Anticipating delays with the multi-billion-dollar International Linear Collider, Fermilab wants to get started on R&D for a new $500 million–$1 billion accelerator so as to be poised to forge ahead with it if indeed the bigger project is held up.

The ILC—an electron–positron collider that would succeed the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), which is set to come on line next year at CERN—is the priority, says Fermilab director Pier Oddone. “Our goal is to host the ILC, and we would like to see that move along and be decided as expeditiously as possible.” But, he adds, Fermilab is likely to shut down the Tevatron at the end of 2009, so if a decision is not reached to build the ILC soon after that, “the lab is in a peculiar position. And if you look at any historical international agreement, like ITER [the international thermonuclear energy reactor], it took many years...

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