Government may think twice about hosting ILC project if it has to pay half of the massive cost

Tohoku pitched for ¥1 trillion collider

Kyodo, JIJI

Researchers promoting a project to build a 30-km-long straight linear accelerator aimed at answering questions about the beginnings of the universe, named the International Linear Collider, said Friday they have chosen the Kitakami mountain area in the Tohoku region as a candidate site.

But whether the government will invite the project remains to be seen due to the high cost, forecast at more than ¥1 trillion. About half of that amount is expected to be borne by the host state.

The group of researchers told reporters that they prefer the Kitakami area, which straddles Iwate and Miyagi prefectures, over the other candidate, the Sefuri mountain area in Kyushu.

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology will decide whether to allow the project to go ahead and if so will select a candidate site taking the researchers’ choice as a “reference.”

The Science Council of Japan has said it is “premature” to seek to attract the project, in response to an inquiry from the ministry.

The ILC is a linear accelerator about 30 km long that will be built in an underground tunnel and will hurl electrons and their antiparticles, positrons, toward each other at nearly the speed of light to produce conditions resembling the dawn of the universe right after the Big Bang. In the future, the collider’s length may be extended to 50 km.

The researchers said the Sefuri site was less suitable because the prospective tunnel would run under a reservoir and near geological faults.

Construction costs are estimated at ¥830 billion. Including costs for personnel and land acquisitions and production of necessary equipment, the total project expenses will top ¥1 trillion.

The United States and Europe want Japan to lead the construction of the facility. If the accelerator is built in Japan, the country would need to cover at least half of the costs, sources said.

  • Guest

    “near geological faults” is a pretty odd way of putting “next to the ring of fire”. Doesn’t take a particle physicist to point out that if you wanted to actually build one in Japan, you’d be better off doing it in Kyushu or at least Yamaguchi or something. Even western Hokkaido would be a better option than any of the prefectures bordering the Pacific.

  • Murasaki

    How about using the money to rebuild the mess from 3/11 .. Too many people are still suffering living in dog boxes.

    Stop wasting money on crap!

  • Rhoid Rager

    How about using the money and engineering talent to remove the spent/melted fuel from the Fukushima reactors first? We’re sitting on a time bomb here.

  • NoFixedID

    It is insane to be spending ¥1 trillion on a particle accelerator while Fukushima disaster hangs by a thread over the fate of the entire country. By the time you find answers about the beginnings of the universe, you could be witnessing the end of Japan.

    • Franz Pichler

      your so right, hits the nail on the head!

  • Doug

    It’s a safe bet that just about everyone would agree that using that money to help fix the Fukushima reactor disaster would be a far better use of funds.

  • Franz Pichler

    so we’re faced with the Fukushima nuclear disaster, an energy crisis, an economy in tatters, serious problems due to global warming (hello, renewables!!!) and the government is planning to spend one trillion for the collider (we got already a nice one in Europe, guess we need another…) in order to “answerg questions about the beginnings of the universe” – guess that’s exactly what we need now, idiocy has truly no limits….