U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and U.S. Congressman Joseph Morelle announced they have successfully secured $83 million in funding for the OMEGA Laser Facility at University of Rochester Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE) in the recently passed bipartisan omnibus spending package for Fiscal Year 2022. The funding is critical to the groundbreaking work being done at LLE to help support the science-based stewardship of the nation’s nuclear weapon stockpile. This funding will support nearly 900 Rochester jobs for scientists, engineers, technicians, and support staff, helping to drive economic growth throughout Upstate New York.
“I am proud to deliver this $83 million boost in funding for Rochester’s OMEGA Laser Facility to ensure the 900 scientists, engineers, and other workers employed thanks to the Lab can stay laser focused on continuing their groundbreaking energy research and keeping America’s nuclear stockpile safe,” said Senator Schumer. “The University of Rochester Laser Lab research is essential for our national security and is vital to our regional economy, employing hundreds of scientists and bringing millions into the Rochester area every year. As majority leader, I am proud to secure this funding and will always fight to advance America’s energy leadership, protect our global technological competitiveness, and ensure Upstate New York has the federal resources to lead the nation in scientific discovery.”
“The OMEGA Laser Facility at University of Rochester Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE) is a world-renowned institution, and I’m thrilled to deliver this $83 million investment to support the nearly 900 workers at the helm of the lab’s cutting edge nuclear fusion research,” said Senator Gillibrand. “This industry has always been one of my priorities and I’m confident these federal dollars will not only boost the Rochester-Finger Lakes economy, but also strengthen our global position in technological advancements and national security.”
“The Laboratory for Laser Energetics is a world-class institution and a perennial leader in cutting edge research,” said Congressman Morelle. “I was proud to work alongside Senators Schumer and Gillibrand to secure this funding that will stimulate LLE’s continued growth while also strengthening our economy, enhancing global competitiveness, and supporting local jobs right here in Rochester. I am grateful to my colleagues for their partnership and look forward to our continued work together to deliver for families and businesses in our community.”
“I want to thank Senator Schumer, Senator Gillibrand and Rep. Joe Morelle for their tremendous efforts and longstanding support for the University’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE),” said Sarah Mangelsdorf, President of the University of Rochester. “It is thanks to their leadership that LLE remains the U.S. Department of Energy’s largest university-based program in the nation and home to two of the largest and most capable lasers at any academic institution in the world. This funding strengthens LLE’s significant contributions to national security, scientific education and leadership, and regional innovation and growth.”
Established in 1970, the Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE) of the University of Rochester is a unique and cost effective national resource for research and education in science and technology. LLE is the largest U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) university-based research program in the nation and is home to the OMEGA lasers (Omega and Omega EP) – two of the largest and most capable lasers at any academic institution in the world. The LLE employs 400 workers in Rochester and supports another 500 workers at optics, photonics, and imaging companies located throughout the Rochester Finger Lakes region. The funding will allow LLE to support facility operations and experiments on OMEGA in order to make progress on the three most viable approaches to fusion, as well as support the research programs of the three DOE National Nuclear Security Administration laboratories. With this support, LLE will also be able to provide the needed scientific and technical support for external users, including national laboratories and more than 400 scientists from over 50 universities that conduct research at OMEGA facility
Schumer, Gillibrand, and Morelle have long fought for Rochester’s Laser Lab. They helped secure $82 million in funding in the FY2021 spending bill, $80 million in the FY2020, and $80 million in FY2019.