Secretary Granholm Breaks Ground on Isotope Research Center to Advance Life-Saving Medical Applications and Strengthen America as a Global Scientific Leader

Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm pointed to the Stable Isotope Production and Research Center as an example of the administration’s commitment to investment in discovery and research. Photo: Carlos Jones

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), in coordination with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, today held a groundbreaking for the U.S. Stable Isotope Production and Research Facility (SIPRC), which will expand the nation’s capability to enrich stable isotopes for medical, industrial, and research applications. DOE also announced $75 million to support SIPRC with funding provided through President’s Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, which delivered $1.55 billion in FY 2022 to the Office of Science to accelerate national laboratory infrastructure projects. This new state-of-the-art facility will help achieve the Biden-Harris Administration’s goals to build out domestic supply chains critical to America’s economic, energy, and national security while solidifying our global leadership in science and innovation. 

“Isotopes are so essential to helping diagnose and treat diseases like cancer and for identifying nuclear threats,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “With support from the President’s Inflation Reduction Act, the world-class Stable Isotope Production and Research Center will help establish a reliable domestic supply of isotopes critical to the health and safety of Americans in every corner of the nation.” 

Isotopes are indispensable to many sectors of our economy—for everything from medical applications for cancer and heart disease treatments to clean and renewable energy technologies, from national security and space exploration to basic research on climate and quantum computing. However, at a time when both domestic and global demands are growing significantly, the U.S. is reliant on unstable foreign supply chains for many of these crucial elements.  

To help meet the current and anticipated demand for isotopes and address gaps in our supply chains, SIPRC will provide DOE with multiple production systems that can enrich a wide range of stable isotopes. Importantly, the facility includes space to add additional systems and expand the building footprint in the future as demand increases—strengthening America’s global competitiveness and providing the nation with large scale production capabilities to become a world leader in this arena. 

SIPRC will be a new facility under the DOE’s Isotope Program which produces and sells isotopes that are in short supply or simply not available otherwise. The research conducted at SIPRC supports the Program’s innovative work to develop advanced manufacturing techniques and novel isotope separations to build out a safe and reliable domestic supply chain, enabling emerging technologies and ensuring America is at the global forefront of isotope development and production.