Skip to Main Content U.S. Department of Energy
PNNL News Central

Energy Secretary Hazel O'Leary to dedicate Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory at Hanford

News Release

October 16, 1996 Share This!

1 of 1

RICHLAND, Wash. — Energy Secretary Hazel R. O'Leary today dedicated the new Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL) adjacent to the Department of Energy's (DOE) Hanford Site in north Richland, Washington. The laboratory will be operated by the DOE's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). EMSL will focus on developing the basic scientific understanding required by DOE to carry out its environmental restoration and waste management mission.

"Discoveries from this lab will provide the science needed to clean up the nation's nuclear weapons production sites." Said O'Leary. "Opening this laboratory reinforces President Clinton's strong belief that solving environmental problems leads to economic opportunity by creating new technologies, news business and new jobs."

At a ribbon cutting ceremony, the $230 million laboratory was named in honor of the late Dr. William R. Wiley, past PNNL Director, who championed basic molecular science research. Envision as a basic research center, Dr. Wiley and senior laboratory staff realized that science was poised to characterize, manipulate and create molecules to solve problems in environmental cleanup, energy efficiency, health and other fields. In April 1994, Dr. Wiley said, "At Hanford and elsewhere, we have moved from the nuclear age to the molecular age."

The laboratory's 200,000 square feet will accommodate 270 staff with an annual operating budget between $60 and $70 million. EMSL will be home to some of the world's most sophisticated scientific equipment including the most powerful IBM parallel computer even built. Additionally, the EMSL will receive the world's most powerful Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectrometer (NMRs) to be used in finding answers to biological and molecular problems related to human health and environmental restoration.

"The EMSL is a tangible, living testament to the Department's commitment to scientific research." Said John Wagoner, Manager of the Department of Energy's Richland Operations Office. "It has a critical role in developing the technologies we need to get the job done in cleaning up Hanford safely and ahead of schedule."

At the dedication, Dr. Thom Dunning, EMSL Director, recalled his statement at the initial groundbreaking in July, 1994 when he said, "We are developing research capabilities that do not exist anywhere else in the world."

A unique aspect of the laboratory is its design as a Collaborative User Facility. In this role, EMSL will serve both the DOE mission and the external scientific community from universities, industry, and other federal laboratories. The 'Collaboratory', as it's known, will allow real-time remote interaction with remote instruments and software, and access to remote data and visualizations. It will also provide education and training opportunities for the scientific and technical community.

"In the years ahead, scientists in EMSL will fulfill the destiny Bill Wiley envisioned for this laboratory by contributing solutions not only to environmental cleanup but also to domestic and global issues in energy, health, and national security." said Dr. Bill Madia, Director, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

PNNL LogoEMSL, the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, is a DOE Office of Science User Facility. Located at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash., EMSL offers an open, collaborative environment for scientific discovery to researchers around the world. Its integrated computational and experimental resources enable researchers to realize important scientific insights and create new technologies. Follow EMSL on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

PNNL LogoInterdisciplinary teams at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory address many of America's most pressing issues in energy, the environment and national security through advances in basic and applied science. Founded in 1965, PNNL employs 4,400 staff and has an annual budget of nearly $1 billion. It is managed and operated by Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science. As the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, the Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information on PNNL, visit the PNNL News Center, or follow PNNL on Facebook, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.

News Center

Multimedia

Additional Resources