Despite its record year in 2011, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory announced a predicted downturn of activity in 2012 that will require both voluntary and involuntary layoffs.

The announcement was made by Roger Snyder, manager of the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science at the Pacific Northwest Site Office. It was the final portion of a presentation he gave at the TRIDEC Regional Economic Forum.

Snyder said it is too early to predict numbers.

There is no single cause of the downturn, he added.

"It's an accumulation of many pluses and minuses," he explained.

Despite this negative news, the future of the PNNL is bright, he emphasized.

"PNNL's reputation has never been higher. We have new facilities and capabilities coming online. Investment continues... It's a billion-dollar enterprise," he said.