CERN reiterates safety of LHC on eve of first beam


Geneva, 5 September 2008. A report published today in the peer reviewed Journal of Physics G: Nuclear and Particle Physics* provides comprehensive evidence that safety fears about the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) are unfounded. The LHC is CERN**’s new flagship research facility. As the world’s highest energy particle accelerator, it is poised to provide new insights into the mysteries of our universe.

“The LHC will enable us to study in detail what nature is doing all around us,” said CERN Director General Robert Aymar. “The LHC is safe, and any suggestion that it might present a risk is pure fiction.”

Safety has been an integral part of the LHC project since its inception in 1994, and the project has been subject to numerous audits covering all aspects of safety and environmental impact. A comprehensive report by independent scientists addressing safety issues related to the production of new particles at the LHC was presented to CERN’s governing body, the CERN Council, in 2003. It concluded that the LHC is safe. This report was updated and its conclusions strengthened in a new report incorporating recent experimental and observational data that was presented to Council at its most recent meeting in June 2008. This new report confirms and strengthens the conclusion of the 2003 report that there is no basis for any concern about the safety of the LHC. The CERN Council is composed of representatives of the governments of the 20 European Member States of CERN.

The report was prepared by a group of scientists at CERN, the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the Institute for Nuclear Research of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The papers comprising the report have been accepted for publication in leading peer-reviewed scientific journals. The report was reviewed carefully by the Scientific Policy Committee (SPC), a body composed of 20 independent external scientists that advises the CERN Council on scientific matters. Five of these independent scientists, including one Nobel Laureate, examined in detail the 2008 report and endorsed the authors’ approach of basing their arguments on irrefutable observational evidence to conclude that new particles produced at the LHC will pose no danger. The full SPC agreed unanimously with their findings.

“The LHC safety review has shown that the LHC is perfectly safe,” said Jos Engelen, CERN’s Chief Scientific Officer, “it points out that Nature has already conducted the equivalent of about a hundred thousand LHC experimental programmes on Earth – and the planet still exists.”

Notes for Editor:

* Journal of Physics G: Nuclear and Particle Physics, published by IOP Publishing, covers theoretical and experimental topics in the physics of elementary particles and fields, intermediate-energy physics and nuclear physics. For further information please visit The LHC safety report "Review of the Safety of LHC Collisions" (J. Ellis et al, 2008 J. Phys. G: Nucl. Part. Phys. 35 1150004) is available online.

** CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is the world’s leading laboratory for particle physics. It has its headquarters in Geneva. At present, its Member States are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. India, Israel, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United States of America, Turkey, the European Commission and UNESCO have Observer status.