In an e-mail message to JLab's Hall B collaboration, Hall B Leader Volker Burkert, wrote:
As you probably know, the Newport News area was quite hard hit by hurricane Isabel. While the laboratory is open again many people at home are still without electricity, some have no telephone connections, and others have severe damages to their homes. The impact of the storm on the laboratory's schedule is not fully known at this point, however, the (superconducting) accelerator cavities are all warmed up to room temperature. The Lab director instructed us that safety has the highest priority in the recovery effort, not the run schedule.
Fortunately, 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.
Getting the accelerator back on line could easily take one month or more. This is in addition to a two weeks delay that had already accumulated prior to Isabel due to system failures, and the preparation for Isabel, among other things. As a consequence, the run schedule will definitely be delayed by many weeks. For Hall B this means that the DVCS test run and the continuation of the eg2 run group will be delayed significantly. Most likely these delays will be accommodated by a shift in the entire experiment schedule.
While these are unfortunate consequences for the experimental program, it gives us the opportunity to work more on the full restoration of the operational performance of the drift chambers. In this area we have some good news to report. A series of studies done by the drift chamber crew and others strongly hint at humidity in the drift chamber gas volume as the major culprit of the increased dark current that has been observed in several chamber areas over the past weeks and months. If this is confirmed in further tests, we may be able to devise a strategy on how to prevent this from happening in the future.
Please contact me if you need further information.
With best regards,
Submitted: Saturday, November 1, 2003 - 2:00pm
12000 Jefferson Avenue, Newport News,VA 23606 • Phone: (757) 269-7100 Fax: (757) 267-7363
Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility is managed by Jefferson Science Associates, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy