DOE Office of Science Seeks Comments on New Accelerator Stewardship Program

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Publication date: 
28 April 2014
Number: 
77

The DOE Office of High Energy Physics is establishing a cross-cutting program in Accelerator Stewardship and is requesting input on this initiative by May 19.  The Request for Information (RFI) states: “The objective of this request for information is to gather information about opportunities for research and development of accelerator technologies to address national challenges in energy and the environment.”

Broadening the reach of accelerator R&D was the focus of a three-day symposium in late 2009.  An FYI describing this symposium explained:

“five working groups that were to meet on the second and third days of the symposium would advise the Office of Science on ‘opportunities for advancements in accelerator technologies.’ The groups would also review impacts accelerators would have in basic research and applications ‘so that investments in accelerator R&D can be directed to best meet the needs of the Office of Science and the Nation.’ The working groups will issue a report that will, as shown in an exhibit . . .  ‘identify current and future needs of stakeholders, seek out crosscutting challenges - technical, cost, policy - whose solutions may have transformative impacts on opportunities for the future, identify the areas of accelerator R&D that hold greatest promise, [and] provide guidance to bridge the gap between basic accelerator research and technology deployment’ in basic research, medicine and biology, energy, environment, national security, and industrial applications and production.”

A year later the findings and recommendations of these working groups were published, described in an FYI as follows:

“This well-written report reviews the important contributions that accelerators have and could make in areas such as Energy and Environment, Industry, Medicine, National Security and Discovery Science. A worrisome theme running through the findings of the working groups are the challenges posed by other countries in accelerator advances and applications.  In few instances does the United States appear to have a clear advantage in the future development and application of accelerator technology.” 

The report is available on this DOE site.

Congress responded to this opportunity by providing $9.9 million in the FY 2014 appropriation for the Office of High Energy Physics for Accelerator Stewardship. 

The Notice of the Request for Information was issued on April 8.  The Summary states:

“The Office of High Energy Physics, as DOE's lead office for long-term accelerator R&D, invites interested parties to provide input on a possible new program to perform R&D leading to advances in particle accelerator technology used in energy and environmental applications.”

A section entitled The Challenge explains:

“With world energy consumption predicted to grow by 56% between 2010 and 2040, innovations that reduce pollutants from energy production, improve energy efficiency of industrial processes, and develop cost-effective techniques to clean up water and destroy environmental toxins will become increasingly important both to sustaining economic growth, and to protecting the environment.

“Accelerator technologies have been demonstrated to have significant impact in each of these areas, but have not reached a sufficient level of technical maturity and economy to be widely adopted.”

The RFI continues:

“The U.S. Department of Energy, acting through the Office of High Energy Physics in the Office of Science, has developed a program in Accelerator Stewardship to serve as a catalyst in transitioning accelerator technologies to applications beyond High Energy Physics.

“The Stewardship Program will apply the scientific and technical resources of the DOE accelerator R&D program to facilitate developing accelerator technology innovations into practice.”

In addition:

“The objective of this request for information is to gather information about opportunities for research and development of accelerator technologies to address national challenges in energy and the environment.”

The Office of High Energy Physics poses 23 questions that it is seeking specific comment on through this RFI.   All comments are to be received by May 19.