Support of the LLB-ORPHEE (France)

Alain Menelle menl at
Wed Mar 29 19:38:31 CST 2000

Dear Colleague,

As you probably know, the LLB-ORPHEE neutron facility is in a very 
preoccupying situation. The parent organisations (Commissariat à 
l'Energie Atomique and Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique) 
have not reached any agreement concerning the renewal of the 
Convention which expired on December 31, 1999.  The problems are 
essentially budgetary and are a consequence of the restrictions 
imposed by the French Ministry of Research and Technology relative to 
the financing of large scale installations (problems also exist with 
the proposed synchrotron SOLEIL and the LURE and GANIL facilities).

We ask the national and international community of neutron users to 
support us in our efforts to re-establish adequate long term funding 
for LLB-ORPHEE. We believe that in addition to the European neutron 
source at the ILL, there is need in France for a modern and high 
performance national neutron source as is the case in Germany 
(Berlin, Jülich, Geesthacht and soon also Munich) and the UK (ISIS). 
A number of different independent select committees have also reached 
this conclusion.

If you wish to support the LLB-ORPHEE facility, please would you send 
us by e-mail the text of the letter of support or alternatively the 
message "I wish to sign the letter of support concerning LLB-ORPHEE". 
Please send your reply to:

          soutien at

and include, within square brackets, your signature:
   [Surname, First name, Laboratory, Address ]

The members of LLB-ORPHEE thank you for your support.
Alain Menelle	                l                  bat 563 piece 328
Laboratoire Leon Brillouin      l            Tel1:(33)
CEA Saclay                      l            Fax: (33)
91191 Gif-sur-Yvette Cedex      l             menl at
France                          l

Letter in support of the LLB-ORPHEE neutron facility.

Following the denunciation of the convention between the CEA 
(Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique) and the CNRS (Centre National de 
la Recherche Scientifique) in December 1996 and three years of 
procrastination, the situation at the LLB-ORPHEE neutron facility is 
still completely blocked. The project for a new Convention, 
elaborated during seven rounds of negotiations between the CEA and 
the CNRS, remained non-ratified at the last meeting of the Council of 
Directors on December 20, 1999. Furthermore, the budgetary 
restrictions imposed by the Ministry of Research and Technology 
obliged the CNRS to announce a 30% reduction in its contribution for 
the year 2000. This reduction was finally cancelled but the future of 
the facility remains very uncertain.

As a user of neutron sources for my research, I consider this 
situation to be unacceptable. A facility like LLB-ORPHEE requires 
long term support to develop large scale instrumental projects, to 
stimulate collaborations and to establish the national and 
international partnerships which, we are reminded, are necessary for 
the sound financing of such a facility.

The LLB-ORPHEE facility offers a modern, secure and high performance 
neutron source. The multidisciplinary scientific activity developed 
there has received very positive assessments from several advisory 
committees, as well as from the four sections of the "Comite National 
de la Recherche Scientifique" in charge of evaluating its activity. 
It has been clearly demonstrated that the needs of the French neutron 
community concerning experimental beam time, the training of users 
and instrument development cannot be covered by the European ILL 
source alone.

The total annual budget of LLB-ORPHEE (including salaries) is 135 MF 
(21 MEuro) which represents only about 40% of the budget of the 
German national neutron sources. Studies have shown that a reduction 
in activity would be damaging to scientific policy and would only 
marginally reduce the running costs.

In view of this, it is difficult to understand why purely financial 
considerations alone continue to be applied to a facility which is 
generally accepted to be of much use and value. This leads to a 
situation which is prejudicial to research work, to the training of 
young scientists and to collaborations.

I earnestly request the parent organisations to end the current 
uncertain situation by signing a new convention as rapidly as 

I urge the French Ministry of Research to ensure the future of 
LLB-ORPHEE by providing adequate funding for at least the four year 
term of the projected convention.

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