- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 23, 2014

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (AP) - A new facility intended to help with clean energy research and support work to develop new materials for advanced nuclear reactors has been dedicated in Idaho Falls.

Lab officials say the 148,000-square-foot Energy Innovation Laboratory dedicated Tuesday at the Idaho National Laboratory’s Research and Education Campus can be reconfigured depending on the project.

“We need world-class research facilities to attract world-class scientists,” said U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, who attended the event with other state officials, including Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter.

“This is another step in the vision to help the Idaho National Laboratory continue as not only a premier state facility, but a world-class regional and national energy-research hub,” Otter said.

U.S. Department of Energy officials say the facility can help companies compete internationally.

“We really want this facility to be open for business,” said David Danielson, assistant secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy for the federal agency. “Over the next three years, we want to see twice as many companies coming in here to help them increase their competitiveness, so they can beat their overseas competitors and create great jobs here in the United States.”

The three-story facility also includes a meeting center for educational events.

“Our new Energy Innovation Laboratory adds significant research capabilities that will materially contribute to the modernization and transformation of America’s nuclear energy systems and infrastructure,” said John Grossenbacher, Battelle Energy Alliance president and INL laboratory director, in a news release.

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