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NIST Center for Neutron Research (NCNR) Expansion and Reliability Improvements

NCNR Expansion Drawing

Serving more scientists and engineers than all other comparable U.S. facilities combined, the NCNR ranks as the nation's leading neutron research facility, accounting for more than two-thirds of all neutron research done in the United States. Studying topics ranging from fuels cells to improved drug delivery to superconductivity, more than 2,200 researchers directly benefited in 2008 from access to NCNR capabilities. These scientists, engineers, and students represented more than 140 U.S. universities, 40 U.S. corporations, and nearly 40 U.S. government organizations and laboratories.

Because of heavy demand for neutron-beam time at this NIST-managed national user facility, NIST launched, in 2007, a long-term plan to expand the NCNR in a cost-effective manner. Major goals of the expansion are to increase research and measurement capacity by more than 25 percent, increase the number of external users by 500 each year (a total of 2,500 by 2012), and improve the quality of some research and measurement capabilities by more than a factor of 100. This multi-year program includes the development of a new cold neutron source, which can support a five-fold increase in the number of instruments used at the NCNR.

For FY 2010, the fourth and final year of funding requests for this project, NIST seeks $8 million to fund construction fit-up costs associated with configuring and occupying the completed Guide Hall facility and technical support buildings. Specifically, the requested funding would:

  • Provide for the construction of the new Guide Hall, a 1,672-square-meter (18,000-square-foot) high-bay facility with sufficient floor loading capacity, utilities, material handling systems, and support space suitable for housing five new neutron instruments, a neutron guide tube network, associated radiation shielding, ancillary equipment, cold source refrigeration systems, support storage, and sample preparation space suitable to support a robust neutron scattering research program;
  • Provide for the electrical and mechanical systems needed in the new Guide Hall to support the operation of the new neutron scattering instruments, the neutron production systems, and the beam delivery systems; and
  • Upgrade existing systems to ensure the continued safe and reliable operation of the facility over its expected additional 20-year operating life, including construction of a liner for the pool that stores spent fuel.


NCNR Expansion and Reliability Improvements: Out-year Funding Estimates
(Budget Authority in Millions of Dollars)*

 FY 2007FY 2008FY 2009FY 2010FY 2011Total
* Costs are estimates and are subject to change.

Summary of NCNR Expansion to Accommodate More Researchers

Fiscal YearFunding Amount (Category)Use
2007$12 million (CRF)Design and initial construction of Guide Hall expansion.
$10 million (STRS)Design, development new neutron source, tube system, instruments
2008$19 million (CRF)Design and initial construction of Guide Hall expansion (cont.)
2009$2 million (STRS)Install, test, commission new instruments, tube system
2010$8 million (CRF-request)Construction of Guide Hall facility, fit up, and pool liner
Created August 18, 2009, Updated January 3, 2017