Geneva, 21 February 2023. The Feasibility Study for a possible Future Circular Collider (FCC), which will continue until 2025, is now entering its field phase, involving a major geographical, geological and environmental data-gathering effort.
Starting in February 2023, CERN will conduct additional assessments on the ground in order to refine the existing geological and seismic data as well as the data on fauna and flora for conservation purposes.
The first phase of these assessments will involve a visual inspection of the areas of land concerned, and will be followed in 2024 by seismic studies and drilling.
The project’s environmental aspects, namely the geological characteristics of the tunnel and surface sites and the effects on the landscape, will also be studied.
The results will feed into the Feasibility Study and indicate which placement scenarios should be prioritised if the project is approved, taking into account both the environmental objectives for the areas on the surface and the underground constraints.
This work is being carried out in conjunction with local stakeholders to ensure that future activities will take all the relevant aspects and different interests into consideration. CERN is making a concerted effort to communicate with the local communities, with the support of its two Host States, France and Switzerland, and has already made contact with local councillors in the areas concerned.
CERN, France and Switzerland are working together closely to identify and resolve any issues that might arise from the FCC’s planning and construction, which must respect sustainable development principles. Together, the three partners are endeavouring to define the conditions and procedures for the project’s implementation. As well as paying particular attention to compliance with the specific legislative frameworks of the Host States, the FCC Study will address public policies and local issues. In this regard, CERN has already made environmental commitments in all its areas of activity, based on the “avoid–reduce–compensate” principle. It is working with local stakeholders to ensure that the project is adapted to the local area and its priorities and fosters cooperation, along the lines of the initiative that is already in place to recover waste heat from CERN’s accelerators to heat a nearby residential complex.
CERN and its two Host States have set up a tripartite committee to guide the Feasibility Study being conducted by the Organization. This committee, known as the Comité tripartite sur l’implantation territoriale du FCC, is composed of CERN’s Director-General as well as, on the Swiss side, the Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the international organisations in Geneva and Geneva’s State Councillor for regional planning and, on the French side, the Prefect for the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, with delegated authority from the Prime Minister, and the Permanent Representative of France to the international organisations in Geneva.
CERN has created a new website where the public can find out more about the project and communicate with the Organization: https://fcc-faisabilite.eu
About the FCC
CERN’s main facility, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), will complete its mission around 2040. The international particle physics community is exploring various options for the design of an accelerator to succeed the LHC.
The scientific value of studying the feasibility of the FCC was confirmed by the European Strategy for Particle Physics, which was updated by the CERN Member States in 2020, with the FCC standing out as the most suitable option to take over from existing facilities. CERN was therefore tasked that year by its Member States with initiating the Feasibility Study.
Building a large-scale particle collider connected to CERN’s other scientific facilities would bring many benefits for Europe and its scientific community. Making use of the existing infrastructure – including connection to CERN’s other particle accelerators – would be a definite advantage. Ever since it was founded, CERN has upheld an “open science” approach, based on the sharing of scientific knowledge and data and on dialogue between more than 12 000 scientists of some 100 different nationalities.
Operating as part of one of the most sophisticated scientific complexes in the world, the FCC, if it goes ahead, would optimise and extend the life of the existing infrastructure until the end of the twenty-first century, while helping to further our understanding of the Universe.
The future accelerator would be installed in a tunnel measuring some 91 kilometres in circumference at a depth of between 100 and 400 metres on French and Swiss territory, passing under Lake Geneva. In 2028, depending on the results of the Study, a decision will be made about the project as a whole and about the prospects for commissioning the collider in the 2040s.
Straddling the French–Swiss border, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) is a world-renowned particle physics laboratory. This international organisation founded in 1954 has 23 Member States, which include France and Switzerland. Since its creation, CERN has also forged partnerships with many other countries and welcomes researchers from all over the world who are seeking to better understand what the Universe is made of and how it works. CERN provides these scientists with a particle accelerator complex and shares the results of its research with the scientific community worldwide. The development of the cutting-edge technologies required for this work helps drive technological progress in many domains other than particle physics, such as healthcare, energy, safety, research and environmental protection.