Page last updated at 22:43 GMT, Monday, 9 February 2009

Hadron Collider relaunch delayed

The Large Hadron Collider (Cern/M. Hoch)
The LHC suffered a malfunction just nine days after it was switched on

The Large Hadron Collider could be switched back on in September - a year after it shut down due to a malfunction and several months later than expected.

Scientists had said they expected the £3.6bn ($5.4bn) machine to be repaired by November, but then pushed the date back to June, before the latest delay.

The LHC was built to smash protons together at huge speeds, recreating conditions moments after the Big Bang.

The fault occurred just nine days after it was turned on last September.

The European Organization for Nuclear Research (Cern) said: "The new schedule foresees first beams in the LHC at the end of September this year, with collisions following in late October."

Repairs

An investigation into the LHC's problems concluded the initial malfunction was caused by a faulty electrical connection between two of the accelerator's magnets.

Cern said that as a result, 53 magnet units would have to be removed from the LHC's tunnel to be cleaned or repaired.

Cern had also said new protection systems would be added as part of £14m repairs.

It blamed the shutdown on the failure of a single, badly soldered electrical connection in one of its super-cooled magnet sections.



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