The Kitakami mountains are the candidate site for the ILC, a next-generation, large-scale particle collider. Key to realizing the ILC is the decision from the Japanese government to host the project, which should take place around the end of 2017 to sometime in 2018. This year shall prove to be a very important year for Iwate Prefecture. The prefecture is pushing forth all-Tohoku initiatives to bring about the ILC, preparing the area to receive the project, and spreading awareness about the ILC in order to realize this once in a lifetime chance.
In December 2016, researchers involved with the ILC gathered in Morioka, the capital of Iwate, for the 2016 Linear Collider Workshop (LCWS). It had been 21 years since Iwate had last held the 1995 workshop, and around 350 researchers and related officials from 22 countries and regions gathered to present and share information on their latest research results and technology. The LCWS was an opportunity to show off the Kitakami mountains to the foreign researchers, and many events were held concurrently by the prefectural government and Iwate ILC Promotion Council: an exchange session between local students and researchers, the ILC Symposium in Iwate, the All-Iwate Fair, and more.
The LCWS in Morioka was quite significant, as interest in the ILC is growing. The Iwate Prefecture Office of ILC Promotion said, “We were able to convey the passion the local area holds for the ILC as well as showoff the charms of the region to the foreign researchers. Many people visited the venue, and we think the event increased understanding of the ILC.”
During LCWS, Lyn Evans, director of the LCC (the leading organization for the ILC), held a press conference where he stressed that “there is a large possibility” the ILC will be built in the Kitakami mountains. Regarding the challenge of reducing construction costs, he added, “To lower costs at the beginning stages, we are thinking of starting with a smaller machine, and slowly increase its capabilities until it reaches its full specifications.”
If a method to reduce costs is worked out, it will lead to hope for further developments in bringing about the ILC.
“I am happy to see developments and enthusiasm descending on Iwate on a level not seen before. We in the local area must work our hardest,” vowed Governor Takuya Tasso.
“We were able to deeply impact the researchers from abroad. This will also be an appeal to the national government,” said Kunihisa Yamura, chair of the Iwate ILC Promotion Council, whose passion to bring about the ILC is renewed.
The Iwate Prefectural government will continue to push forth all-Tohoku initiatives, prepare an environment for receiving the ILC, create a hub for accelerator-related industry to gather, and spread awareness of the project. They said, “We would like to continue to create a place where researchers can comfortably do their research, and increase involvement from local companies into the accelerator industry. We’d also like to continue the ILC Caravan and other types of PR.”