Fermilab Today Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2010
Director's Corner


Fermilab Director Pier Oddone

As described in my column of September 1, the Fermilab Physics Advisory Committee recommended a three-year extension for the Tevatron beyond FY11. We will proceed with the recommendation provided we can secure additional resources to continue running the Tevatron while minimizing damage to our Intensity Frontier experiments and avoiding damage to the national high energy physics program beyond Fermilab. Securing additional resources in the present funding climate is a tall order, and it will take some time. However, additional funding is absolutely essential for Tevatron operation beyond FY11. It is also important that we at Fermilab take responsibility for providing some of the needed resources out of our own hide.

I have proposed to DOE a scenario for proceeding that involves significant impacts to two of our prime experiments. It would mean a delay in reaching full power for NOvA and a slowdown in the development of the Mu2e experiment in FY13 and FY14. I am discussing these impacts with the respective collaborations, along with the steps we can take to minimize them. The expenses postponed in these two stretch-outs would have to be made up in FY15. The savings in the years FY12-FY14 in these two projects would help reduce the required incremental funds for Tevatron running to about $35 million a year. These funds would not all come to Fermilab. They would include funds for the additional physics research staff required nationally for the higher-than- planned level of activity in FY12-FY14. We had assumed movement of research staff from the Tevatron to the Intensity Frontier in all previous plans. Continuing the Tevatron would reduce this flow, requiring the additional support for researchers at the Intensity Frontier.

Securing the additional resources involves several steps and considerable uncertainty. We could get a "NO" that is final at any point along these steps, but a "YES" will be final only when Congress appropriates the funds. We have already taken the first steps, engaging in discussions with DOE at multiple levels. The Department will consider the extension and will ask HEPAP for advice. Assuming that the advice is positive, we will not have any solid information until the President announces the FY12 budget in February 2011. That is because we are in the season when DOE and the Office of Management and Budget negotiate what goes into the President's budget, and that process is appropriately veiled from everyone outside the agencies. The President's budget will then go to Congress. The outcome will be known only when both the House and the Senate pass the Energy and Water Appropriations bill and the President signs it. Although this may appear like a high level of uncertainty, it really is no higher than the usual uncertainty for any proposed new activity. In the meantime we have a serious challenge to continue planning along both our current path and a new path with extended Tevatron running.

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