Thursday, December 11, 2008

MSU Awarded $550-Million Nuclear Physics Project

Some excellent news for MSU and our state. Our representation in Washington deserves a pat on the back here, too.

Michigan State University will be home to a $550 million federal nuclear physics facility, beating out a prestigious national laboratory for the one-of-a-kind project that promises to boost the state's economy and the university's prestige.

The U.S. Department of Energy announced today that MSU is its choice for the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, or FRIB, the biggest nuclear physics upgrade ever at the university and one that will solidify its spot as a world leader in rare isotope research, leaders say.

World leader! Yes! Besides prestige, lots of money and jobs come with this as well.

Gaining the cutting-edge research facility is welcome news for the state's beleaguered economy. The facility would create $1 billion in economic activity in Michigan and 400 new jobs over a decade, as well as $187 million in taxes over 20 years, according to economist Patrick Anderson.

Michigan lawmakers were overjoyed at the decision, the product of years of lobbying.

"A massive effort to highlight Michigan State University's unique capability paid off for MSU, Michigan, and the nation," said Sen. Carl Levin, D-Detroit. "At a moment in our history when Michigan needs signs of hope, today's decision by the Department of Energy to build the Facility on Rare Isotope Beams at MSU fills the bill. It is the best news for Michigan in a long time."

One caveat.

Congress still needs to approve funds annually for the project.

Uh oh. Let's hope that doesn't become an issue.

Congratulations, everyone!