June 21, 2009

Large Hadron Collider Online By September

The world's biggest atom smasher will be put to the test once more in September after scientists have conducted tests and set up additional safety precautions to stop any further mistakes that halted the $10 billion machine after its startup in 2008, the operator announced on Saturday.

The Large Hadron Collider was intended to begin again in late September, but most likely will wait an additional two to three weeks, a spokesman for the European Organization for Nuclear Research said.

"We're pretty confident about the dates," James Gillies told the Associated Press, noting that scientists think they comprehend last year's blunder and know how to prevent it from happening again.

An electrical error resulting from a faulty splice in the wiring stopped the machine on Sept. 19, nine days after its initial startup.

The 20-nation operator, CERN, said the collider needs more repairs and safety features that will end up running about $37 million in the next few years, Gillies said.

Once the machine is operational again, scientists will use the collider to smash protons from hydrogen atoms inside the 17-mile tunnel beneath the Swiss-French border around Geneva.


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