Criticism about ILC costs at the first meeting of the Science Council of Japan’s ILC committee – researchers stress the importance of the project

The original article was published in the Iwate Nippo (August 11th edition). Read the original here.

The Science Council of Japan has formed a committee to deliberate on the revised ILC plan, and within that committee is a working group that will verify the technology involved. The committee and working group held their first meeting on August 10th in Tokyo to start their deliberations. Particle physicists and collider researchers attended to give reference information, and stressed that the ILC was “crucially important to science.” However, some committee members criticized the huge cost of the project as well as the state of development of related technology.

Serving as Committee Chair is Yasuhiro Iye (Director of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science), and Chair of the Working Group is Masako Yoneda (Specially appointed professor at Keio University’s Advanced Research Center). Prof. Keisuke Fujii of KEK and Prof. Takashi Nakano (Head of Osaka University’s Research Center for Nuclear Physics) explained the importance of the project and the state of development of its collider.

Prof. Fujii was asked why the initial length of the ILC was reduced to 20 km from 31 km. “We predict that the energy level of experiments within this revised plan will have the best effect in precisely researching the Higgs boson particle,” he explained. He also stressed that “we expect that the ILC will make huge contributions to science.”

Some comments from the members included: “We face a limited national budget, yet this will require a huge amount of money. Would the benefits be worth the cost?” “A lot of the ILC’s collider technology is still in R&D. You have a planned 4-year preparatory period, but will that be enough?” There were also worries about radioactive material: “There needs to be more consideration about the effect on the environment.”

Scientists from around the world are urging the national government to make a decision on the ILC within the year. The particular committee was started by the Science Council of Japan after the Ministry of Education, Sports, Culture, Science and Technology (MEXT) asked them to deliberate on the project. They will debate how to position the ILC project within all of the science fields, as well as the return of investment, and then get back to MEXT. Chief Iye spoke about their schedule following the meeting. “We want to move as quickly as possible, but we must adequately deliberate and evaluate the project. Whether or not we’ll be done by November is up to how the deliberations go.”