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By Associated Press

Scientists operating the Large Hadron Collider say they have set a new energy record ahead of the full restart of the world's biggest particle smasher in June.

Europe's CERN particle physics center said it succeeded late Wednesday in smashing together protons with an energy of 13 trillion electron volts, or 13 TeV. That's close to the 14 TeV maximum that the LHC, located in a 27-kilometer (17-mile-round) tunnel beneath the Swiss-French border, is designed to achieve.

CERN said in a statement Thursday that the collisions were a key part of the tests being done to prepare for a second run of experiments starting next month. The collider underwent a $150 million upgrade after its first run, which produced results that helped confirm the existence of an elusive subatomic particle, the Higgs boson.