NIF project personnel also provided data on the NOVA operating budget as a percent of TPC. The initial operating budget for NOVA in 1986 was $10 million ($6 million for personnel and $4 million for consumables) or about 6% of the NOVA construction cost of $176 million in as-spent dollars. That NOVA operating budget corresponds to about $17 million in 1997 dollars, which is indeed the NOVA operating budget in 1996. The NOVA operating staff consisted of 28 professionals and 49 technicians in 1986 and consisted of 6 professionals and 56 technicians in 1996. The current NIF operating staff includes 260 people, which is consistent with the $60 million operating budget.

The committee notes that the apparently low proposed direct operating budget of $60 million appears compatible with NOVA experience, and that with the additional $60 million projected in the target physics program the total funds available ($120 million) are consistent with the 10 to 13% expected from experience of similar megaprojects.

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