Oak Ridge Sees Layoffs, Research At Risk In Budget Debate

Oak Ridge, Anderson County (AP) -- Officials at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory are sweating budgeting.

Of concern is a possibility that congress might pass a resolution to keep government spending at last year's levels.

Lab Director Jeff Wadsworth told the Knoxville News Sentinel the major issues are the lab's plans with computer maker Cray to develop the word's faster supercomputers for open research and for the just-completed $1.5 billion Spallation Neutron Source research tool.

More than 20 percent of the laboratory's funds are at risk and a worst-case scenario would have the facility laying off 900 people.

Wadsworth says sudden budget shifts can have long-term consequences. It takes a national laboratory five to ten years to put together a world-class research team.

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