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Mishap halts work at Japanese neutrino lab

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3:16pm, November 20, 2001

The Super-Kamiokande neutrino detector has been indefinitely dry-docked after a major accident on Nov. 12 destroyed much of its costly hardware. The crippled facility, part of the Kamioka Observatory, lies about 180 miles northwest of Tokyo and more than half a mile underground.

The catastrophe struck as scientists refilled the detector's 10-story chamber with water following maintenance work. Nearly 8,000 of the 11,200 photomultiplier tubes that line the inside of the domed steel vault suddenly imploded. The tubes, which each enclose a vacuum, measure the direction and intensity of light that neutrinos release as they move through the water-filled chamber.

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