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NSF authorizes $29 million for preliminary design of world's deepest underground laboratory
Date:10/15/2009

water from flooded depths to prepare the site for DUSEL.

The Sanford Lab, located at a depth of 4,850 feet, will house the first experiments: the Large Underground Xenon (LUX) experiment, which will look for dark matter; and the Majorana Demonstrator, which will search for neutrinoless double beta decay. If the NSF approves construction funds, DUSEL is expected to absorb and maintain the Sanford Lab as additional research space is prepared at the 4,850-foot and 7,400-foot levels.

"We are pursuing some of the most exciting aspects of several different disciplines simultaneously; not just experiments on dark matter, but experiments on neutrinos and in the areas of nuclear astrophysics and geomicrobiology, all in one facility," Lesko said. "We will exploit the synergies between those different disciplines."

In 2007, when the NSF selected the Homestake site for a national deep underground lab, the agency also chose the UC Berkeley team to develop key elements of the preliminary design and refine the lab's proposed scientific, educational and engineering goals. The campus submitted in May of 2009 a proposal to complete the preliminary design of research areas in chambers at the 7,400-foot and 4,850-foot levels, as well as to support space on the surface. Working with Lesko are project director Kem Robinson and co-principal investigator William Roggenthen of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.

"By the end of next summer, we hope to complete a preliminary design of the facility and then integrate with it a generic suite of experiments," Lesko said. "While formal selection of the experiments will not have been made by that time, we know enough about them now that we can move forward with the preliminary design."

In preparation for the design work, more than 200 potential DUSEL researchers met in the city of Lead Sept-30-Oct. 3 to attend the first meeting of scientific users. At that meeting, the UC Berkeley and Sout
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Contact: Robert Sanders
rsanders@berkeley.edu
510-643-6998
University of California - Berkeley
Source:Eurekalert

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