WASHINGTON - A Senate Appropriations subcommittee yesterday approved $640 million for the Superconducting Super Collider amid predictions by the $11 billion project's chief defender that the full Senate next week will vote to save it.

"I've gone from hopeful to optimistic," said Sen. J. Bennett Johnston, D-La., the chairman of the Appropriations Committee's energy and water subcommittee, which approved by voice vote the funding for the fiscal year that begin Oct. 1.

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