Location for New Research Facility Determined
X-ray laser XFEL to be realized in the federal states of Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein starting in 2006
Construction of the European X-ray laser project (XFEL*), which had been approved by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) on February 5, 2003 is to start in 2006. The site for the XFEL has now been determined by the research center DESY (Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron); it was announced today at a press conference in Hamburg. The 3.3-kilometer-long facility is to be located in the federal states of Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein. It will begin on the DESY site in Hamburg-Bahrenfeld and run in a north-western direction to the town of Schenefeld (district of Pinneberg), which borders on Hamburg. Here, the experimental hall with its ten measuring stations is to be erected. This site is large enough to accommodate a second experimental hall of the same size, which could be constructed at a later date beside the first hall. According to current planning, the commissioning of this facility for basic scientific research – which will be unique in Europe – will start in 2012. – The site planning for the project for particle physics TESLA**, on which no decision has been taken yet, remains unaltered by these plans.
On February 5, 2003, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) decided that DESY should realize the X-ray free-electron laser (XFEL) as a European project. The ministry also announced that in view of the locational advantage, Germany is prepared to cover half of the investment costs for the XFEL. (The investment costs amount to € 673 million, the estimates being based on price levels in the year 2000). At the same time, a decision was postponed on the TESLA project. It was thus clear that the X-ray laser and TESLA could not be realized on the same time scale, as had been planned originally. This also implied that the intended scientific and economic synergy effects between these two projects, which had required the original location for the X-ray laser to lie around 20 kilometers away from DESY, ceased to apply. DESY therefore decided to look for a new site with a strong connection to DESY which would offer corresponding synergy effects. “We are pleased that we have found an ideally suited location for the new XFEL in the vicinity of DESY,” said Professor Dr. Albrecht Wagner, Chairman of the DESY Directorate. “No new plots of land will have to be bought for the supply buildings, we can erect them on the DESY site. In addition, we can use parts of the existing infrastructure. Looking far into the future, one could think of connecting the linear accelerator of the X-ray laser with particle accelerators already existing on the DESY site in order to open up new opportunities for science.” Until the end of 2004, the negotiations on the funding and participation in the X-ray laser project will be carried on on the national and European level. In parallel, DESY will prepare the detailed planning documents required to apply for the Planfeststellungsverfahren – the procedure of the official approval of a plan. According to current planning, the ground-breaking ceremony for the facility could take place in the first half of 2006.