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CERN and STFC support environmentally sustainable physics

CERN Director-General, Fabiola Gianotti, and STFC Executive Chair, Mark Thomson, sign a new agreement to support the development of more sustainable particle accelerators (Image: CERN)

On 22 March, CERN and the UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) signed a new agreement to collaborate on the research and development of advanced new technologies to make future particle accelerators significantly more sustainable.

Minimising the environmental impact of particle physics activities and ensuring their sustainability and energy efficiency is one of the key recommendations in the last update of the European Strategy for Particle Physics, published in 2020.

“CERN is fully committed to fostering sustainability across its existing and forthcoming projects, actively engaging in a variety of initiatives,” explains Mike Lamont, CERN Director for Accelerators and Technology. “These include sourcing renewable energy, implementing heat recovery schemes and forging collaborations with industry to explore innovative applications of sustainable technology, such as high-power electricity distribution in various contexts. Our philosophy in this regard aligns well with that of the STFC and we look forward to exploiting the potential of this collaboration – together we are stronger.”

The agreement will act as a framework to better direct CERN and STFC’s funding, expertise and technological investment to minimise environmental impact. It provides guidance and recommendations that consider the entire lifecycle of accelerator facilities, from design and construction to operation and decommissioning.

The agreement also outlines a proposal for STFC to establish a new Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Accelerators (CESA) at the Daresbury Laboratory in the UK. CESA would conduct original research in sustainable accelerator technologies and train accelerator scientists, technicians and engineers in the skills required to develop new accelerators with sustainability at the heart of the design.

For more details, see the UKRI website.