Meetings bring PIP-II collaborators together at Fermilab

For the first time in two years, members of the international collaboration working on the Proton Improvement Plan II project, or PIP-II, were able to gather in-person on Fermilab’s campus. The PIP-II Project Executive Board’s 12th meeting was held July 11, and the second-ever PIP-II Technical Workshop followed on July 12–14.

The PIP-II Project Executive Board, or P2PEB, provides project-wide planning, coordination and issue resolution during all phases of the project and on all project aspects, including schedule, budget, resources, scope, safety and performance. The Executive Board meets every three months with meeting agendas tailored to the latest project priorities.

P2PEB#12 was held in a hybrid format with about 50 participants. All European technical coordinators attended in person, while several Fermilab and other in-kind contributor, or IKC, participants connected remotely. They focused on preparing acceptance plans and criteria before the next DOE project review and discussed the status of design reviews and codes issues to ensure that PIP-II and partners are aligned with the near-future project activities.

The 12th PIP-II executive board meeting was held July 11 at Fermilab with about 50 registered participants. All European technical coordinators attended in person, while several Fermilab and other IKC participants connected remotely. Photo credit: Jemila Adetunji, Fermilab

“The P2PEB meetings represent the core meeting for PIP-II Fermilab and IKC partners coordination,” said Luisella Lari, interim PIP-II project manager and in-kind contribution manager. “They were essential during COVID for the preparation of successful CD-2 and CD-3 reviews.”

The P2PEB plans to hold their next meeting at one of the IKC partner’s sites.

On Tuesday, July 12, the PIP-II Technical Workshop began. The goal of the workshop is to facilitate communication among the broader technical teams responsible for delivering hardware to PIP-II. It is an opportunity to have a technical overview of the project and to discuss common concerns with the technical teams from all partners.

The first PIP-II technical workshop was held in December 2020, entirely virtually, so the July iteration was the first time in two years that the collaborators could meet face-to-face. With many collaborators still grappling with the COVID pandemic, a large contingency participated remotely, but workshop organizer Allan Rowe said they were able to be very effective with the hybrid format.

“We’re in a truly integrated team,” said Rowe, the PIP-II in-kind contribution technical integration manager. “We’re starting to travel back and forth to partners again, and this really is setting the momentum toward the construction phase [of the project]. … It’s essential to get this kind of interaction again.”

The workshop drew 29 international-partner in-person participants among 231 total registrants. Having recently reached the critical milestone of gaining CD-3 approval, the focus was on production—specifically for the 650 MHz cryomodules, which will make up the final leg of the linear accelerator.

Across four working groups, 65 talks were given. They covered topics like radiofrequency coupler production, managing technology obsolescence, HB650 cryomodule production, 650 MHz cavity processing and testing, and cryogenic distribution system interfaces and analysis.

“This workshop is a nice tool to exchange information between work packages, especially at a technical level,” said David Longuevergne, PIP-II technical coordinator from Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique / Institut National de Physique Nucléaire et de Physique des Particules in France. “It is the only mechanism to allow such a broad exchange at the level of the PIP-II project.”

Three collaborators from India were able to attend in person, having recently begun a short-term visit at Fermilab. “The presentations were broad and informative from a project viewpoint,” said Aniruddha Bose of the Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology. “Attending them in-person provided better scope in terms of discussion. It was also nice to meet scientists and engineers from various labs.”

Nicolas Bazin, PIP-II technical coordinator from the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission, or CEA, said that spending time on site was a great opportunity for non-Fermilab collaborators like himself to see the Fermilab team’s progress on the assembly of the HB650 prototype cryomodule, the upgrade of infrastructure like PIP2IT and MP9, and the construction of the cryogenic plant building.

For many in-person attendees, one of the most valuable aspects of the workshop was the opportunity to meet collaborators in person—some for the first time since joining PIP-II.

“We were able to work through issues face-to-face that otherwise would have taken two months of back-and-forth emails,” said Cristian Boffo of Fermilab, PIP-II SRF and cryogenics systems manager. “That helped us to get through some sticky issues much faster.”

Bazin agreed. “Since I was the only CEA representative to come to Fermilab, my team prepared a list of pending technical issues to discuss. Some of these issues were pending for several months, despite e-mail exchanges and video meetings,” he said. “Discussing face-to-face with people allowed to close most of them and to make progress on the others.

“The program was very good; the presentations were very detailed, leading to interesting discussions,” Bazin continued. “From my point of view, this technical workshop was very fruitful.”