OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Aug. 19, 2005 — The Spallation NeutronSource at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory hasmet a crucial milestone on its way to completion in June 2006 --operation of the superconducting section of its linear accelerator.
TheSNS linac has two sections: a room-temperature, or warm, section, whichcompleted its commissioning last January, and a superconducting, orcold, section, which operates at temperatures hundreds of degrees belowzero. The cold linac provides the bulk of the power that drives thelinac, and has already achieved an energy level of 865 MeV, which isabout 75 percent of the speed of light. The SNS linac is the world'sfirst high energy, high power linac to apply superconducting technologyto the acceleration of protons.
"The successful operation of the coldlinac is a major step toward the 2006 completion of the SNS anddemonstrates the success of the collaboration of national labs inkeeping the project on time, on budget and on scope. It represents,technically, one of the most complex systems of the SNS facility," saidThom Mason, ORNL's Associate Director for the SNS.
"This successfultest is just another indicator of the outstanding team of men and womenthat ORNL has brought together to build and operate the SNS facility.They can be justifiably proud of this accomplishment," said Les Price,DOE's project director for the SNS.
The Thomas Jefferson NationalAccelerator Facility in Virginia, part of the team of six DOE nationallaboratories collaborating on the DOE Office of Science project, wasresponsible for the superconducting linac and its refrigeration system.Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico provided theradio-frequency systems that drive the linac. The other DOE nationallaboratories supporting ORNL in the SNS collaboration are Argonne,Lawrence Berkeley, and Brookhaven.
"Jefferson Lab congratulates the OakRidge SNS team on this major milestone," said Claus Rode, SNS projectmanager for Jefferson Lab. "The SNS project was a challenging five-yeareffort that used all of Jefferson Lab's expertise in superconductingradiofrequency technology."
SNS will produce neutrons byaccelerating a pulsed beam of high-energy protons down the 1,000-footlinac, compressing each pulse to high intensity, and delivering them toa liquid mercury target where neutrons are produced in a process called"spallation."
SNS will increase the intensity of pulsed neutronsavailable to researchers nearly tenfold, providing higher qualityimages molecular structures and motion. Together, ORNL's High FluxIsotope Reactor and SNS will represent the world's foremost facilitiesfor neutron scattering, a technique pioneered at ORNL shortly afterWorld War II.
When completed next year, SNS will become theworld's leading research facility for study of the structure anddynamics of materials using neutrons. It will operate as a userfacility that will enable researchers from the United States and abroadto study the science of materials that forms the basis for newtechnologies in telecommunications, manufacturing, transportation,information technology, biotechnology and health.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory is a multiprogram laboratory managed for the Department of Energy by UT-Battelle.
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