Super Collider--National Security Benefits, Similar Projects, and Cost
RCED-93-158: Published: May 14, 1993. Publicly Released: May 19, 1993.
Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Energy's (DOE) Superconducting Super Collider (SSC) project, focusing on: (1) national security benefits of SSC; (2) the development of similar SSC programs by other countries or consortia; and (3) the total cost for completing the SSC project.
GAO found that: (1) the high energy physics research proposed for SSC will not directly lead to national security benefits; (2) the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), in Switzerland, is the most similar program to SSC but LHC is expected to be one-third the size and to collide particles at one-third the energy of SSC; (3) the total cost for constructing SSC cannot be reliably estimated, but cost increases indicate that the total cost will exceed $11 billion; (4) to preclude the cost and construction schedule from continuing to increase beyond $11 billion, future annual funding levels will need to increase dramatically; and (5) DOE projections that there will be no funding constraints after fiscal year 1998 could be unrealistic unless the budget deficit improves.