Controlling construction costs for the ILC to 500 bn yen, and building momentum

The original article was published in the Asahi Shimbun (November 10th edition). Read the original here.

The International Committee for Future Accelerators (ICFA) has approved a new plan to reduce the ILC accelerator to 2/3rds of its original scale. This will reduce costs by around 40%, bringing the construction cost to around 500 billion yen. Now it will be easier for participating countries to supply funds, increasing the chance that the ILC will be realized. The Kitakami mountains in Iwate and Miyagi prefectures is the leading candidate site for the project.

The ILC will be a large accelerator placed in a linear tunnel. It will smash together electrons and positrons (positively charged electrons) at a speed more than 99% of the speed of light. The Higgs boson and other particles can then be observed from that collision. It is expected that this will shed light on how the universe was formed and lead to study on dark matter. The aim is to start building sometime after the 2022 fiscal year.

The longer the tunnel, the greater the energy can be used, so the original length was 30 km. However, discussions had stalled because of the more than 850 billion yen in construction costs. They have reduced their objective to just studying the Higgs particle, and shortened the tunnel to 20 km, reducing the costs. They will be able to lengthen the tunnel in the future in case of further research.