Federal Research:

Additional Funds for Terminating the Super Collider Are Not Justified

RCED-94-153: Published: Apr 8, 1994. Publicly Released: May 5, 1994.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Department of Energy's (DOE) termination of the Superconducting Super Collider project, focusing on the: (1) latest DOE estimate of termination costs; and (2) DOE request for additional funds for fiscal year (FY) 1995.

GAO found that: (1) DOE has a total of $735 million to cover project termination costs; (2) in October 1993, DOE advised that, while many termination costs were unknown and uncertain, they could total as much as $1.1 billion; (3) in March 1994, DOE estimated that, excluding the costs of settling Texas' claim for project investment, termination costs would be about $568 million, including $173 million for subcontract closeouts, $78 million for severance packages, and $25 million for site restoration; (4) DOE requested an additional $180 million in its FY 1995 budget for continuing termination activities, but it already has sufficient funds to cover its estimate of termination costs; and (5) DOE has no documentation to justify its request for $180 million, and although it is seeking to fund future uses of the project's assets, it has not yet determined which uses it will pursue.

Matters for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Both the House and Senate versions of the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill for 1995, as well as the Senate/House conference version, zeroed out the $180 million of additional termination funds that DOE requested for 1995. On August 26, 1994, the President signed the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act for 1995, which excluded the additional $180 million of termination funds.

    Matter: In considering the DOE FY 1995 budget request for $180 million to terminate the Superconducting Super Collider, Congress may wish to consider that DOE has not yet justified its need for the funds.

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The House and Senate conferees have agreed to let DOE use $65 million of the $640 million of termination funds previously provided for the completion of partially completed facilities. Therefore, Congress appears to be providing funds for projects not yet authorized.

    Matter: If Congress decides to fund future uses of the Superconducting Super Collider project's assets, it may wish to defer funding decisions until it has an opportunity to consider the benefits and costs of DOE recommended uses of the project's assets.


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