DARIEN, Ill. (WBBM) — There are warnings that the United States might fall farther behind other countries in innovative technologies, if proposed federal budget cuts hit Argonne and Fermilab.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Bernie Tafoya reports, Argonne and Fermilab, both located in the far western suburbs, say science experiments that are eventually helpful to private companies – but which are too costly and long-term – are done at the national labs.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Bernie Tafoya reports

Argonne director Eric Isaacs points to the new GM electric car, the Chevrolet Volt, as having a key component developed at Argonne.

“In the Volt is a battery. That battery technology was developed here,” Isaacs said. “The materials to the cathode in that battery were developed here at Argonne 10 years ago, 12 years ago. No one would have said 12 years ago this was going to end up in the GM, but now it did.”

U.S. Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) toured Argonne National Laboratory near Darien Monday.

He promised to fight proposed layoffs for hundreds of scientists and staffers at Argonne and Fermilab.

Funding cuts have already shut down power to the landmark particle accelerator at Batavia-based Fermilab, called the Tevatron. The Tevatron was the vehicle for the discovery of the top quark, an elementary particle of matter.