: A proposed x-ray light source to be built at Cornell University may get dropped despite the more than $50 million that NSF has already invested since 2005. The energy recovery linear accelerator (ERL) would have combined a synchrotron and a free-electron laser to produce beams of x-ray light. The device would allow more detailed study of different materials’ atomic energy levels. However, the total project cost of about $1 billion is causing officials to rethink the agency’s priorities. Researchers at Cornell say that whatever happens, the research conducted so far will not go to waste: Because it is not site-specific, the work can be applied to other projects, such as the Department of Energy’s future free-electron laser.