The Russian war in Ukraine, which has been long and gruesome, is set to affect major European nations as President Vladimir Putin threatened to halt all energy shipments to the continent. The move will affect science in a big way, especially the European Center for Nuclear Research, also known as the CERN.
The collider is drafting plans to shut down some of its particle accelerators as the energy supply is affected. Officials said that a plan is being readied which will be presented during the forthcoming meeting to the CERN Council to reduce energy consumption and that the Large Hadron Collider may have to be temporarily shut.
“Our concern is really grid stability because we do all we can to prevent a blackout in our region. CERN wants to keep the LHC one of eight accelerators at the complex operating and avoid a sudden shutdown that could disrupt it,” Serge Claudet, chair of CERN’s energy management panel told the Wall Street Journal.
The LHC is a 27-kilometer circular tunnel in which two proton beams are accelerated in opposite directions before they collide. This collision of high-energy beams allows physicists to study the extreme limits of the physical world and in the process discover phenomena never seen before.
The discovery of the “God Particle” was one such event that changed our understanding of the physical world a decade ago.
What’s happening in Europe?
Putin threatened to halt all energy shipments to Europe if Brussels goes ahead with a proposal to cap the price of Russian gas. Putin said in a speech on Wednesday to an economic forum in Russia’s Far East that Moscow would not lose what he calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine.
“We will not supply gas, oil, coal, heating oil – we will not supply anything” if that occurs, he said. Europe usually imports about 40% of its gas and 30% of its oil from Russia. The United States and France say Moscow is already using energy as a “weapon” to weaken Europe’s opposition to its invasion.
The Russian leader charged that Russia will easily find enough customers in Asia to shift its energy exports away from Europe. “The demand is so high on global markets that we won’t have any problem selling it,” he said.