GENEVA, Sept 20 (Xinhua) — The atom-smasher designed to probe into the origins of the universe was forced to shut down for two months after a helium leak, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) said Saturday.
Preliminary investigation showed that the possible cause of Friday’s helium leak into the tunnel on the Swiss-French border, where the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) machine was located, is a faulty electrical connection between two magnets.
“A full investigation is underway but it is already clear that the sector will have to be warmed up for repairs to take place. This implies a minimum of two months down time,” said CERN.
“Strict safety regulations ensured that at no time was there any risk to people,” it said.
The atom-smashing machine, which began its operation last Wednesday under minus 271.3 degrees Celsius, was built to simulate the conditions of the “Big Bang” that recreated the universe.