CERN reveals plans to build 90-kilometre-long collider beneath Geneva

CERN reveals plans to build 90-kilometre-long collider beneath Geneva

Not long after announcing its extensive 70th anniversary plans, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) has unveiled more details about a new dramatic expansion plan, set to be built beneath Geneva and France. Under the plans, a new 90-kilometre-long particle accelerator will be built to help the organisation remain at the forefront of invention and discovery. 

CERN to build new massive particle accelerator beneath Geneva

In a report unveiled on February 5, CERN confirmed that it was looking to build an even bigger particle accelerator beneath Geneva, the lake, nearby mountains and France. Called the “Future Circular Collider" or FCC, the 5,5 metre-wide tube will run in a 90,7 kilometre-long ring around the city.

This would be a massive expansion compared to the already built Large Hadron Collider, which only comes in at 26,66 kilometres long. Alongside the tunnel, eight surface locations will also be built - four in France and four in Switzerland - to house the equipment needed to measure the accelerator. Two of these facilities will be 66 metres deep, in order to house the colliders’ particle detectors. Here's a 2019 plan of where the collider will be built: 

What are particle accelerators and why do we need them?

Much like the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the FCC will be used to smash particles together at mind-boggling speeds. When particles collide in this manner, they reveal hidden properties and characteristics that further our understanding of the universe and dark matter. Most famously, the LHC made it possible to identify the Higgs boson or “God particle” in 2012.

So why build a new collider? CERN explained that the FCC will be able to collide particles faster than ever before. The final goal is for the project to produce the power of 100 billion-billion electronvolts or (TEV), far ahead of the Large Hadron Collider’s record of 13,6 TEV. This will allow CERN to “study the properties of matter at the smallest scale and at the highest energy.”

According to RTS, the project is due to cost CERN 15 billion francs over its lifetime. Current plans have construction beginning in 2033, with the first tests on the system expected in 2050.

Thumb image credit: D-VISIONS /

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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