MSU remains optimistic about F-RIB funding


A Michigan State University spokesman says comments casting doubt on federal funding for the school's F-RIB project are a sign of an unpredictable government budget process ahead. WKAR's Mark Bashore has more.

Visiting Detroit on Wednesday, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said the nation's economic slump puts a squeeze on projects like MSU's half-billion dollar nuclear research facility, F-RIB.

University spokesman Kent Casella says school officials remain confident since it was only last month that Congress approved a 2012 spending plan that included the facility.

"It's early in the budget process for them and it's hard for the secretary," he says. "I think he was being honest in that he relayed that there are decisions that have to be made. But, everything MSU has done so far on the F-RIB project--including all of our project reviews with the Department of Energy's Office of Science--that has indicated to us that the project is on track."

In a statement, U.S. Senator Carl Levin said it would be "unconscionable if the federal government failed to live up to its commitments."

The Facility for Rare Isotope Beams is scheduled to start operating in 2018.