First successful test run for J-PARC after earthquake

In 2006, J-PARC director Shoji Nagamiya turned the key to start accelerating beam at the Linac. After March’s earthquake, the complex has made repairs to continue accelerating beam. Photo courtesy of J-PARC director Shoji Nagamiya

Editor’s note: For over 30 years, Japanese and American researchers have enjoyed collaborating under the U.S.-Japan Agreement on High-Energy Physics.

Ten months after the earthquake and tsunami that devastated northern Japan, the Japan Proton Accelerator Research Complex (J-PARC) completed the first full test run for their system.

On March 11, 2011, the complex was extensively damaged, halting experiments for the highly international collaboration. From water in the Linac area to displaced walls and roads, it was clear that a great deal of work was ahead. The J-PARC center team created a master recovery schedule in May of 2011. The team met every milestone on time.

The complex, built as a joint project between the Japan Atomic Energy Agency and the High Energy Accelerator Research Organization (also known as KEK) with heavy international cooperation, houses several diverse research facilities. Three accelerators produce a primary proton beam used in tandem with smaller, more specific beams in each facility, based on use. For example, the T2K research team studies neutrinos produced from the primary proton beam.

The J-PARC team produced the first beam from the Linac on Dec. 9, a huge step signaling their ability to take beams at increasing energies. Just two weeks later, on Dec. 26, a full test run of the beam production and extraction through the neutrino hall was successfully completed.

While there are still a number of repairs to make, and the beam power is not quite at what was achieved prior to the earthquake, the center team expects to open J-PARC to users by the end of January.

In a series of email updates detailing the continued improvements, Shoji Nagamiya, director of J-PARC, expressed his gratitude for the many well-wishes from around the world. As a major component of J-PARC’s mission, the international support was greatly appreciated.

Ashley WennersHerron