DOE's Physics Accelerators:
Their Costs and Benefits
RCED-85-96, Apr 1, 1985
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Department of Energy's (DOE) high-energy physics and nuclear physics accelerator facilities including, how much they cost and what benefits are resulting from their construction and operation.
GAO found that, of the $728 million DOE budget for high-energy physics and nuclear physics during fiscal year (FY) 1985, about $372 million is earmarked for operating 14 DOE-supported accelerator facilities nationwide. The DOE investment in these facilities amounts to about $1 billion. If current DOE plans for adding new facilities are carried out, this investment could grow by about $4 billion through FY 1994. Annual facility operating costs will also grow by about $230 million, or an increase of about 60 percent over current costs. The primary benefits gained from the investment are new scientific knowledge and the education and training of future physicists. According to DOE and accelerator officials, accelerator particle beams are also used in other scientific applications and have some medical and industrial applications.