Feasibility Study for the Future Circular Collider reaches its mid-point

CERN’s main facility, the LHC, will complete its mission around 2040, and the international particle physics community is already working on various options for the design of the accelerator that could succeed it - the Future Circular Collider (FCC).

The FCC Feasibility Study started in 2020, and the investigations on the ground got under way in 2023. In February 2024, the Study reached its mid-point. Set to conclude in 2025, the Study is investigating the technical and financial viability of the FCC at CERN, including its geological feasibility and environmental impact, as well as the required infrastructures and civil engineering, and the design of the detectors; it also included R&D on the technologies needed to ensure the efficiency and sustainability of the proposed collider.

CERN invited local communities to a public meeting dedicated to the Feasibility Study on 24 April 2024. More information here

Detailed information about the FCC study is available in our explainer "Future Circular Collider Study". 

The Future Circular Collider in brief

Exploring concepts and technologies for the next generation of powerful particle colliders

A 91-kilometre ring-shaped underground tunnel located beneath France and Switzerland

An average depth of 200 metres and eight surface sites for up to four experiments. 

Start of operations anticipated in the mid-2040s, and a research programme spanning more than 70 years, until the end of the 21st century

Two phases: an electron-positron collider (FCC-ee) that would provide unprecedented precision measurements and potentially point the way to physics beyond the Standard Model and a proton-proton collider (FCC-hh) reaching energies up to eight times those of the LHC and offering new discovery potential

More than 150 institutes in over 30 countries form the global FCC collaboration, while new partners are still being sought to work on research and development

15 billion CHF for the construction of the FCC-ee and its four experiments, spread over 15 years 

What is the tentative timeline?

Paving the way for fundamental research in particle physics until the end of the 21st century

●    2025: Completion of the FCC Feasibility Study 
●    Around 2027-2028: Decision by the CERN Member States and international partners
●    2030s: Start of construction
●    Mid-2040s: FCC-ee begins operations and runs for approximately 15 years
●    2070s: FCC-hh begins operations and runs for approximately 25 years 

For context,the physics case for the LHC was made in 1984, it then took some 10 years to be approved and 25 years for the magnets to be developed and installed. Colliders are once-in-a-generation endeavours. 

A commitment to sustainable research

Probing ways to minimise and compensate for the impact

Civil engineering: the “Mining the Future” competition identified credible and innovative ways to reuse part of the excavated material. The next step is the implementation of a pilot “Open Sky Laboratory allowing these techniques to be demonstrated

Power: Thanks to the ongoing R&D efforts the FCC-ee power consumption is expected to be 30%-40% lower than if current technologies were used. The FCC Study team is also working with regional authorities to identify ways in which part of this energy could be re-used for heating in local industries and public infrastructures. 

Water: A thorough assessment revealed that the maximum water requirement during the operation of the FCC-ee at the top threshold of 350 GeV can be lowered to below 3 million m3 per year, which approximately corresponds to the current water requirement for the LHC. 

Territorial anchoring of the project

Building on 70 years of presence in the local area

A thoroughly thought-out configuration: selected from some 100 variants, the selected placement of the FCC tunnel has reduced the surface area required from 110 ha initially to about 40 ha net, i.e. a reduction of more than 60%. 

Return on investment, for the local area, and for the world: beyond the creation of new knowledge, studies show that the FCC would deliver benefits that outweigh its cost. The benefit/cost ratio is estimated to be 1.66. The FCC project is linked to the creation of around 800 000 person-years of jobs, according to the mid-term review, and it is estimated that the FCC-ee scientific programme will generate an overall local economic impact of more than €4 billion. More information here. 

Engaging in dialogue with the local communities: CERN has already invited the general public to a public meeting on the 24 April, and this first event will be followed by similar public meetings in the local area. 

Press contact:
CERN Press office