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Sunday, January 29, 2023

Electricity prices prematurely close the Large Hadron Collider

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Gaston de Persigny
Gaston de Persigny
Gaston de Persigny - Reporter at The European Times News

There is a possibility that CERN will completely shut down during the winter

The energy crisis fueled by Russia’s war in Ukraine has also affected the European Organization for Nuclear Research – CERN, reports Euronews.

The Large Hadron Collider, located on the border between Switzerland and France, is the largest and most powerful particle accelerator in the world. He proved the existence of the Higgs boson, and his scientific work led to new discoveries in the fields of physics and medicine. In order for the facility to function, it needs a lot of electricity.

The CERN laboratory uses an average of 1.3 terawatt hours of electricity per year, which is roughly equivalent to a city of 230,000 inhabitants. The Large Hadron Collider alone accounts for about half of this consumption.

Every year, during the cold winter months when energy demand is highest, the Large Hadron Collider traditionally shuts down to reduce the load on the grid.

This time, however, the CERN laboratory is shutting down earlier than usual. The reason is related to the high price of electricity, as a result of the war between Russia and Ukraine.

The particle accelerator complex shut down today, two weeks earlier than originally planned. After this winter break, use of the Large Hadron Collider will be further reduced by 20 percent in 2023.

In the meantime, CERN is ready to suspend its scientific activities completely in case energy resources in France or Europe are particularly strained, says Malika Meddahi, deputy director of CERN.

Many of the physicists at the lab have ongoing experiments that will be directly affected by the energy measures, Meddahi added.

Experiments that were planned during the two weeks of the early closure will be postponed to the following years.

Other scientific complexes are also having difficulties in dealing with the energy crisis.

The German Electron Synchrotron (DESY) in Hamburg, home to the world’s most powerful X-ray laser, is also struggling with rising electricity prices.

The facility buys its electricity in tranches up to three years in advance to protect against sudden price spikes. This has become impossible at current prices.

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