In DepthParticle Physics

Japan accelerator poised to go fully operational

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Science  17 Apr 2015:
Vol. 348, Issue 6232, pp. 273
DOI: 10.1126/science.348.6232.273

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Shut down after a radiation leak in May 2013, Japan's premier particle accelerator could soon resume full operations if it passes an inspection of new safety features scheduled for 17 April. The Japan Proton Accelerator Research Complex (J-PARC) in Tokai, 110 kilometers northeast of Tokyo, features a 50 giga-electronvolt synchrotron that provides streams of protons for three separate experimental facilities. One focuses on materials and life sciences; another is dedicated to a long-baseline neutrino experiment; the third supports studies of subatomic particles called hadrons. The leak put a halt to all operations. Work on materials and life sciences and neutrinos resumed in spring 2014 after J-PARC bolstered safety procedures. Research in the Hadron Experimental Facility, where the leak occurred, was further delayed by the installation of new vapor barriers and exhaust fan filters and the adoption of other countermeasures to contain radiation. The halt in experiments has delayed groundbreaking research, though some groups were affected more than others.