FRIB construction to begin in early spring

On January 22, the Department of Energy Office of Science (DOE-SC) gave the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) official notice that it can now begin construction. This notice completes the process begun when President Obama signed into law the 2014 federal budget approved by the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate, which includes $55 million to support construction of FRIB in the coming year.

MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon, referring to the efforts put forth by the FRIB Project team to get to this point, said, “You are exemplary of the quality, creativity and dedication that defines MSU as a dynamic international leader for today and tomorrow."

People who have been on-site at FRIB know that a lot of work has gone into preparation for construction. In early spring, contractors will be mobilized to start excavation, and observers in and around the campus area will begin to see continuous activity and progress.

“Together we will make FRIB real,” said FRIB Project Manager Thomas Glasmacher. “The whole FRIB project team stands ready to realize the opportunity to support the mission of the DOE-SC and the aspirations of the international nuclear science community.”

Noticeable on-site is the nearly-completed SRF Highbay, 27,000 square feet of research space constructed adjacent to FRIB. In spring 2014, the SRF building will be complete and ready to host teams of engineers and scientists for research and development of the equipment that will make up the FRIB accelerator.

Excavation will extend into 2015 and will yield a site 1,500 feet long by 70 feet wide and 40 feet deep, ready for construction. Concrete will be poured soon thereafter, followed by structural steel.

Glasmacher said, “Like running a marathon, we have finished training for the race; now we are ready and it is time to start running.” And the FRIB Project team will keep running for the next eight years, the time scheduled to deliver FRIB.

Support from the Michigan delegation, MSU, and the DOE Office of Science has been crucial to the entire process. Their support will continue to be necessary as FRIB faces budget appropriations similar to this each year.