MOSCOW, Aug. 8 (UPI) -- Germany, Bulgaria and three former Soviet republics say they have agreed to help Russia construct a heavy-ion collider in a Moscow suburb.
The parties signed a letter of intent Thursday to cooperate on building the collider, planned for 2017, on the premises of the already existing Nuclotron particle accelerator in the town of Dubna, RIA Novosti reported.
The collider is intended to accelerate and collide protons and relatively heavy ions such as gold to study a recently discovered phase of matter, a plasma of fundamental particles quarks and gluons, officials said.
The collider, dubbed NICA (Nuclotron-based Ion Collider fAcility), will involve scientists equipment and financing from Belarus, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Bulgaria and Germany, Viktor Matveyev, director of Russia's Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, said.
The new collider would be housed in the institute, he said.
The letter of intent "is a formal expression of interest of these countries in working out legal, organizational, scientific and financial issues that must be resolved to ensure the participation of these countries in the implementation of the NICA megaproject," Matveyev said.