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Calif. Won't Get Atom Smasher, Senators Say

December 29, 1987|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — California failed to show up as a finalist among states seeking to become the site of the $4.4-billion superconducting super collider atom smasher, two senators said today.

Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), who made the announcement from his Raleigh, N.C., office without giving a source, said the finalists are Texas, Arizona, Colorado, Tennessee, New York, Illinois, Michigan and North Carolina.

A little more than an hour later, Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Tex.) gave the same list at a Washington news conference, attributing it to a telephone call from Energy Secretary John S. Herrington.

The Energy Department, which will build the 53-mile-circumference physics research facility if Congress appropriates funds, declined immediate confirmation of the list of finalists, compiled by a committee of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Research Council.

"Talk to the academy," said department spokesman Phil Keif.

Rick Borchelt, academy spokesman, said he was unable to confirm Helms' list. He said he hopes to have an announcement soon.

John Gustafson, a spokesman for the California Collider Commission in Berkeley, said he understands the Department of Energy can modify the academy's list.

'Could Be on DOE's List'

"So it's possible that, if in fact California is not on the academy's list, it could be on the DOE's list (of finalists), which will presumably be announced in January."

But Gustafson said that if it is true that California is not among the finalists, "I am sure the commission will be very disappointed. We'll hold out until the Department of Energy releases their final list."

The commission is the group created by the Legislature to try to get the atom smasher built in California.

Keif did confirm that the academy turned over to the department its list of finalists on Dec. 24.

Thirty-five sites proposed by 25 states had been considered by the committee for the collider, which will probe the secrets of matter by smashing beams of protons into each other at energies 20 times what is now possible.

California has proposed two possible sites, one near Davis and the other near Stockton.

The Energy Department is scheduled to announce its choice next July and confirm it in January, 1989.

Many states have sought the collider because of its economic impact--3,000 jobs, most of them for highly educated scientists, an annual budget of $270 million, and little pollution.

It could not be determined immediately which of the multiple sites proposed in the remaining states had made the list of finalists.

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