Japan a candidate to house planned super-collider

June 13, 2013

By AKIRA HATANO/ Staff Writer

An international physicist group plans to build an $8.75 billion (830 billion yen) particle accelerator with Japan as a leading candidate to be home to the 31-kilometer, next-generation super-collider.

The Linear Collider Collaboration project team released a technical design report on June 12 for the International Linear Collider project in the hope of unraveling more mysteries of the universe using a huge particle accelerator.

According to its report, the length of the planned collider is 31 kilometers, which would make it the longest in the world.

Japan and the United States, along with nations in Europe and elsewhere, will discuss the feasibility of the collider construction based on the report.

At issue is where to construct the collider and what proportion of construction costs each nation will have to bear.

The project would allow researchers to accelerate electrons and positrons to more than 99 percent the speed of light, and turn them each into a beam.

After causing a head-on collision of the two beams, they will be able to catch Higgs bosons and other particles generated by the collision to see their characteristics. The Higgs boson, often referred to as the "God particle," is an elementary particle that scientists believe allows all substances to acquire mass.

The construction costs are current estimates. The United States and European nations have shown less appetite for building the collider within their borders, citing severe fiscal constraints.

The LCC has high expectations for Japanese assistance.

Candidate sites for the particle accelerator in Japan include the Kitakami Mountains straddling Iwate and Miyagi prefectures, and the Sefuri Mountains straddling Saga and Fukuoka prefectures.

Japanese researchers plan to choose a final candidate by the end of July for submission to the government for approval.

By AKIRA HATANO/ Staff Writer
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