Friday, July 15, 2011

New Hope For Sanford Lab at Homestake

After the National Science Foundation (NSF) balked at funding DUESL, the Dept. of Energy (DOE) appears to be the steward of the underground laboratory at Homestake. In the new proposed congressional budget, a $15 million funding has been allocated to building this lab.

The combination of federal funding and support from the scientific community means the associated laboratories being built underground for experiments into dark matter and neutrinos -- which were the objects of Nobel Prize-winning research at the 4,850-foot level of the mine decades ago -- should be finished and can begin operation next year.
But the scale of this laboratory has been cut back significantly from the original plan for DUESL envisioned by NSF.

The Deep Underground Science & Engineering Laboratory, or DUSEL, was originally conceived as a complex of laboratories at different levels down to 7,400 feet below the surface and costing $1 billion or more. That structure seems to be fading into the realities of a tight federal budget and a shift in responsibility for the project from the National Science Foundation to the Department of Energy.

It is a transition that will at least for now limit the scope and cost of the underground laboratory work and mean DUSEL will not be part of the project lexicon.
 One can only hope that the scaled-down project will get that funding, and this becomes the newest US National Laboratory.


No comments: