CERN advances towards approval of LHC

The CERN1 Council, where the representatives of the 19 Member States of the Organization decide on scientific programmes and financial resources, held its 100th session on 24 June under the chairmanship of Professor Hubert Curien (France).

After a week of meetings which covered in detail the scientific potential, budgeting and world participation in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the President of Council, Prof. Curien, stated that

"Important progress has been made in the discussions which will lead to a convergence of the Member States. There are no major obstacles, but some more effort and a little more time is needed before the final decision can be reached."

The delegates therefore agreed that the 100th session of Council should remain open and expressed their desire to return to CERN as quickly as possible to come to a final approval of the project. To demonstrate the strong commitment of the Member States to rapid approval of LHC, Prof. Curien asked for a vote from those countries which were already in a position to take a decision.

17 Member States:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Italy
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Slovak Republic
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland

voted in favour of LHC approval with 5 countries: Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, Norway and Portugal mentioning that they would have to refer to their governments for confirmation of their vote.

The delegates from Germany and Great Britain both underlined their strong commitment to LHC and assured Council that there would be a very short delay before they would be ready to vote. There was a firm expectation from all Member States that LHC would be formally approved in the very near future.

Representatives from USA, Canada, the Russian Federation, India, Israel, present at the Council meeting all expressed support for the LHC and recommended a rapid approval of the project so as to maintain the support which had built up in their countries.

The Large Hadron Collider project is the largest and most complex scientific collaborative effort ever undertaken by the countries of Europe. CERN's previous large accelerator projects the Super Proton Synchrotron (SPS), and the Large Electron Positron Collider (LEP), which have both proved remarkable scientific successes, had long and drawn out approval procedures. The rapidity with which 19 European countries have reached the position where they are on the verge of giving the go-ahead for the LHC is most encouraging.

Spanish contribution to CERN Budget

Spain agreed to paid back the accumulated debt due to the non-payment of its budget contribution, amounting for the years 1992, 1993, to 148 MCHF with interest to be added. To this end CERN will take bank loans which will be underwritten by the Kingdom of Spain. These loans will be repaid by CERN in the years 1996-1999 by means of a fixed annuity, covering interest and capital. Spain will formally guarantee corresponding payments to CERN on the dates at which payments are due to the banks, and under the same conditions. As part of the agreement the Spanish government has agreed to improve its scientific and technological infrastructure in high energy physics. This will allow Spain to benefit fully from the opportunities offered by CERN to physicists, engineers and industry.

In recognition of recent economic difficulties experienced by Spain and the extra commitment implied by paying back the debt, Council decided that the Spanish contribution to the CERN budget will be reduced by 40 percent in 1994, 30% in 1995, 20% in 1996, 15% in 1997 and 10% in 1998, equivalent to an average reduction of 23% over five years.

Elections

Professor Riccardo Barbieri, University of Pisa, Italy will become a member of the Scientific Policy Committee for 3 years as of 1 July 1994.

Senior Staff appointment

Dr. M. Turala of the Institute of Nuclear Physics in Krakow, Poland, will become the Leader of the ECP division for 3 years as of 1 January 1995.

Footnote(s)

1. CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics, has its headquarters in Geneva. At present, its Member States are Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, the Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Israel, the Russian Federation, Turkey, Yugoslavia (status suspended after UN embargo, June 1992), the European Commission and Unesco have observer status.

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