1. HRIBF Update and Near-Term
(J. R. Beene)
Fiscal 2006 will be a good year to get behind us. The combination of large budget cuts (~7%) and substantial increases in costs, led by a sharp jump in power costs, have been extremely difficult to deal with. Of course, the effort to operate the facility while getting the HPTL project completed and getting the IRIS2 project underway has added to the difficulty. On top of these challenges, we spent a major part of the period covered by this Newsletter on badly-needed improvements to the rf system. The development and implementation of a new driver amplifier system is discussed under Accelerator Systems Status. We expect this effort, together with the replacement of the plate capacitors by a new system based on more resilient ceramic capacitors, will result in a substantially more reliable, and more easily maintained and operated rf system. This should, in turn, lead to more reliable ORIC operation.
One of the most disappointing aspects of our financial difficulties in FY2006 has been the loss of four junior research staff members in our ISOL R&D program, whom we will not be able to replace until our financial status improves. This is a significant blow to a group that has clearly demonstrated itself to be world class. Nevertheless, even with a much reduced staff this program continues to produce important and innovative results, as illustrated by the report in under RIB Development.
DOE Office of Nuclear Physics convened a science and technology review of the HRIBF in June, 2006. A report on the review is provided later in this Newsletter by Glenn Young. I will not duplicate that information here but will merely note that the review and its final report were positive and will be helpful to the facility. We especially welcome the recommendation that a peer review of our plans for a driver upgrade be convened during this calendar year.
Operation under a continuing resolution at FY2006 budget levels seems to be a near certainty for the early months of FY2007. We certainly hope a budget will be adopted early in the year. The President's Budget Request is very favorable for HRIBF, and for nuclear physics as a whole.
We plan to continue the neutron-rich campaign which is now underway, through October. This will be followed by a scheduled shutdown for maintenance, including a tandem tank opening, in early November. RIB production R&D will be carried out during part of the shutdown, using ORIC and the HPTL. The tank opening is currently scheduled to end in early January. After a brief period of low voltage stable-beam operation, we will launch a ~15 week neutron-rich RIB campaign, followed by a radioactive fluorine campaign beginning in the spring. These plans, particularly the neutron-rich RIB campaign in the latter months of FY2006, and early FY2007 could be curtailed by lack of operating funds if the continuing resolution lasts for an extended time. Our reserve funds are completely depleted by the financial rigors of FY2006. If the President's Budget Request (or something close to it) is enacted in a timely manner, we will have the opportunity to demonstrate that the improvements we have made, along with adequate operating funds, can lead to a much improved radioactive ion beam production at the HRIBF.