strengthen this first-class institution. 

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