Accelerator Facility Closer to Upgrade

The Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Newport News took a major step yesterday toward a $225 million upgrade that will ensure its future as a premier nuclear-physics research laboratory.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Kyle McSlarrow announced in a visit to the lab that he has approved development of a conceptual design for doubling the power of the lab's central electron accelerator to 12 billion volts and adding a fourth experimental hall.

The upgrade, which is not guaranteed by yesterday's planning go-ahead, would provide researchers with more precise data on the structure of protons and neutrons, the Energy Department said.