WXXI AM News

Schumer Calls for $75M in Energy Funding for U of R Laser Lab

Oct 27, 2016

Senator Chuck Schumer is promising to further develop Laser Energetics at the University of Rochester so long as he can secure another $75 million in the 2018 federal budget.

On Thursday, Schumer launched his push to obtain the funding and brought U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz along for the announcement. Schumer said the investment would be a win-win, and the money would allow lab staff to double down on their energy discovery and national security work.

(l to r) Senator Chuck Schumer, U of R President Joel Seligman, and U.S Dept. of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz make energy funding proposal announcement in Rochester.
Credit SASHA-ANN SIMONS/ WXXI NEWS

“The more we can put the laser lab to work for our nation’s energy and national security research needs, the more the laser lab can continue to grow jobs and spin-off companies in Rochester,” he said.

Schumer said the funding would enable Laser Energetics to partner with labs across the nation to advance the three approaches to achieving fusion ignition: by using direct drive, indirect drive, or pulsed power. Also, he said, the investment would help support the city’s optics and photonics industry.

"First, it brings more people here: scientists who live here for several months, and they go to the restaurants and stores and pump up our economy. Far more importantly, it creates new companies that apply the research and these are some of the best paying jobs in the future of Rochester,” Schumer said.

Moniz accompanied Schumer on a tour of the 300-employee laser lab for a chance to see the work being done up close.

“I'm really thrilled that I was stimulated to come here at this time and I want to say, Senator, I will certainly take your recommendations under advisement when we go back to Washington,” Moniz said.

Last year, Schumer helped secure $68 million for Laser Energetics in the 2016 budget.