B-142943, JUNE 9, 1960, 39 COMP. GEN. 822

B-142943: Jun 9, 1960

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APPROPRIATIONS - RADIATION CONTROL FACILITY - BUILDING OR PUBLIC IMPROVEMENT DETERMINATION - BUREAU OF MINES A TESTING FACILITY WHICH WILL BE USED FOR RADIATION PROTECTION OF PERSONNEL ON A MINERAL RESEARCH PROJECT. WHICH WILL CONSIST OF A WELL WITH A CHAMBER SURROUNDED BY HEAVY DENSITY CONCRETE WALLS WITH SPECIAL VIEWING AND CONTROL DEVICES. IS NOT TO BE REGARDED AS A BUILDING IN THE ORDINARY SENSE OF THE WORD NOR AS A PUBLIC IMPROVEMENT WITHIN THE SCOPE OF SECTION 3733. IT IS STATED THAT THE BUREAU OF MINES AND THE ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION HAVE ENTERED INTO AN AGREEMENT FOR A JOINT RESEARCH PROJECT INVOLVING COAL. AS ITS CONTRIBUTION TO THE PROJECT AND THE BUREAU OF MINES HAS AGREED TO BEAR SUCH OTHER COSTS AS ARE NECESSARY FROM ITS APPROPRIATION FOR " CONSERVATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF MINERAL RESOURCES.'.

B-142943, JUNE 9, 1960, 39 COMP. GEN. 822

APPROPRIATIONS - RADIATION CONTROL FACILITY - BUILDING OR PUBLIC IMPROVEMENT DETERMINATION - BUREAU OF MINES A TESTING FACILITY WHICH WILL BE USED FOR RADIATION PROTECTION OF PERSONNEL ON A MINERAL RESEARCH PROJECT, AND WHICH WILL CONSIST OF A WELL WITH A CHAMBER SURROUNDED BY HEAVY DENSITY CONCRETE WALLS WITH SPECIAL VIEWING AND CONTROL DEVICES, IS NOT TO BE REGARDED AS A BUILDING IN THE ORDINARY SENSE OF THE WORD NOR AS A PUBLIC IMPROVEMENT WITHIN THE SCOPE OF SECTION 3733, REVISED STATUTES, 41 U.S.C. 12, TO REQUIRE A SPECIFIC APPROPRIATION; THEREFORE, ACQUISITION OF SUCH A FACILITY BY CONTRACT MAY BE CONSIDERED COMPARABLE TO THE PROCUREMENT OF OTHER EQUIPMENT FOR RESEARCH PROJECTS AND THE FUNDS APPROPRIATED TO THE BUREAU OF MINES FOR CONSERVATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF MINERAL SOURCES MAY BE USED FOR THE COSTS OF THE FACILITY.

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, JUNE 9, 1960:

BY LETTER OF MAY 18, 1960, THE ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT SECRETARY ASKED OUR OPINION WHETHER FUNDS APPROPRIATED TO THE BUREAU OF MINES MAY BE USED TO CONSTRUCT A FACILITY DESCRIBED IN THE LETTER TO BE USED IN A RESEARCH PROJECT.

IT IS STATED THAT THE BUREAU OF MINES AND THE ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION HAVE ENTERED INTO AN AGREEMENT FOR A JOINT RESEARCH PROJECT INVOLVING COAL, METALLURGICAL, AND PETROLEUM INVESTIGATIONS USING A HIGH INTENSITY SOURCE OF GAMMA RADIATION. THE ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION HAS AGREED TO FURNISH COBALT-60, VALUED AT $300,000, AS ITS CONTRIBUTION TO THE PROJECT AND THE BUREAU OF MINES HAS AGREED TO BEAR SUCH OTHER COSTS AS ARE NECESSARY FROM ITS APPROPRIATION FOR " CONSERVATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF MINERAL RESOURCES.'

IT IS EXPLAINED THAT THIS PROJECT WILL REQUIRE THE FABRICATION AND ERECTION OF A LARGE TESTING CHAMBER TO INSURE BIOLOGICAL PROTECTION AGAINST RADIATION AND TO MEET THE SAFETY REGULATIONS PROMULGATED BY THE ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION. THIS FACILITY WILL CONSIST OF A 50-FOOT WELL OVER WHICH WILL BE LOCATED A CHAMBER APPROXIMATELY 6 FEET IN INTERNAL DIAMETER SURROUNDED BY 50-INCH WALLS OF HEAVY DENSITY CONCRETE THROUGH WHICH MANIPULATORS AND VIEWING DEVICES WILL BE INSTALLED TO CONTROL EXPERIMENTS CONDUCTED WITHIN THE CHAMBER. THE CHAMBER WILL BE ACQUIRED BY CONTRACT AT A COST OF APPROXIMATELY $275,000, TOGETHER WITH LABORATORY MODIFICATIONS, AND WILL BE LOCATED AT ONE OF THE EXISTING RESEARCH CENTERS OF THE BUREAU OF MINES.

THE APPROPRIATION " CONSERVATION AND DEVELOPMENT OF MINERAL RESOURCES," CONTAINED IN THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATION ACT, 1960, 73 STAT. 97, IS AVAILABLE FOR EXPENSES NECESSARY FOR PROMOTING THE CONSERVATION, EXPLORATION, DEVELOPMENT, PRODUCTION, AND UTILIZATION OF MINERAL RESOURCES, INCLUDING FUELS, AND DEVELOPING SYNTHETICS AND SUBSTITUTES. IN VIEW THEREOF, IT APPEARS THAT THE APPROPRIATION PROPERLY MAY BE USED TO PAY THE COSTS OF FABRICATING AND ERECTING THE FACILITY IN QUESTION UNLESS IT BE DETERMINED TO BE A PUBLIC BUILDING OR PUBLIC IMPROVEMENT WITHIN THE SCOPE OF SECTION 3733, REVISED STATUTES, 41 U.S.C. 12, WHICH PROVIDES THAT---

NO CONTRACT SHALL BE ENTERED INTO FOR THE ERECTION, REPAIR, OR FURNISHING OF ANY PUBLIC BUILDING, OR FOR ANY PUBLIC IMPROVEMENT WHICH SHALL BIND THE GOVERNMENT TO PAY A LARGER SUM OF MONEY THAN THE AMOUNT IN THE TREASURY APPROPRIATED FOR THE SPECIFIC PURPOSE.

THE FACILITY HERE IN QUESTION WOULD NOT RESEMBLE A BUILDING IN THE ORDINARY SENSE OF THE WORD NOR DO WE FEEL THAT IT WOULD CONSTITUTE A PUBLIC IMPROVEMENT WITHIN THE SCOPE OF SECTION 3733, REVISED STATUTES. RATHER IT WILL SERVE AS A SHIELD FOR THE PROTECTION OF OPERATING PERSONNEL AND WILL ACCOMMODATE THE SPECIAL DEVICES NECESSARY TO CONTROL THE EXPERIMENTS CONDUCTED THEREIN. WE AGREE, THEREFORE, THAT ACQUISITION OF THE FACILITY BY CONTRACT IS COMPARABLE TO OTHER EQUIPMENT AND FACILITIES PROCURED BY CONTRACT FOR AUTHORIZED SPECIAL RESEARCH PROJECTS OF THE BUREAU.

ACCORDINGLY, IT IS OUR VIEW THAT THE APPROPRIATION INVOLVED PROPERLY IS AVAILABLE FOR THE EXPENDITURES DISCUSSED HEREIN.