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all give you a short answer. And the short answer is, I believe that we do not need to look forward to continuing escalation.
Let me explain why I believe that to be the case. First of all, the $5.9 billion figure was based on the conceptual design study. Now I think all of us who have been involved, as I have for some 40 years in experimental science, know that in a conceptual design there is always a certain element of optimism in the estimating that goes with it.
But the fact is that once the real professional team whose reputations will be on the line--the team that is going to build the facility and is going to make their reputations on the line that it will work as promised-there is always a greater degree of conservatism.
And so I think none of us should have been surprised that when you move from the conceptual design study-I quite agree that perhaps people were not as open as they might have been, but there really were basis for understanding that that was a conceptual design figure.
Now that we have the actual professional group on site, it is going to go up. Now the question is, how much? I do not know what the number is yet. And I agree with Admiral Watkins that it is crucially important that the number, whatever it is, between 1 and 2 billion, should be scrubbed, as it is now being scrubbed by two quite independent groups, before the Admiral brings you and your colleagues in the Congress what he believes to be the cost estimate.
And I would submit, sir, that we cannot have a cost overrun until we know what the cost really is supposed to be. That is what the Admiral is committed to bringing to you.
Now why do I think that there is not going to be an additional set of changes? Well, because, for the first time, sir, this accelerator will be built in a different way. Past accelerators have all been built by physicists like me. And physicists, you may have gathered, have a tendency to be a trifle arrogant at times.
Senator FORD. And if I might make a statement, they do not give a damn about money. (Laughter.]
Dr. BROMLEY. We also have a tendency to have a continued stream of bright ideas. And there has been a great tendency to come in and say, my God, I have just discovered how to make a small improvement here. And, as I have mentioned to other committees, you know in dealing with an architect what happens when you come in and want to add just another room.
Senator FORD. Yes, but he is a political appointment. That is the reason.
Dr. BROMLEY. Well, the reason I have confidence this time, Mr. Chairman, is that we physicists are not going to be in charge of the construction. The Department of Energy has announced its selection of the industrial group led by Parsons Brinckerhoff that has major experience in bringing together very large internationalscale projects.
They will be running the show. And it will not be possible for us physicists, no matter how ingenious our new ideas are, to come in and get change orders that in the past have racked the price up step by step. So it is for that reason-first, because the Admiral is
taking the care to truly scrub these estimates that are now in his hands, and second, because the construction will be done in a different way from prior accelerators, and will be under the control of people who have a track record for bringing projects in on budget.
Senator FORD. Doctor, is there a cost level that would cause you to reconsider the project?
Dr. BROMLEY. Certainly, sir, at some point there is a cost level which I think would make me want to consider it. And I am quite sure there is a cost at which you would wish to consider it. But, frankly, at this point, I could not give you a specific number on this, because I am waiting, as I know you are, to see what emerges from the professional scrubbing of the estimates.
Senator FORD. Well, Doctor, if we get another shocker, it was $2 billion, and then after you scrub it, you come in with another increase, I think there is going to be cause for concern.
Dr. BROMLEY. I would share that concern.
Senator FORD. Does it trouble you what our congressmen stated earlier, that House bill 4380 may be passed, and that puts a limit on what we can put into it?
Dr. BROMLEY. The administration supports House bill 4380 with certain suggested amendments to that legislation. The suggested amendments are three in number.
First, we would wish to see some difference in the magnet test procedure from that specified in 4380.
Secondly, we would like to see the dealings with foreign collaborators formulated in such a way as to be consistent with the broad administration policies for nondiscriminatory trade and investment in these bilateral and multilateral agreements.
And, thirdly, the administration would recommend deletion of the provision that would refund the contribution of the State of Texas were the project for some reason to be terminated.
But, apart from those three suggestions, the administration would support H.R. 4380.
I may say, Mr. Chairman, and now I speak as an individual, that individually I have been on record before you and before other members of the Senate and the House as being concerned that the change suggested, where we are talking about 10 prototype magnets assembled by industry, does not give me the same degree of confidence as would a string of magnets that were produced by industry.
