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Cost of super accelerator explodes

Building the LHC is proving more of a challenge than expected for CERN Keystone Archive

The construction of the world's largest particle accelerator near Geneva will cost over a third more than originally planned in 1996.

This content was published on November 6, 2001 - 10:57

The budget of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) of the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) has expanded faster than expected. The LHC project was expected to cost SFr2.6 billion ($1.58 billion) upon completion in 2006, but due to cost overruns, the bill will probably reach SFr3.45 billion, if not more.

CERN's board will meet in December to discuss various financial options. The laboratory could take out a loan, cut spending on other research or ask the member states of CERN to share the extra cost.

The board will probably choose a solution that makes use of all three options, according to Neil Calder, spokesman for CERN. "Negotiations will be difficult," said Calder, "CERN is facing a tough year."

Part of the increase is blamed on new technology costing considerably more than planned. The 1236 superconducting magnets and the cooling system designed to maintain parts of the system close to absolute zero will be more expensive to build than expected.

Research for the magnets has also gone over budget previsions. The design of the GRID, the successor of the World Wide Web, needed to process the information from the LHC will also cost SFr120 million extra.

The LHC is the successor to another collider, the LEP. Its task is to help explore and understand the basic structure of matter by smashing particles together at close to the speed of light.

swissinfo with agencies

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