The Tech Herald

Large Hadron Collider suffers yet another power outage

by Stevie Smith - Dec 3 2009, 11:25

It works! It doesn't work! It works! It doesn't work! Image: CERN.

Those pesky time-travelling particles are at it again. Bizarre fear-mongering conspiracy theories aside, CERN scientists working on the controversial Large Hadron Collider (LHC) are on the back foot again after the world’s largest particle accelerator suffered yet another power failure.

Following a similar power outage in November, which was supposedly caused by a bird inadvertently dropping a piece of bread into a surface substation, the latest electrical problem has been traced to faulty cable insulation that tripped the collider’s 18-kilovolt circuit breaker.

Luckily for scientists attending the collider at the CERN facility outside Geneva, the power loss was rectified within a matter of hours and had no significant effect on operations, according to a CERN spokesperson.

However, while the LHC’s recently repaired superconducting magnets and cooling system were unaffected by the problem, CERN’s main computer hardware was knocked offline for a short period of time, as was the beam injection system responsible for distributing the accelerator’s all-important protons.

News of the temporary setback comes after the LHC established itself as the world’s highest energy particle accelerator on Monday, setting a new record for power usage when it pushed its twin proton beams around the giant 27km machine at some 1.18 trillion electron volts (TeVs).

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