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Investing in FRIB positive for MSU, state of Michigan

August 4, 2013

The U.S. Department of Energy has approved a timeline and cost for the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, or FRIB, at MSU, a show of confidence in what the project ultimately will yield for the campus and the state of Michigan.

The DOE fixed the cost of the facility at $730 million, supplying all but the $94.5 million expected from the state of Michigan and MSU, and set the official date of completion for 2022 while aiming for late 2020.

The approval, named Critical Decision 2, allows the department to begin work on the project.

These next steps in planning show the DOE put all of its cards on the table, knowing the value of a facility tasked with finding rare isotopes and understanding the “physics of nuclei, nuclear astrophysics, fundamental interactions and applications for society in medicine, homeland security and industry,” according to the FRIB website.

According to FRIB and past stories from The State News, the program is tasked with understanding the same rare isotopes that are created in the “thermonuclear explosions of supernovae,” which ultimately could help understand how diseases work and possibly find cures, among other benefits.

The value of FRIB also is inherent for MSU, as FRIB will generate interest in campus research programs and hopefully, another revenue stream entering the community.

By tradition, MSU is a school highly invested in sports, business, agriculture and research. The $730 million leap of faith is a revitalization of the diverse educational experience on campus, and creating a facility of this caliber adds merit to that claim.

Just as MSU piles on additions to the sports facilities, this project gives MSU a leading edge on jobs and research within the study of rare isotopes.

Imagine a world-renowned breakthrough in the field of rare isotopes coming from the halls of MSU — it’s an exciting thing to think about.

For current students, the effects of the project will come long after graduation day, but these winds of change carry an air of scientific achievement. Even before completion, its presence will bring students to the community and bump the university to a higher tier of nuclear research.

Hopefully the university will send faculty members into the community as the program progresses to fully help the general public understand the effects of FRIB, and what it means to have such a grand experiment taking place a stone’s throw away.

This is beneficial for both the university and the public, and it could be imperative in helping the project succeed.

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