260 million yen allocated for ILC-related items in national budget for FY2018 – an almost 152 million yen increase from FY2017

The original article was published in the Iwate Nippo (December 23rd edition). Read the original here.

The FY 2018 draft budget was decided by the Cabinet on December 22nd, with 260 million yen allocated for developing technology that would be used in the International Linear Collider (leading candidate site: Kitakami mountains in Iwate). This is a large increase from last year’s budget (almost 152 million yen), and will push forward joint US-Japan research on reducing construction costs for the ILC.

The budget allocation was entitled “Developing Core Technology for the Next-Generation in Particle Accelerators,” which entails improving performance, reducing the size, and lowering the cost of related parts. This will expand efforts to develop fundamental technology that will be particularly useful in reducing the costs of a large-scale particle accelerator.

Specifically, the money would likely be prioritized for joint US-Japan research being undergone by Japan’s High Energy Accelerator Research Organization (KEK) and Fermilab (FNAL) in the USA. This research aims at reducing the costs of constructing the ILC by looking into how to reduce the costs in procuring and processing niobium, a rare metal that would be used in the superconducting cavities within the accelerator.

Within the national grant for KEK’s operating costs is another budget line item for the same research, and is calculated to 160 million yen – a total of 370 million yen for joint research in FY2018.

In the FY 2017 budget, 50 million yen was allocated to developing core technology for the next-generation in particle accelerators, and another 60 million yen was allocated to research related to international large-scale accelerator plans, a total of 110 million yen.

In recent news, the International Committee for Future Accelerators approved a plan in November to reduce the length of the ILC in its initial stage from 31 km to 20 km, which looks to greatly reduce construction costs. The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology has reformed the Panel of Experts to once again deliberate on the ILC, taking into account this new information. The national government should make their decision on the ILC sometime in 2018.