WASHINGTON — An unnamed congressional aide confirmed published reports Tuesday that a national science panel has chosen seven finalists in the 25-state competition for the super collider. California is not among them, but may be added later.
However, selection of any finalists was denied by the Department of Energy, which has proposed the $4.4-billion atom smasher, and the National Academy of Sciences, which convened the selection panel. Official finalists will not be named until next month, they said.
The academy was chosen to select the "best qualified" of the 36 bids submitted last September by 25 states. California entered two sites--east of Stockton and west of Sacramento--and was considered a top contender.
Officials at the University of California, which prepared the state's bid, discounted the list as merely "informed speculation" based on rumors floated at a recent super collider conference in Denver.
List in Two Papers
In Tuesday's editions, both the Chicago Tribune and Dallas Morning News, citing unnamed sources, named the same seven purported finalist states--Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, New Mexico, North Carolina, Texas and Utah.
The Dallas newspaper said California and Mississippi may join the list by the time it is sent on to Energy Secretary John S. Herrington. He will name the preferred site in July.
The source who confirmed the list for the Associated Press was identified as an aide to a member of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee. The aide got a copy of the list from Department of Energy sources working with the site-selection team.
"There's still the possibility that you'll see a New York or a California or an Ohio added in there," the aide said.
The collider, if authorized by Congress, would consist of a 53-mile-long, oval-shaped underground atom smasher 20 times more powerful than existing machines. It would probe the deepest secrets of the origin of matter.