Related topics

Texas Site Received Four Highest Ratings

November 11, 1988

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Texas site chosen for the new superconducting super collider is the only one given four ratings of ″outstanding″ by the Energy Department’s Site Task Force, a group of senior civil servants.

The heart of the $4.4 billion atom smasher is a pair of vacuum pipes 53- miles around, cooled to the temperature of liquid helium below eight degrees Fahrenheit. Some 10,000 magnets will bend beams of protons through the pipes, and other equipment will smash the beams into each other at six locations around the ring.

The entire apparatus is placed underground to shield the public against radiation given off by the beams, making the ease of tunneling the most important criterion for choosing a site.

There are no special construction techniques required, and any company experienced in tunneling could do the job, officials say.

Here are some points raised about each site in the report of the task force, which did not compare sites against each other. The points quoted received no special emphasis and were interspersed with generally favorable comments on other site aspects. ARIZONA

Maricopa site, in the desert 35 miles southwest of Phoenix.

″There are geologic weaknesses, most notably the need for multiple tunneling techniques required for the three major rock types.″ Wilmot N. Hess, chairman of the task force, told reporters the geology makes it ″hard to carry out your tunnel drilling.″

Estimated cost to build and operate for 25 years, in 1988 dollars: $11.5 billion. COLORADO

Near Fort Morgan, 65 miles northeast of Denver.

″It will take a 75-minute or longer commute to reach an ample supply of community resources to support the site.″

Estimated 25-year cost: $11.2 billion. ILLINOIS

At Fermilab, site of an accelerator at Batavia, 40 miles west of Chicago.

″Strong opposition by many landowners, the relatively large number of ownerships, approximately 3,000, and the limited flexibility to adjust the ring position during final design provide a poor setting.″

Dick Nolan, deputy executive director of the site task force, said the department was ″not confident about the state’s ability to deliver the land to us on a timely basis.″

Estimated 25-year cost: $10.4 billion to $10.9 billion, after credits of $495 million to $1.03 billion for use of the existing accelerator as the low- energy particle injector for the new machine. MICHIGAN

In the triangle formed by Ann Arbor, Jackson and Lansing.

″A continuous waterproof liner will be needed ... all shafts will require significant water control ... significant water-control measures will also be required for the experimental halls.″

Estimated 25-year costs: $11.5 billion. NORTH CAROLINA

About 15 miles north of Durham.

″The industrial and construction base is good overall, but limited in several areas. There is significant organized opposition and tenuous institutional support at the local level. ... some valuable wetlands would be affected.″

Estimated 25-year costs: $10.7 billion. TENNESSEE

About 30 miles southeast of Nashville.

″Overall, the public school systems tend to be average or below average. Family employment opportunities are good, but cultural amenities and access to research institutions are somewhat limited.″

Estimated 25-year costs: $10.7 billion. TEXAS

Surrounding the city of Waxahachie, 25 miles south of Dallas.

Geologically, ″the marl will require a lining for structural support. ... Several faults cross the ring, but they are inactive.″

Estimated 25-year costs: $10.8 billion.


Here is a table of the task force rankings of the major aspects of each site.

The column headings: G - geology and tunneling conditions. R - regional resources such as schools and access to airports. E - environmental problems. S - Site conditions such as the difficulty of land acquisition. C - Physical site conditions such as vibration from nearby railroads and highways. U - Utility service, such as water and electricity.

The columns are listed in order of importance, as judged by the task force. For example, geology and tunneling was judged more important than regional resources, which in turn were more important than environmental problems. There is no particular significance to the order in which the states are listed, expect that the winner, Texas, is listed first.

Te table entries are: O - Outstanding. G - Good. S - Satisfactory. P - Poor. G R E S C U Texas O O O O G G Tenn. O S G O O G N.C. G G G S G G Mich. S O G S O G Ill. O O G P G G Colo. G S O G O G Ariz. S S G G S G

Update hourly