September 17, 2004  


External Independent Review Completed for LCLS

By Davide Castelvecchi

The Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS) passed a major test this summer, when a contractor hired by the DOE’s Office of Engineering and Construction Management (OECM) completed a review of the project’s estimated cost and completion time.

The future Linac Coherent Light Source complex will be located on SLAC grounds extending from the Research Yard eastward. (Image courtesy of LCLS)

Due to start operations in 2009, the $315 million project will be SLAC’s largest development since the SLC—and the world first x-ray free electron laser.

“The EIR [External Independent Review] was a major review because it established a baseline for the entire project,” says LCLS chief engineer Mark Reichanadter.

The review was conducted by Burns and Roe Enterprises, Inc. (BREI), an engineering firm that specializes in large construction projects such as power plants. The 12-strong BREI team spent seven weeks reviewing the project and one week on the SLAC site, checking every aspect of the LCLS organization and preliminary design, cost and schedule.

The report contains a few recommendations about the LCLS management structure and the need for a detailed ES&H analysis, but it found the overall project baseline ‘complete and reasonable.’ BREI’s report was a crucial step towards the Critical Decision 2 [Approve Project Performance Baseline] expected later this year, and the next step in DOE’s formal project review process.

A concern raised in the EIR is the prospect for ramping up next year to a full staff of 125 at the three national labs participating in the LCLS construction. This is up from the 50 staff members (35 of them at SLAC) presently involved in the project, since the necessary budget increase is subject to congressional approval.

The president’s budget for the next fiscal year slates $54 million for the LCLS—$4 million for research and development, $20 million for engineering design and $30 million for advanced procurements. The House has approved the funding as part of the energy bill which now awaiting confirmation in the Senate.

Meanwhile, the LCLS team is celebrating the good news from the EIR. “It was great the way all partner labs teamed to present the LCLS effectively to the EIR. It was a wonderful preview of what it’s going to be like working together,” said John Galayda, who heads the newly established LCLS division at SLAC.

For more information on LCLS, see:  




The Stanford Linear Accelerator Center is managed by Stanford University for the US Department of Energy

Last update Wednesday September 15, 2004 by Emily Ball