Saturday, November 03, 2007

Scientists Taking Next DUSEL Step

The plan to build the underground lab at the Homestake mine is progressing.

In July, the National Science Foundation chose Homestake as the site for a proposed Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory. Now, scientists and engineers are designing the proposed lab. "This meeting this weekend is crucial in putting together the initial suite of experiments," physicist Kevin Lesko of the University of California at Berkeley said.

Still, that thing about the water still rising is a bit disconcerting.

The South Dakota science authority re-entered the mine in July, and crews are slowly working their way down the 5,000-foot Ross Shaft to install pumps to remove the water that has been filling the mine since it was sealed shut in 2003.

Dave Snyder, executive director of the science authority, told scientists Friday that water had risen from the bottom of the mine, 8,000 feet underground, to 4,996 feet underground "as of an hour ago."

If water reaches the 4,850-foot level, South Dakota's plan for a Sanford Laboratory will be more expensive, but Snyder said the water had risen only 4 feet since July 27. He estimated the water would not reach "the 4850" until February, and crews are working double shifts to start pumping before then.

I can already see it. One of the safety courses[1] all workers have to take before working there will be on how to swim! :)


[1] If you have worked in a US Nat'l Lab, then you'll know that you have to go through all of these safety classes first, depending on the nature of your job, before you can start work.

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