to increase the share reserved for facilities operations at the expense of the research budget is not sustainable.
Recently the DOE nuclear physics program took over the stewardship of the National Isotopes Program. This program continues to grow in importance as the uses of nuclear techniques in medical imaging and therapeutic procedures accelerate. The isotopes program and nuclear physics have been ideal partners and the impact has been positive on both sides. The overall costs of the isotope program have not impacted the budget in other areas of nuclear physics, but the synergy between the two programs has resulted in more efficient operations on the isotope production side and more opportunities for research and development on the nuclear physics side, including opportunities for accelerator physicists to develop new techniques in isotope production. Another example of mutual benefit is the inclusion of the isotopes program in the Small Businesses Innovation Research program and the Early Career and Graduate Fellowship program in nuclear physics, while isotopes produced for research do not incur additional costs for nuclear physics. The continued health of the isotopes program, in particular, reinforces the need for a workforce trained in nuclear science and the need for strong university programs to provide that training.
The Department of Energy Office of Nuclear Physics operates three user facilities for nuclear physics research in the United States: the Argonne Tandem Linear Accelerator System (ATLAS), the Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility (CEBAF) at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (JLAB), and the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL). The National Science Foundation (NSF) operates one nuclear physics user facility, the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL) at Michigan State University (MSU). The Spallation Neutron Source (operated by the Department of Energy Office of Basic Energy Research) hosts the Fundamental Neutron Physics Beam line at Oak Ridge, which provides cold neutron beams for nuclear physics research. A number of NSF- or DOE-supported smaller facilities at universities make unique contributions to the field. Two large centers—the Institute for Nuclear Theory and the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics—serve the nuclear physics community and facilitate strong connections to other fields of science.
As a consequence of a systematic long-range planning process and strategic investments by funding agencies, nuclear physicists have access to U.S. facilities with world-class physics programs. CEBAF is undergoing major upgrades of its accelerator and detectors, opening up a new frontier in nuclear electroweak physics. The upgrade of the CEBAF electron accelerator and detector systems will enable the measurements required to search for exotic mesons, a fundamental prediction