CERN releases report on LHC incident

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If you’d like to know the details, you can find a summary on the CERN Press Release site and a technical report on their document server.  Some things I found interesting:

  • Confirmation that the cause was an electrical fault, rather than a magnet quench.  When temperatures rose, the magnets certainly quenched in response, but the initial cause was “an electrical arc which punctured the helium enclosure, leading to a release of helium into the insulation vacuum of the cryostat.”
  • Sentences that begin, “After 0.39 seconds”, “at 0.46 seconds”, and “at 0.86 seconds…”
  • At most 5 quadrupole and 24 dipole magnets will need to be repaired, though more may need to be removed to clean off “contamination by a soot-like dust.”  There are enough spare magnets and components for all of these repairs.  (Whew!)
  • In all, 6 tonnes of helium were lost out of the 15 tonnes that were in that sector.  The last 4 leaked slowly, before the enclosure could be closed.

Again, I’m not a CERN representative, I’m just very interested in the outcome of this project, as may be some of the readers of this blog.

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