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

Senators Murray, Cantwell Commemorate the 50th Anniversary of PNNL

News Release

March 09, 2015 Share This!

1 of 1

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) submitted remarks for the Senate record honoring the significant contributions of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) over the past fifty years of operations. PNNL has proven to not just be a critical part of the Washington state economy, but of the Tri-Cities community - the lab has a total economic output of $1.3 billion and supports more than 6,800 jobs in Washington. PNNL plays a unique role in addressing the nation's energy demands and will continue to play an important part in meeting the U.S.'s future challenges by furthering research in climate change, advanced biofuels, and the electric grid.

Key excerpts from Senator Murray's remarks:

"Over the past fifty years, PNNL has benefited from a talented and committed staff of scientists, engineers, and non-technical staff, a dedicated and committed operator in Battelle, and a strong partner in the Department of Energy."

"... together Senator Cantwell and I have been proud supporters and advocates for PNNL here in the other Washington, working to make sure our colleagues and the Administration understand the important research it conducts, and the significant contributions it makes to the Tri-Cities community."

Key excerpts from Senator Cantwell's remarks:

"PNNL's commitment to commercialization and technology transfer has brought research out of the laboratory and into the real world, further bolstering PNNL's reputation as a national scientific leader and supporting Washington state's economy."

"PNNL plays a unique role in addressing our nation's energy demands by furthering research in climate change, advanced biofuels, and the electric grid... With its stellar record of commercializing research, I have no doubt that PNNL's work will continue to meet the United States' energy challenges in the future."

Full remarks submitted for the record:

"Mrs. MURRAY. M. President, I rise today with my colleague Senator Cantwell to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), a true example of scientific excellence located in our home state of Washington. For the past fifty years, PNNL has served as the Department of Energy's premier chemistry, environmental sciences, and data analytics national laboratory and has tackled some of our nation's most complex and urgent challenges.

In 1965, Battelle won a contract to operate a research and development lab at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington state. Then known as Pacific Northwest Laboratory, its scientists provided critical support to plutonium production and nuclear waste cleanup at Hanford. Through its commitment to excellence and innovation, the lab grew and evolved to serve the ever-changing needs of our nation. In 1969, the Pacific Northwest Laboratory's scientific prowess caught the eye of NASA, which chose the lab to analyze lunar soil samples that were collected after landing a man on the moon. The lab changed its name to the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in 1995, and in 1997 opened the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory. This state-of-the-art national scientific user facility provides researchers from around the nation and the world with experimental instruments, a high-performance supercomputer, and specialized staff allowing them to advance energy and environmental discoveries.

Today, the lab employs 4,300 people at its main Richland campus, the marine research facility in Sequim, and in satellite offices in Seattle, Tacoma, Portland, and Washington, D.C. and conducts $1 billion in research annually for the Department of Energy, Department of Homeland Security, National Institutes of Health, and many more. While it's clear PNNL serves as a cornerstone of the Tri-Cities economy, the dedicated staff are also key leaders in the community. The lab has made it a priority to invest in STEM education, playing an important role as a founding partner in one of Washington state's first STEM high schools. Delta High School is now educating our next generation of scientists and engineers. In higher education, PNNL supported efforts to create a Washington State University branch campus in the region which led to WSU Tri-Cities opening its doors in 1989. I am consistently impressed with PNNL's contributions to the local community.

Ms. CANTWELL. M. President, I join my colleague Senator Murray in commemorating the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's fiftieth anniversary. As our constituents in Washington state know, PNNL is an integral part of our economy. The lab has a total economic output of $1.3 billion and supports more than 6,800 jobs in Washington. PNNL's commitment to commercialization and technology transfer has brought research out of the laboratory and into the real world, further bolstering PNNL's reputation as a national scientific leader and supporting Washington state's economy.

I am reminded each day how the work at PNNL impacts our daily lives. During my visits to the Port of Seattle, I know that PNNL has deployed radiation detection systems that keep our ports safe. And when I watch a movie at home, I know that the DVD I use is possible because of PNNL's advancements in digital data storage technology. Because of these and other important contributions, PNNL has earned more Federal Laboratory Consortium Awards than any other national laboratory, holds more than 2,300 U.S. and foreign patents, and fostered the creation of 108 spin-off companies that remain open today.

PNNL plays a unique role in addressing our nation's energy demands by furthering research in climate change, advanced biofuels, and the electric grid. In the 1990s, the lab helped create the Global Change Assessment Model to help institutions across the world explore the impacts of climate change and the different policy proposals to address it. The scientists at PNNL have also developed a cutting-edge chemical process that transforms algae to crude oil in minutes, a technology that could help our nation reduce its dependence on foreign oil. And the lab continues to lead in assessing cyber security threats by developing and testing technology to help protect the electric grid. With its stellar record of commercializing research, I have no doubt that PNNL's work will continue to meet the United States' energy challenges in the future.

Mrs. MURRAY. M. President, together Senator Cantwell and I have been proud supporters and advocates for PNNL here in the other Washington, working to make sure our colleagues and the Administration understand the important research it conducts, and the significant contributions it makes to the Tri-Cities community. Over the past fifty years, PNNL has benefited from a talented and committed staff of scientists, engineers, and non-technical staff, a dedicated and committed operator in Battelle, and a strong partner in the Department of Energy. So, congratulations to PNNL. I know Senator Cantwell and I look forward to PNNL's future contributions to Washington state, the nation, and the world."

Tags: Awards and Honors

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