Japan’s KEK laboratory took a step forward to realise the International Linear Collider on 6 January, issuing a “KEK-ILC Action Plan”. This plan blueprints how KEK should start its preparation towards the ILC when the Japanese government gives its green light for the project.
“Green Light” in this document is defined as a formal announcement by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) to start negotiations with foreign countries with the assumption of ILC realisation. At MEXT, the ILC is under formal discussion by the Advisory Panel formed with experts from various fields, which published the summary of the discussion in June last year. Following the recommendation in the summary report, a new working group has been formed that currently discusses how there will be enough human resources to construct the machine and run the laboratory.
This action plan document provides the basic information required to plan technical actions, organisation, human resources, and training to realise formal approval of the ILC project, and to ensure a smooth start of the construction phase through the preparation phase from the current status, with a special focus on the human resources issue.
“We have to prove that the human resources required to execute the project exist to get the project approval,”says Yasuhiro Okada, a theoretical physicist and an Executive Director at KEK, who chaired the working group. “ We believe that this KEK-ILC action plan will be a useful information to encourage the discussions to realise the ILC, both in Japan, and internationally,” said Okada.
There are large on-going projects such as the European XFEL in Europe and LCLS-II in the US which could provide potential experienced human resources for the ILC project. “In Japan, new human resources and training will be especially necessary to ensure the maturation of superconducting RF system engineering. Also, we will need to secure the manpower for industrialisation and functioning as a hub laboratory. For that purpose, we will need to have new posts for the younger generation during the preparation phase to train future leaders,” said Okada.
The report summarised that the technical issues for the accelerator development have been reasonably well studied. However more investigation will be needed in areas such as conventional facility and siting (CFS), common technical support, administration, as well as physics experiments, detector systems, and computing needed for physics analyses remain crucial issues.
It explains the envisioned timeline in three phases. In the “pre-preparation phase,” which falls into the current stage, various R&D projects are being and will be conducted as efforts in general advanced accelerator technology R&D. Once the government flashes the green light, the project will be promptly shifted to the next phase, the “main preparation phase,” where the ILC pre-laboratory will be established. This lab is responsible for the engineering design, remaining technical R&D, construction preparations, and administrative assistance for inter-government negotiations toward the ILC project approval. Efforts during the third phase described in the document, the “construction phase” shall be based on an inter-government agreement for the project approval, so not covered in this plan.
The ILC community is working hard, eyeing on getting the green light from the government between 2017 to 2018. The official negotiations to get support from other countries would be initiated after that. It is also very important to prove that there is potential of getting international support now. The Community’s support in each country is also very critical at this moment. “This action plan acts as a good starting point for domestic as well as international discussions which leads to a realistic implementation plan,” said Okada.