Collider Battle to Include Funds from Applicants

Article excerpt

Financial contributions from states applying for the proposed $4.4 billion superconducting super collider will be considered in the process used to select the site for the coveted research laboratory, the U.S. Department of Energy has told an Oklahoma Congressman.

"The (Reagan) Administration has confirmed a widespread rumor - that the site selection for the SSC (superconducting super collider) will essentially be handled in a similar manner as a bidding war," Rep. Glenn English, D-Okla. said Wednesday.

English was responding to a letter he received from the office of Secretary of Energy John Herrington.

English, in whose district the Oklahoma site is located, had asked Herrington on what criteria the applications would be judged.

The Oklahoma site, according to the geologists conducting the research locally, is one of the top three sites in the nation, based on scientific attributes of the 16,000-acres west of Kingfisher.

The proposed project is expected to need an estimated 4,500 workers to build, employ about 2,500 persons full time when it is completed, and add a healthy $11 billion boost to the economy of the area where it is built.

But the response from Herrington's office indicates financial contributions from the states also will be a factor in determining which state will be home to the project.

Oklahoma has committed about $1.5 million to the project so far, but stands little chance of competing with the financial incentives of Texas and Illinois, who have dangled offers of more than $1 billion each, observers have said.

"For each proposal meeting the qualification criteria," the letter reads, "a life cycle cost estimate will be prepared for the construction phase plus a 25-year operating phase. Any financial or in-kind contributions offered by the proposer, other than the cost of the land, will be considered, as appropriate, in the LCC (life cycle cost) in determining recommended best qualified list.

"Cost considerations are important to the selection process and will be used in conjunction with the technical evaluation criteria in selecting the preferred site. The cost and schedule for constructing the SSC (superconducting super collider) will depend upon site features, such as geological and geohydrological conditions.

"The tunnels, access shafts, and experimental halls are major cost elements of the project. The availability of usable buildings and facilities on the proposed site would favorably affect both cost and schedule. Annual operating costs, including those related to local wage scales, utility rates, site accessibility, etc., will also be considered. Operation and construction costs must be evaluated over the long term to achieve an optimum balance. …