Jefferson Lab Begins Awarding Contracts For Construction of $310 Million Upgrade

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility has awarded three contracts as part of a $310 million upgrade project that will provide an international community of physicists with a cutting-edge facility for studying the basic building blocks of the visible universe.

The lab awarded a contract worth $1.5 million to Ritchie-Curbow Construction Co. of Newport News for the construction of an addition to its Central Helium Liquefier building. The expanded building will house much of the equipment necessary to double the refrigeration for the upgraded electron accelerator.

Two additional contracts have been awarded to vendors from Japan and Germany for materials required for the construction of particle detectors and related electronics for Hall D, a new experimental hall that will be constructed under the 12 GeV Upgrade Project.

A contract worth $3.3 million was awarded to Kuraray Co. of Japan for nearly 2,000 miles of plastic scintillation fibers for a barrel calorimeter which is the largest detector planned for Hall D.
The calorimeter will be 13 feet long, 6 feet in outer diameter and weigh more than 30 tons. It will detect and measure the positions and energies of photons produced in experiments. Its precision will allow physicists to reconstruct the details of individual particle's properties, motion and decay. Precise timing information on charged particles collected by the barrel calorimeter also will allow physicists to identify particles that have gone undetected (i.e. missing energies).

The final contract was awarded to Acam-Messelectronic GmbH of Germany, for 1,440 ultra-precise integrated time-to-digital converters needed to read out the signals from particles in the Hall D experiments. The contract is valued at about $200,000.

The contracts are the first to be awarded since Jefferson Lab received approval in September to start construction of the 12 GeV Upgrade Project. Under the project, funded by the Office of Nuclear Physics within the DOE Office of Science, the lab will double the energy of its accelerated electron beam from 6 billion electron volts (GeV) to 12 GeV and upgrade the equipment in its three existing experimental halls, as well as construct the new Hall D.

A contract for the construction of Hall D, worth in excess of $10 million, is now under review by DOE and is expected to be awarded in early 2009. The contract will fund the three-year effort to build the lab’s fourth experimental hall.

Jefferson Lab is a world-leading nuclear physics research laboratory devoted to the study of the building blocks of matter – quarks and gluons. The 12 GeV upgrade will enable scientists to address one of the great mysteries of modern physics: Why are there no single quarks?


Media Contact: Dean Golembeski, Jefferson Lab Public Affairs, 757-269-7689 or


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