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Obama's budget calls for saving Brookhaven's atom smasher

President Obama's 2014 budget includes $165 million for

President Obama's 2014 budget includes $165 million for Brookhaven National Laboratory's heavy ion collider, which could keep the facility running for another year. (Credit: Newsday, 2005 / John Paraskevas)

The 2014 budget proposed on Wednesday by President Obama calls for boosting basic science research funding by 5.7 percent, including $165 million to continue funding Brookhaven National Laboratory’s atom smasher.

The proposed increase comes as officials on Long Island worry that any cuts to federal research spending could shutter Brookhaven’s collider, which supports 800 jobs and underpins much of the cutting-edge research here.

In January, a scientific advisory committee ranked the facility last among three projects vying for federal research dollars. If Washington trims science funding, the Upton facility could go.

“The president’s budget shows he understands the importance of nuclear science research, Brookhaven’s (collider), and the importance of staying ahead of other nations,” said Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer, who is among the bipartisan federal lawmakers from New York who have pushed to continue funding the facility.

The collider's future, however, remains far from certain. Like everything else in the president's $3.77 trillion budget, the $5 billion allocation for the Office of Science needs to pass muster with congressional Republicans.

“Now we will work to get this very strong budget request translated into law, so Brookhaven can continue to be on the cutting edge of scientific research, creating jobs and economic activity in the process,” Schumer said.

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