Basic Research Instead of Weapon Technology: CERN Finalizes Contracts with ISTC

Geneva, 22 November 1999. On Monday, 22 November, major collaboration contracts were finalized between CERN1 and the ISTC, the International Science and Technology Centre, which has its headquarters in Moscow. These contracts, worth more than 12 million Swiss Francs, are a large step forward in the cooperation between these two institutions. The agreement, which almost doubles the financial support for the ISTC Partner Project, will result in new technical equipment for CERN's latest project, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).

The International Science and Technology Centre was established in 1992 as an intergovernmental organisation with the overall aim of "nonproliferation through science cooperation." Today, its members are the European Union, the United States of America, the Russian Federation, Japan, Norway and Korea. Scientists working in weapons industry and research in the former USSR, now "New Independent States" (NIS), are supported in their efforts to redirect their scientific skills to peaceful research and to integrate themselves into the international scientific community. The ISTC establishes the contact between the Eastern researchers and the Western industry, manages the finance and thus eases the transition between the different economic systems.

The two organisations finalized the contracts within the framework of the ISTC "Partner Project" which was developed in 1997. Contracts exist with almost 60 "partners", e.g. electrical, biomedical or chemical industries or research centres such as CERN. The contribution of the contracts with these partners amounts to about 14 million US Dollars. With the contracts finalized today, almost 13 million Swiss Francs will be added to this sum.

CERN's Research Director Roger Cashmore said: "Clearly the ISTC has come of age. The confidence of governments, the analysis of experts and the reviews of independent professionals have documented the effective operation of the Centre. That is why the HEP Community at CERN have chosen to entrust to the Centre major research and development projects of critical importance to the timely construction of the LHC detectors. We are looking forward to state of the art contributions from our Russian and other NIS colleagues in the years to come with the effective mediation and support of ISTC." The Director General of the ISTC, Alain Gérard, pointed out that "the CERN-ISTC cooperation in high energy physics continues to be a shining example of the unique and effective nature of the Partner programme and a model for our future activities with CERN and other NIS institutes."

Scientists from the NIS will deliver lead tungsten crystals for the CMS experiment's main calorimeter and major support structures for the ATLAS experiment. Both experiments are part of CERN's project for the 21st century, the LHC, which will offer completely new possibilities for research in high energy physics. Due to begin operation in 2005, it will collide protons at extremely high energies, recreating the conditions shortly after the Big Bang.


1. CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics, has its headquarters in Geneva. At present, its Member States are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.   Israel, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United States of America, Turkey, the European Commission and Unesco have observer status.

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