The European Commission has agreed EUR 180 million in funds for a new nuclear physics research center to be sited in Romania. Included in the plans is the most powerful laser ever made, which will be housed in a facility in Măgurele (in picture, artist’s impression), a few kilometers south of Bucharest.
“The Extreme Light Infrastructure Nuclear Physics Facility (ELI-NP) will generate laser pulses with up to 10 petawatts (1016 watts) of power,” reads an article published by scientific journal Nature. The laser will allow scientists to study the structure of atoms in greater detail than ever before. “It will allow us to do a new sort of nuclear physics that hasn’t been possible so far,” said project leader Nicolae-Victor Zamfir, director-general of the Horia Hulubei National Institute of Physics and Nuclear Engineering in Măgurele, quoted by Nature. He went on to explain that the laser will be powerful enough disrupt the extremely strong forces between particles in the nuclei of atoms.
According to Nature, 40 research institutions from 13 EU member states have been involved in the planning of the new hi-tech center. “We have very high hopes for the ELI-NP project. Through it, Romania has a chance to put itself firmly on the map of European research, to retain highly-specialized workers – reversing the ‘brain drain’ and attracting new companies to the region,” said Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn after the EUR 180 million in funding was agreed yesterday (September 18 ).
The total cost of the facility is just under EUR 356 million and EU structural funds for Romania are to be used for the project. Romania’s cutting edge nuclear physics research facility should be up and running by 2017.
Read the Nature article.
Liam Lever, firstname.lastname@example.org
picture source: eli-np.ro