Michigan congressman pushes for federal funds for rare isotope beams facility

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- “People understand that it’s a game changer," Mark Burnham, Vice President of Governmental Affairs at Michigan State University said.

He is fighting for federal funding for a new scientific facility on campus. It’s the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams that will help scientists study nuclear processes. Rare isotopes are short-lived nuclei not normally found on Earth. Burnham said the facilities work has led to innovations in medicine and in nuclear science.

“It’s about learning about the sense of matter and we’ve had to spend a lot of time educating folks what this is all about and why it is and we’ve gotten very strong support from both the congressional delegation but from folks across the country," he added.

One of the supporters, Michigan Congressman John Moolenaar, who helped secure the $97.2 million in funding for the facility in the House.

Now it’s up to the senate to pass it.

“We’re doing everything we can to emphasize the importance of this. There is cutting edge research that is being done that helps medically as well as environmentally. So we’re optimistic," Moolenaar added (R-MI-4).

Moolenaar said the project adds to the scientific research already being done in his state, especially at MSU. He hopes Congress will get full funding to the finish line.

“It really just adds to the basic research that we do as a country and all of us benefit from that," he said.

If all goes through the facility is set to be completed in June 2022.

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