The International Committee for Future Accelerators (ICFA), a group made up of directors and high-level scientists from major laboratories from around the world, held a meeting in Guangdong, China to further discuss the approach to shorten the initial length of the ILC to 20 km. The ICFA will make an official announcement during a meeting to be held in Canada in November, and will continue to deepen debate on the topic.
Prof. Toshinori Mori (International Center for Elementary Particle Physics of the University of Tokyo, ICEPP) attended the meeting, and said that the initial 31 km length for the ILC’s first stage would be shortened to 20 km, decreasing the energy used for particle collisions. In the beginning, the ILC would be constructed as a facility to study the Higgs boson in-depth.
The cost of the ILC is an issue: construction costs for the accelerator facilities at the ILC would total over 1 trillion yen (including labor costs), with operation costs amounting to about 49 billion yen per year. However, it is estimated that shortening the length of the ILC will greatly reduce costs, so the proposal was looked on favorably as “a new start for the ILC” at the meeting. Prof. Mori said, “I have a feeling that the funding entities will make positive progress because of this development.”
Prof. Atsuto Suzuki, president of Iwate Prefectural University and director of the Tohoku ILC Preparation Office, said he will rev up his activities. “This approach will be our trump card. I will urge all related organizations to start international negotiations as soon as possible.”
Taking on a central role in international and domestic negotiations is specially appointed Prof. Satoru Yamashita of ICEPP, who is also involved with research into what economic effects the ILC will bring to Iwate Prefecture. He welcomed the development: “It’s do-or-die now. We have some great momentum after this decision on our approach, made by lab directors in this international place.”
The ICFA deliberates on what technology is necessary for building high energy particle colliders, their related facilities, and builds the international consensus required for their construction. It members are the directors and leading scientists of major scientific facilities around the world with an influence on the field of high energy physics.
The Japanese national government will decide on whether or not to host the ILC after a Panel of Experts at the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports, Culture and Technology (MEXT) finishes their deliberations. The decision will be made sometime around the end of 2017 to 2018.