During Long Shutdown 2 (LS2), and despite the disruption brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, CERN’s underground infrastructure saw the execution of two major civil engineering projects at Points 1 and 5 of the LHC. These projects have successfully delivered the underground caverns and galleries required by the High-Luminosity LHC (HL-LHC).
The new HL-LHC cavern at Point 1, near the ATLAS experiment, sits at about 80 metres below the surface and is connected to a 300-metre-long service tunnel. Measuring around 50 metres long and 15 metres wide, the cavern will host the cryogenic equipment and other accelerator systems needed for the HL-LHC.
Last Friday, 16 Council delegates took advantage of their presence at CERN for Council week to head underground. They were joined by Director-General Fabiola Gianotti, the four directors, representatives of the HL-LHC project and support staff. As part of the one-hour visit, the group descended via the regular lift to the underground area that leads to the LHC tunnel, where the soon-to-be upgraded inner triplet system and matching section components reside. Some 100 metres into the LHC tunnel, a small safety gallery and five flights of stairs connect the LHC to the new structures, and via this the delegates finally reached the HL-LHC cavern, where they learned more about the site’s layout, future hardware and purpose.
“The construction of the new HL-LHC underground areas together with the successful deployment of the LHC Injectors Upgrade during LS2 are important milestones in CERN’s plans to assure our ability to deliver meaningful physics at the energy frontier for the next 15 years or so,” said Mike Lamont, Director for Accelerators and Technology. “There’s still a lot of work to do, but in parallel with major upgrades to the LHC detectors, and with the strong support of the Member States, we’re making good progress in our mission to deliver on the vision to ensure the future exploitation of “the full physics potential of the LHC and the HL-LHC, including the study of flavour physics and the quark–gluon plasma”, as set out in the European Strategy for Particle Physics.”