How much does it cost to build the International Linear Collider? December 1, 2007Posted by apetrov in Particle Physics, Physics, Science.
How much does it cost to build the ILC? Well, according to the ILC Reference Design Report (already discussed here and here), it would cost about $7B (plus manpower) — not that expensive, if you put it in the perspective: for example, one new aircraft carrier costs about $8B.
Now, there is a letter to the Editor in the recent Physics Today which disputes this figure. In fact, Michael Riordan (UC Santa Cruz) claims that the correct estimate of the cost is not what was released in that report. To quote the article,
“The $7.5 billion total estimate cited is what such a collider might cost according to European accounting practices, assuming it were located at an existing laboratory, like CERN, that could absorb much of the construction management, R&D, and other costs into its normal operating budget. Nor does it include the costs of experimental detectors, contingency, or inflation. Adding those costs would push the total well north of $10 billion, by my calculations. If, as many of us hope, the ILC were to be built in the US, the Department of Energy would insist that all of the other costs be included, making it—as correctly reported in Science—a $10 billion to $15 billion project.”
Now, $15B — that is a big number. According to Burton Richter (Nobel Prize winner and former Director of SLAC), this number is about right:
“The cost in US terms is easy to calculate. The ILC value cost estimate leaves out lab personel costs, inflation, contingency, detectors, physics support buildings, and R&D in support of construction. When I put those in I get about 15-16 billion for the cost of the 0.5 TeV version as construction projects costs are usually calculated here.
The DOE has been through this before for ITER. The value cost of ITER is about $5 billion, but in US terms the budget throught he construction project for our share (10%) is not $500 million, but $1.1 billion. The DOE and the administration made the decision to join based on the cost in US terms. The same process will be used for the ILC. The US HEP community should take its head out of the sand and face the reality. A US 50 % share as host is within the
realm of possibility, but only if the community gets behind it and recognizes the true financial impact.
Feel free to circulate this iif you wish.
So… well, supersymmetry (or something truly exciting) is better be there – let’s see what LHC tells us about that…