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Reinforced Cooperation of Partners in the Future European Source for ESS Neutrons (Lund, Sweden)

​The European Spallation Source (ESS), the world's most powerful source of neutrons, has created a legal structure for itself so as to facilitate cooperation between its 15 European partners. As part of France's commitment to the project, the CNRS and the CEA are participating in its construction. When the accelerator is completed in 2019 it will start production of the first neutron beams.

Published on 8 September 2015

​The European Commission took the decision to set up a 'European Research Infrastructure Consortium' (ERIC) ESS, that will give the ESS a legal structure to facilitate cooperation between the operating bodies in the partner countries. The consortium was officially inaugurated on 8 September 2015.

This very large international instrument, whose construction was launched in Lund (Sweden) last October, is designed to offer neutron beams for fundamental research and applied research.

The creation of ERIC ESS changes the operational governance of the project that was initially based on a Swedish operator (ESS AB) under the auspices of the Swedish and Danish governments. It more fully involves operators from the fifteen countries who are partners in the project. The infrastructure and staff (of 40 different nationalities) of ESS AB will be transferred to the new establishment on 1st October 2015.

The French contribution to ESS

Fifteen European nations have been involved in the construction of ESS, in the accelerator, the target and the associated instruments. France, as one of the major players in the project, planned to participate through making essentially contributions in kind through the CNRS and the CEA.

The French contribution, assigned to the CEA and the CNRS by the Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research, concerns a fundamental part of the high-powered accelerator that will provide the protons used to produce the neutrons through spallation reaction, as well as the participation of four of the sixteen instruments planned for start-up of the facility in order to perform neutron diffusion experiments.

The Orsay Nuclear Physics Institute (IPN Orsay, CNRS/Université Paris-Sud) and the Institute for Researching the Fundamental Laws of the Universe (CEA Irfu) will participate in the design and construction of several phases of the proton linear accelerator project.

The CEA Irfu and the IPN d'Orsay will control the entire engineering chain for the design and development of supraconductor cavities and their cryo-modules. They have available the necessary technical infrastructure for creating the equipment, especially the white rooms for assembling the cavities. The manufacture as well as the assembly of supraconductor cavities for a particle accelerator are delicate operations. The tiniest speck of dust could ruin performance.

The IPN Orsay has studied the components (supraconductor cavities of the "spoke" type, power couplers, tuning systems, etc.) and will supply them from the intermediate energy section of the linear accelerator. It will also participate in the design and prototyping of the elliptical cryomodules of the two high energy sections.

Physicists attached to the CNRS and the CEA will also be involved in the construction and operation of high-performance scientific instruments for ESS. The CNRS, CEA and university research teams have been working for many years to develop a strong culture in this area, thanks to the national source (the Orpheus reactor) from the Léon Brillouin Laboratory (CNRS/CEA Iramis) and participation in the Laue Langevin Institute in Grenoble.

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