There is, I think, a significant difference between those two. But that is a personal comment.
Senator FORD. I have taken enough time. And I will pass it on. I have some other questions, but I will give those to you in writing, Doctor. Senator Johnston. The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Senator Ford. Dr. Bromley, I think it is important that we establish here, why the increase. I think some of my colleagues may think that this is the usual cost overrun, where doing that which was projected simply costs more. Actually, there has been a redesign here from 4 to 5 centimeters on the apparature which is a scientific requirement by experience at Tevatron and elsewhere. So that this is not
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an increase in the cost of doing the same thing, it is the desire to do something different.
And, now, your degree of confidence in those specifications is rather high. Is it not?
Dr. BROMLEY. It is very high.
The CHAIRMAN. I mean, this is not the same thing as our degree of confidence in break-even point on fusion, for example. This is much higher than that degree of confidence.
Dr. BROMLEY.. I wish that my confidence in the fusion situation were as high as in this case, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. So that you doubt very seriously that there would be other design changes as we go along in this matter?
Dr. BROMLEY. I am very confident because I have a very high opinion of the team that has been assembled in Texas, that having now had the opportunity to take the conceptual design study to rework it in detail, to examine it in detail, that this is the end of the major changes of the kind we have been discussing.
The CHAIRMAN. Now, Dr. Bromley, to me the question is not whether the bill is precisely $5.9 billion or $7 billion or $8 billion or whatever it is. The more important question is, do we need a 20 TeV machine? Can it do more than Tevatron? Tevatron is about one TeV?
Dr. BROMLEY. Two.
The CHAIRMAN. Now, what will we be able to do that they cannot do, and why is it important?
Dr. BROMLEY. As Professor Drell's panel pointed out in an eloquent fashion, if the energy that we have available to us drops significantly below 20 TeV, we stand a very real chance of missing the real prize that we are after here-the origin of mass.
If we drop down to the eight TeV, for example, that the large hadron collider could provide, there is a very real chance that we would simply have made this investment and that the most important discovery that lies out there would have alluded us. To me, this is not a good investment.
If you have a strong indication before you begin of where pay dirt lies, you do not develop your plan of attack to fall just short of that pay dirt.
The CHAIRMAN. And the origin of mass being, is that the Grand Unification Theory?
Dr. BROMLEY. Well, there are two possibilities, sir. One is that there exists in nature something called the Higgs boson, which has never been discovered as yet, but associated with that would be something called the Higgs field. And the Higgs field interacts with all the particles of nature to give them their mass.
That is one possibility. But theoretical physicists are, if nothing, ingenious. So they have recognized that there is always the possibility that mother nature chose not to make a Higgs boson. If there is not a Higgs boson, then we have an alternate theory, supersymmetry. And supersymmetry can also explain the origin of mass. But the marvelous thing about the Superconducting Super Collider, with its design energy at 20 TeV, is that it can tell us one way or the other.
So we are as close as we can be, guaranteed to hit pay dirt, even if we may not know exactly what the character of that pay dirt is going to be.
The CHAIRMAN. So that in plain terms, we need the 20 TeV machine, this big machine, to get to the origins of the universe, the origins of mass. And they are not likely to be able to do that at CERN or at Tevatron or SLAC or wherever?
Dr. BROMLEY. All of our indications available at the moment, sir, suggest to us that we need something very close to 20 TeV to get into the range where these discoveries become probable.
The CHAIRMAN. Now, Dr. Bromley, you speak of the manufacturing techniques. Tell me about what we might be able to do as a country with manufacturing technology on superconducting magnets, why that is important?
Dr. BROMLEY. We have, as a matter of fact, sir, from the very beginning of superconducting technology taken a very leading role, and much of that has been stimulated by the desire to use superconductors in high energy particle physics. This has gone back for a couple of decades, long before the discovery of high-temperature superconductivity or popular interest in superconductivity.
