DG's Corner

Damage caused by the recent earthquake and recovery prospects

09 May 2011

Atsuto Suzuki
Director General

First of all, I would like to express my deepest appreciation for the messages of concern, sympathy and encouragement that we received from all over the world since the major earthquake of March 11th. We are working to restore KEK as quickly as possible to its original condition so it can once again function as the exceptional research facility it was hitherto. Your messages do help a great deal in this difficult time.

Both the KEK-Tsukuba and KEK-Tokai (J-PARC) sites experienced tremors exceeding 6 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale, even though we are some 300 km away from the epicenter. This has caused a significant amount of damage to both facilities.
In the Tsukuba-campus, components of accelerators, detectors and peripheral became detached and fell to the ground or collided with each other. Infrastructures such as the substation to receive and distribute electric power from outside, water reservoir tanks and campus roads were also damaged. Their functions have already been partially restored with quick-fix repairs. The tsunami did not affect J-PARC although it did penetrate somewhat beyond the beach area. However, there is serious subsidence and cracks have appeared in the surrounding roads, with a partial collapse of the accelerator/detector buildings. Fortunately, there has been no observed serious damage to the accelerator and detector devices located underground. The status of the damage based on visual inspections and an operational check with electric power supplied to the device is shown in the following map and PDF files:
  * Damage status map
  * Damage Report of KEK (PDF: 7.7MB)
  * Damage Report of J-PARC (PDF: 664KB)

As of now, our highest priority is the restoration of both campuses so that they can resume scientific activities as the Japanese Inter-University Research Institute Corporation and one of the world’s leading accelerator-science research laboratories. In Tsukuba, restoration work on the Linac and two photon factory facilities is planned during May and June. It is our hope that from Fall we can begin some degree of normal operation and conduct experiments in parallel with making adjustments to the accelerators. We are making concerted efforts to ensure that construction of SuperKEKB remains on schedule. The fact that there is only minor damage to KEKB/Belle gives us some confidence that this promise should be fulfilled. Activities related to international collaboration on the advanced accelerator technologies of International Linear Collider (ILC) and Energy Recovery Linac (ERL) will resume sometime this month (May). In J-PARC, damage evaluation and repair/reconstruction of accelerators, detectors, buildings and equipment will be completed by December at the latest. At that point, commissioning for all systems will take place. The recovery schedules for Tsukuba and Tokai are shown below.

Thanks to your strong and continuous encouragement, we are moving from the inspection phase to the recovery phase. All the KEK staff are maintaining their tenacious efforts not just to restore KEK, but to create a new KEK. Once again, I would like to thank you for your support.


DG's Corner  archive