Ian Anderson, Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s neutron sciences chief and director of the Spallation Neutron Source, said lab folks have been in touch with counterparts at the Japan Proton Accelerator Research Complex — reporting some significant problems caused by the massive earthquake there.
“I have just heard that the earthquake that hit Japan this morning, with a magnitude of 8.9, had its epicenter very close to the JPARC complex that I mentioned to you in my last message. We are hearing that some damage has occurred at the spallation neutron source but I have not yet heard how the JRR-3M reactor has fared. In correspondence earlier, our colleagues told me that, for the moment, they are concentrating on their families and homes; fortunately there were no injuries at the facility – the rest is painful and expensive, but can be repaired.
“Initial assessment of the spallation source reports that the target moved by 30 cm (!) and that two annex buildings subsided by about 30 cm. The main target building and instrument shielding seems to be fine. I do not have any information yet about the accelerator. Further assessment of damage will be made over the next few weeks but one can estimate a recovery period of several months. We have offered help to them as they go through what is likely to be a very difficult recovery period.
“For the moment let’s be thankful that they and their families are safe.”