Those magnets that were designed originally for use by particle physicists in their accelerators are now the kind of magnets, for example, that are being used in the magnetic resonance imaging facilities in hospital after hospital-one of the most powerful non-invasive diagnostic tools ever invented for human medicine. So we have been at the forefront of those developments.
In recent years, however, because of the demand for these magnets and because of the great flurry of interest in superconductivity, we have seen our colleagues in Italy, Germany, Japan put perhaps more of their resources into the development of manufacturing technology than have we. And so, although we still have people in our national laboratories who are world leaders in the application and use of superconducting technology, the manufacturing experience that is available today is no longer as uniquely centered in the United States. And, as was stated earlier, we have things that we can learn from the Japanese and from the Europeans in terms of the specifics of manufacturing. But you ask, I think, the right question, and that is, why is it important for us to have a domestic technology that we understand, and control? After all, know-how is our important edge these days.
But I think it is terribly important. Because I think, again, that superconductivity is one of those generic technologies whose applications we have just begun to appreciate. And I think it is very important for us to have a domestic manufacturing know-how here that is perhaps stimulated by the need to have these magnets for the Superconducting Super Collider. And I think we will have vastly greater applications in the future, applications that we cannot even imagine.
I can imagine a few of them. Obviously, one of the fields where we are putting substantial money into in the 1991 budget, if you agree, is Maglev—the use of superconducting magnets in magnetically levitated transportation vehicles. The use of superconducting magnets in the medical imaging field is already well established. One of the very important areas, I think, sir, where we have the possibility of major industrial utilization, is in a well-developed field of the generation and utilization of large blocks of electrical energy. We tend to think of our generators and motors as being really remarkably efficient. They are in the high 90 percents. But the technology is possible.
We could use superconductivity to raise those efficiencies much closer to 100 percent. And with the whole question of environmental impact staring us in the face, one of the most important initiatives we have in this country is that of reducing our combustion of fossil fuels. If we can use electrical energy more efficiently, if we can transmit it more efficiently, all of those technologies depending upon superconductivity will benefit and benefit markedly.
So all of these lead me to agree with you entirely, sir, that it is important for us in this country to develop a domestic expertise in this field. This is one way in which we can develop that expertise.
The CHAIRMAN. Now, H.R. 4380, which I understand the Administration supports, makes a requirement for foreign participation to the extent of what, is it a billion dollars?
Dr. BROMLEY. One third. One third of total costs from non-Federal. And if one subtracts the $1 billion from Texas, then the remainder would presumably be from foreign sources or from some creative fund-raising vehicle that was non-Federal in this country.
The CHAIRMAN. Now, that is likely to be the high technology part. They are not going to put up money to buy the land or to dig the ditch. It is likely to be the high technology, is it not?
Dr. BROMLEY. I think that it is true that most of our foreign participants will be interested in learning as much as they can from this project.
The CHAIRMAN. Now, Dr. Bromley, is it fair to say that the administration support for H.R. 4380, particularly the foreign participation parts of it, driven is more by the desire to get a SSC than by the particular foreign participation provisions? In other words, the Administration wants this project and is willing to do it under the strictures as imposed by the House. Those strictures about-those provisions about foreign participation were not really Administration-imposed. Is that fair?
Dr. BROMLEY. I would not completely agree, sir. The Administration feels very strongly that with large projects of all sorts, not just SSC, we are reaching the stage where foreign participation-not just in the utilization but all the way through the project from conceptualization through design, construction and utilization. So this is a more fundamental desire on the part of the Administration to make sure that we do get as much foreign participation as we can. It is not specific to SSC, but I think, having said that, that I am very appreciative of the issue you raise about the desirability of our not losing know-how.
The CHAIRMAN. Well, how about fusion? Should we require foreign participation in fusion?
Dr. BROMLEY. We are, in fact, heavily involved, Senator Johnston, as you know in the ITER project. We share on an equal basis with Japan, with the Soviet Union, and with Western Europe the support of that project, which promises to be one of the very effective frontier projects in the whole international fusion program.