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Fire shuts down Stanford particle accelerator

Two labs were idled by a fire in a high-voltage electrical switchboard at Stanford University's particle accelerator.
By Frances Burns   |   June 26, 2014 at 6:24 PM   |   Comments

MENLO PARK, Calif., June 26 (UPI) -- A small fire at the National Accelerator Laboratory at Stanford University in California has idled the world's longest particle accelerator.

The two-alarm blaze Wednesday night was extinguished within minutes, Division Chief Frank Fraone of the Menlo Park Fire Protection District told the Los Angeles Times. But the fire has had a big effect at Stanford, idling researchers at labs in high-level atomic research.

"We are hoping to have the accelerator back up and running soon," said Andrew Gordon, a laboratory spokesman.

Fraone said the fire was confined to a high-voltage electrical switchboard. Because scientists were at work in the building, it was only partly evacuated.

The cause was believed to be an electrical problem.

The lab is one of 10 operated by the U.S. Department of Energy. Six Nobel Prizes have been awarded for work done there since it opened in 1962.

The accelerator, almost two miles long, speeds sub-atomic particles to almost the speed of light.

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