20 May 2014

 SESAME moving back on track after collapse of roof caused by unprecedented snow, with a big boost from additional Italian funding

The 24th meeting of the SESAME Council was held on the premises of the Laboratori Nazionali di Frascati (LNF) in Frascati (Italy) on 12-13 May 2014. This was the first Council meeting to be held after the collapse, on 14 December 2013, of the roof of SESAME’s experimental hall caused by unprecedented heavy snowfalls.

Unfortunate though this incident may have been, it was clear from the meeting that this did not result in substantial delays in the construction of SESAME.

Indeed, although time since the collapse of the roof had to be spent on identifying the exact damage, drawing up clear plans for dismantling the roof, designing and constructing a new one, and putting in place experts (both in Jordan and on the international stage) for the detailed review and supervision of the same, as well as reaching an agreement with the contractor for a time schedule for the necessary work and having a method statement prepared by him, there was no major delay in progress in the construction of SESAME. During this time, dismantling of the roof was completed as was procurement for the storage ring vacuum chambers, construction of the vacuum chambers was started and so was procurement for the storage ring girders, a company was selected for the manufacture of three 80 kW 500 MHz solid state amplifiers, procurement for the magnetic system for the storage ring reached an advanced stage, and a first turn was injected into the booster, which is expected to be commissioned later in the year.
During the meeting in Frascati an agreement was signed between Elettra-Sincrotrone Trieste S.C.p.A., SESAME and the Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN) to establish scientific-technical collaboration between the three research institutions for the joint development of the RF (radio frequency) cavities needed for SESAME’s storage ring. The agreement will allow SESAME to benefit from the Italian institutions’ expertise in accelerator physics, as well as financial support from Italy - through INFN, the Ministry of Education, University and Research is providing €1 million from its 2013 budget towards the construction of SESAME. In his statement at the meeting, Professor Marco Mancini, Head of the Department for Higher Education and Research representing the Minister of Education, University and Research, informed delegates that Italy will be providing a further €1 million in 2014, and this could possibly be repeated in the future.

The term of office as co-Vice Presidents of the SESAME Council of Professor Seyed Mahmoud Reza Aghamiri (Iran) and Professor Mohamed Tarek Hussein (Egypt) came to an end at the Council meeting and the two positions have been filled by Professor Kamal Araj (Jordan) and Professor Eliezer Rabinovici (Israel).

Contact: Clarissa Formosa-Gauci, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  


  1. The Council is the governing body of SESAME. The Members are currently Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Pakistan, the Palestinian Authority and Turkey (others are being sought). Brazil, China, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Portugal, the Russian Federation, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, and the USA are Observers.
  2. On 14 December 2013, the steel roof of SESAME’s experimental hall caved in following unusually severe snowstorms that started on the evening of 11 December and continued uninterrupted until the night of 14 December, with intermittent rain and sleet. Two independent reports, one by an international committee (consisting of two experts from CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research), one from Elettra Sincrotrone Trieste S.C.p.A and one from PSI (Paul Scherrer Institute)) and a second by a Jordanian committee (consisting of two experts from the University of Jordan and two from construction companies in Jordan), both concluded that the roof collapsed due to the snow load which caused failure of the gusset plates that led to severe deformation of the main truss. The collapse of the roof did not cause great disruption in SESAME’s work, and the staff only needed to be absent from SESAME’s premises for two weeks. During this time they carried out their duties elsewhere.’s-experimental-hall.html
  3. On 20 April 2014, an agreement was signed with the contractor for removal of the collapsed roof and its replacement by a new one with a different design. The crane in the experimental hall for removal of sections of the roof of the shielding wall when this is needed to install or remove magnets, girders and other heavy objects inside the shielded area is also to be replaced. Two experts from the SESAME side (one from PSI and one from Elettra) will review and validate the new design of the roof, including the shop drawings. Construction of the roof will be under the engineering supervision, quality assurance and quality control of SESAME. During the first two weeks of May 2014, the steel structure of the roof was fully dismantled and from 10-15 May the SESAME staff worked from the premises of IMAN 1, which is connected to the SESAME server, and from where they were able to access their e-mails and, when needed, have remote access to their office computers The new roof will be fully installed by 20 October 2014 at the latest. There will be a 10-year warranty starting from the date that the roof is formally handed over to SESAME.
  4. The EC is providing €5 million to fund construction of the magnets for SESAME’s new storage ring, which is being led by CERN with support from SESAME. This brings to over $10 million the support provided for SESAME by the EC. Procurement for the magnetic system is being carried out in countries of the EC and the Members of SESAME among which Cyprus, Pakistan and Turkey.
  5. The booster provides the second stage of acceleration, after which the electron beam is extracted and transferred via a magnetic structure to the main storage ring (in the case of SESAME a completely new 2.5 GeV storage ring). SESAME’s booster synchrotron will eventually accelerate the electron beam to an energy of 800 MeV.
  6. Italy has been involved in SESAME ever since the inception of the project. It obtained official observer status in December 2004. In addition to the €1 million it is providing from its 2013 budget towards the construction of SESAME and future funding, it has provided in-kind support (training and equipment). SESAME’s second Technical Director, Gaetano Vignola, the builder of the particle collider of INFN in 1987 and former project leader for the DAFNE particle accelerator at the Frascati laboratory, was Italian, and so is the Centre’s current Scientific Director, Giorgio Paolucci, who since 2011 has been responsible for the international projects and user programmes at the Elettra Sincrotrone Trieste S.C.p.A. and a member of the laboratory’s Strategic Committee.
  7. Co-Vice Presidents of the SESAME Council are serving for two years. Nominations are being made on a rotational basis in the alphabetical order of the Members’ name.

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