Officials Break Ground on $95M Oak Ridge Lab

Mon May 20, 2019 - Southeast Edition #11
Oak Ridge National Laboratory


In this early conceptual drawing, the Translational Research Capability planned for Oak Ridge National Laboratory follows the design of research facilities constructed during the laboratory’s modernization campaign.
(Oak Ridge National Laboratory photo)
In this early conceptual drawing, the Translational Research Capability planned for Oak Ridge National Laboratory follows the design of research facilities constructed during the laboratory’s modernization campaign. (Oak Ridge National Laboratory photo)

Energy Secretary Rick Perry, U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann and lab officials broke ground May 7 on a multipurpose research facility that will provide laboratory space for expanding scientific activities at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.

The new Translational Research Capability, or TRC, will be purpose-built for research in computing and materials science and will serve to advance the science and engineering of quantum information.

"Through today's groundbreaking, we're writing a new chapter in research at the Translational Research Capability Facility," Perry said. "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 environment labs. Approximately 75 percent of the facility will contain large, modularly planned and open laboratory areas with the rest as office and support spaces.

"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," ORNL Director Thomas Zacharia said. "The new building represents a renaissance in the way we carry out research allowing more flexible alignment of our research activities to the needs of frontier research."

The flexible space will support the lab's growing fundamental materials research to advance future quantum information science and computing systems. The modern facility will provide atomic fabrication and materials characterization capabilities to accelerate the development of novel quantum computing devices. Researchers also will 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 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.

At approximately 100,000 square ft., the TRC 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 also will conform to sustainable building practices with an eye toward encouraging collaboration among researchers. 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.

ORNL began a modernization campaign shortly after UT-Battelle arrived in 2000 to manage the national laboratory. The new construction has enabled the laboratory 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 construction is supported by the Science Laboratory Infrastructure program of the DOE Office of Science.

ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy's Office of Science, the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States.

For more information, visit http://science.energy.gov.