The U.S. Department of Energy said it had chosen the Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, NY, as the site for a planned major new nuclear physics research facility, an electron collider that will cost between $1.6 and $2.6 billion to build.
"The Electron Ion Collider (EIC) ... will smash electrons into protons and heavier atomic nuclei in an effort to penetrate the mysteries of the 'strong force' that binds the atomic nucleus together," the department said.
The EIC’s high luminosity and highly polarized beams are expected to push the frontiers of particle accelerator science and technology and provide unprecedented insights into the building blocks and forces that hold atomic nuclei together.
Design and construction of an EIC was recommended by the National Research Council of the National Academies of Science, noting that such a facility “would maintain U.S. leadership in nuclear physics” and “help to maintain scientific leadership more broadly.” Plans for an EIC were also endorsed by the federal Nuclear Science Advisory Committee.
Secretary Brouillette approved Critical Decision-0, “Approve Mission Need,” for the EIC on December 19, 2019.
“The Department is excited to be moving forward with an Electron Ion Collider at Brookhaven National Laboratory,” stated Office of Science Director Dr. Chris Fall, who noted that "participation from many parts of the DOE laboratory complex will be essential if the EIC is to be a success.”
Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Newport News, VA will be a major partner in the EIC project. Several other DOE laboratories are expected to contribute to EIC construction and to the nuclear physics research program that will be accomplished there.
The EIC will be a game-changing resource for the international nuclear physics community. American researchers have benefited from DOE participation in international collaborations such as CERN and the international community is currently contributing to our construction of the Long Baseline Neutrino Facility and the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment. DOE looks forward to conversations with our international partners about contributions to the EIC effort.
Funding for the EIC is subject to annual appropriations by Congress.
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