BATAVIA – Fermilab officials are bracing for a possible shutdown of the high energy physics laboratory if the federal government shutdown continues.
“We don’t know how much longer we are able to remain open,” Fermilab spokesman Kurt Riesselmann said Monday.
Riesselmann said he has not been told how long the government shutdown would have to last for Fermilab to be in jeopardy of closing. The government shutdown is now in its second week.
The Fermi Research Alliance LLC manages and operates Fermilab on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy. According to the Department of Energy’s website, “at most DOE facilities, all operations will cease once prior year balances have been exhausted.”
Fermilab employs about 1,700 people. Department of Energy officials have said the department will be able to operate for a short period of time after Sept. 30, but that if a funding resolution is not achieved in the near term, the department will have to shut down nonessential operations, resulting in employee and contractor furloughs.
Fermilab’s online publication, “Fermilab Today,” already is a victim of the federal shutdown. On Thursday, it was announced that “Fermilab Today” would stop publishing because of the lapse in federal funding.
“We are trying to minimize expenses,” Riesselmann said.