Michigan State University’s Facility for Rare Isotope Beams project passed an important milestone last week when it earned what’s known as CD-1, or critical decision 1, approval.
This approval from the U.S. Department of Energy means that work can continue on the preliminary design of the project in fiscal year 2011-2012 at an anticipated cost of $55 million.
FRIB will be a DOE National User Facility within the department’s Office of Nuclear Physics portfolio and will be a new research tool for probing into the heart of atoms.
The centerpiece of the new user facility will be a superconducting linear accelerator that will dramatically increase the reach of rare isotope research in the United States. The accelerator will produce isotopes that normally exist only in the most extreme environments in the universe and will greatly expand the usefulness of isotopes in a broad range of applications from modeling stars to understanding the workings of nanoscale electronic devices.
Construction of FRIB is anticipated to begin in late 2013. The project is expected to bring $1 billion in economic development to the region and is expected to be completed by 2020.
The facility is already attracting top nuclear researchers and engineers from around the world. In the 18 months since it was announced that MSU would house FRIB, about 25 scientific and engineering positions have been filled for FRIB and another 20 positions are currently open.
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