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January 19th, 2008
Argonne National Laboratory arguably is where the hot new nanotechnology industries were born and without Fermilab, the MRI machines that are common in hospitals across the nation might not have been possible.
Together, Illinois' two national laboratories are local economic powerhouses that employ almost 5,000 people and spend more than $800 million a year to operate. Nationally, they are part of the scientific and technical foundation upon which the United States economy has prospered for more than 60 years.
But just before Christmas, Fermi and Argonne were gravely injured by the budget hammered out by a feuding President Bush and Congress. Argonne faces the closing of one facility, downtime at another and an uncertain number of layoffs. Fermi was hit even harder, facing 200 immediate layoffs, unpaid days off for remaining workers and the prospect of being closed altogether sometime in the future.
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