Community, JLab recovering from effects of Hurricane Isabel

The Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, in Newport News, Va., survived Hurricane Isabel's onslaught with no major structural damage. However, widespread loss of electricity and the extended power outage in the area resulted in the shutdown of Jefferson Lab's Central Helium Liquefier - the refrigeration plant needed to run Jefferson Lab's superconducting accelerator.

Laboratory management have assessed the loss of JLab's helium supply (refrigerant) and determined that it will take approximately one month to get the accelerator up and running once again.

Specialists are inspecting all areas of the accelerator and the Lab's three experimental halls. "We suffered a great deal of landscaping damage," notes JLab's public affairs manager, Linda Ware. "However, at this point it appears that the main buildings, the accelerator and the three halls all weathered the storm fairly well.

"We are open for business," she adds. "The accelerator was in the middle of a month-long down (maintenance period). It wasn't scheduled to be running for several more weeks. There will be a delay to the start of the next round of planned experiments."

Hall C Leader, Rolf Ent, said, "Hall C came through the hurricane essentially unharmed. Due to the delay in cryogenics delivery, the cool down of the G0 superconducting magnet is temporarily on hold. Further installation of G0 equipment proceeds, and plans for proactive maintenance are planned to make good use of the unexpected down time."

Hall B Leader, Volker Burkert, reiterated Ent's message that Hall B made it through the storm safely, and that there would be a delay in the accelerator start up.

"Fortunately," Burkert added, "no damage was done to the experimental areas, which were secured before the storm by the hard work of the technical teams and physicists responsible for detector systems."

Jefferson Lab's campus electricity came back Saturday after losing it on Thursday (Sept. 18) during the storm; and current flowed to the accelerator site on Sunday evening. The Lab's superconducting radiofrequency cryomodules are at 250 - 300 Kelvin (-9.67 to 80.33°F). It will take at least a month to restore the Central Helium Liquifier, pump out the vacuum spaces in each cryomodule, and cool the system back down. Systems work is underway.

There was minimal physical damage to the campus and accelerator site. Trees came down on an office trailer and an accelerator service building. Work to secure those areas is underway. The Lab, like our community, will be dealing with the effects of Hurricane Isabel for weeks and possibly months to come.

Messages from Lab Management:

From SURA President Jerry Draayer
Larry Cardman to the Users Group Community
Volker Burkert to the Hall B Collaboration

Continuing information on dealing with the damage caused by Hurricane Isabel can be found on the Facilities Management website.