Modernization of Nevis Synchrocyclotron Facility

PSAD-78-103: Published: May 23, 1978. Publicly Released: May 23, 1978.

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The synchrocyclotron facility at Columbia University's Nevis Laboratory was built under a contract with the Office of Naval Research (ONR); in 1965, the National Science Foundation (NSF) assumed funding responsibility. In 1966-67, NSF granted $4.5 million to Columbia University of modernizing its synchrocyclotron facility.

NSF did not require the university or laboratory to maintain accounting records or to periodically report the actual cost of the modernization. Funds from other grants and from ONR and the Atomic Energy Commission were used for modernization, but records did not separately identify expenditures. Although costs could not be verified, they were estimated at about $14 million. NSF did not make a detailed assessment of the proposed design before awarding initial funds and did not conduct a comprehensive, technical review until October 1973 in spite of delays. The review identified inadequate design as the cause of delays. The synchrocyclotron still has not achieved the performance levels of its original design goals and, as of March 1978, NSF did not know when goals would be met. NSF informed Nevis that the synchrocyclotron's performance did not justify continued support. Columbia proposed continuing operations at Nevis up to June 30, 1978, and then continuing research at other facilities.

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