Framatome contracted to support research at CERN

22 January 2020

France's Framatome has been awarded a contract by the European Laboratory for Particle Physics (CERN) to support research that will inform the development of new materials to be used in the High-Luminosity Large Hadron Collider (HL-LHC), a major upgrade to the existing Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

CERN staff working on the LHC collimator (Image: Framatome)

Under the contract - the value of which has not been disclosed - CERN will provide Framatome with a capsule that was irradiated in a US particle accelerator. Framatome experts will disassemble the capsule and examine the contained materials using mechanical testing and microscopes to determine their physical and mechanical properties. This work will be carried out at the company's Hot Cell Laboratory in Erlangen, Germany, one of only a few facilities in the world that can flexibly assess highly-activated materials.

The results of the tests will support CERN in the development of new materials for the proton beam halo cleaning collimators to be installed and operated at the 27-kilometer-long Large Hadron Collider machine in Switzerland.

The HL-LHC project aims to ramp up the performance of the LHC in order to increase the potential for discoveries after 2027. The objective is to increase luminosity - an important indicator of the performance of an accelerator - by a factor of 10 beyond the LHC's design value. All of the equipment needed for the HL-LHC and its experiments will be installed between 2025 and mid-2027. The HL-LHC, which should be operational from the end of 2027, will allow physicists to study known mechanisms in greater detail, such as the Higgs boson, and observe rare new phenomena that might reveal themselves. The project is led by CERN with the support of an international collaboration of 29 institutions in 13 countries, including Canada, Japan and the USA.

This marks the second contract that CERN has awarded to Framatome. In 2018, Framatome performed post-irradiation examinations of an antiproton production target that CERN provided.

"We are proud that CERN again selected Framatome to perform important examinations that support its research projects," said Alexis Marincic, senior executive vice president of the Engineering and Design Authority at Framatome. "This is further proof of the high quality of our services for assessing and testing materials and demonstrates our ability to competitively provide valuable services to customers beyond power-generating nuclear stations."

Researched and written by World Nuclear News