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OpinionColumnistsRita Ciolli

BNL ion collider to generate thousands of jobs

An aerial view of Brookhaven National Laboratory in

An aerial view of Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton. Credit: Brookhaven National Lab

In January, the Department of Energy announced that the world’s next-generation electron-ion collider would be awarded to the Brookhaven National Laboratory. It was huge news in the science world and in the furtherance of fundamental research to explore what matter is exactly made of, and how it is held together. But now the benefits of BNL winning the competition will generate down-to-earth news for Long Island.

DOE has issued BNL a Certificate of Decision for the collider, triggering the design phase and the start of the money flow. New York State forecasts the project will create 4,000 construction jobs over the next decade. The collider will cost between $1.6 billion and $2.6 billion of mostly federal dollars with $200 million being spent on labor and materials. This money will be used to hire architects, engineers and workers in almost all sectors of the building trades. Such critical government spending on infrastructure could provide ballast for Long Island during an economic downturn.

The lab says a kickoff on Friday will begin with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who is making a rare visit to the federal facility in Upton. New York State committed $100 million to upgrade infrastructure as part of BNL’s winning proposal, more than Virginia did in support of the federal lab in that state. Up to $4.7 million of that will be spent the first year. Next up on the program will be Paul Dabbar, DOE’s undersecretary for science, who will announce the official launch of the construction phase while Sen. Chuck Schumer will deliver a message in person. Rep. Lee Zeldin, who advocated for the collider, and new Stony Brook University President Maurie McInnis will both speak. The collider will raise the university’s science research profile worldwide as hundreds of the top scientists work with the lab.

The event will be live streamed at www.bnl.gov/video and www.twitter.com/brookhavenlab.

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