Giant European atom smasher used to prove existence of Higgs particle readies for 2nd run

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The scientific organization that operates the world's biggest particle accelerator says it's gearing up for a second three-year run.

The Large Hadron Collider buried beneath the Swiss-French border near Geneva was instrumental in the discovery of the Higgs boson, a subatomic particle that had long been theorized but never confirmed until last year.

The European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN, said Friday that the atom smasher will operate at almost double the energy of its first run. It says the first particle beams are expected to shoot round the collider's 27-kilometer (16.8-mile) tunnel in March.

CERN's director for accelerators and technology, Frederick Bordry, said the collider is "almost like a new machine" after a two-year pause in operations.