Site Selection Process for the Department of Energy's Super Collider

T-RCED-89-22: Published: Apr 5, 1989. Publicly Released: Apr 5, 1989.

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GAO discussed its review of the Department of Energy's (DOE) site selection procedures for its superconducting super collider. GAO noted that: (1) the National Academy of Sciences appointed a site evaluation committee to select the best-qualified sites for the collider; (2) evaluators were geographically diverse and experienced in varied fields related to the DOE site selection criteria; (3) the committee selected seven sites based on DOE technical and cost criteria, focusing on geology, tunneling, and regional resources criteria; (4) the committee gave site costs minor consideration because of the narrow percentage range of cost estimates; and (5) officials from states whose proposed sites were not judged best qualified believed that the DOE solicitation could have provided more information about the relative importance of evaluation criteria. GAO also noted that the DOE task force for final site selection: (1) accepted the evaluation committee's list of best-qualified sites after a committee report and debriefing and DOE task force site visits; (2) primarily relied on state-provided information it verified through its site visits and environmental impact statements; (3) determined that none of the public comments on draft impact statements sufficiently justified changing site ratings; and (4) followed DOE technical criteria for evaluating and rating the sites and generally provided evidence to support its ratings, although a few ratings lacked sufficient documentation.

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