Project risks: make it or break it


Hiding from the blistering summer heat in a nearly windowless, air-conditioned conference room, LBNF and DUNE management met to re-evaluate and update project risks that could potentially make or break the most ambitious neutrino experiment ever conceived.

The management group – experts in design, construction, safety, and planning — spent two full days tediously reviewing risk after risk from the ground up in preparation for the upcoming Progress Review in August. They brainstormed, butted heads, and eventually worked out which risks were real and significant enough to keep and update, which risks needed to change to “active” status, and which were no longer relevant and could be thrown out. They evaluated the cost, schedule and interface impacts for each risk, among other criteria.

Of the 200+ active or proposed risks in the Risk Register, more than 50 underwent detailed scrutiny, all of which pertain to nearer-term LBNF issues, such as the stability of the Open Cut at SURF and the unknowns of installing enormous cryostats underground. Some new risks were added, for example, the risk of potential glitches in the international codes and standards agreements (see related article International standards and the U.S. DOE). These 50 or so risks are now fleshed out sufficiently to serve as a basis for putting together mitigation plans.

As the final day wound to an end — with everyone exhausted and ready for some sunshine – the Risk Register’s fresh update was complete. Next, the project will compile the data from the Risk Register into Primavera Risk Analysis (PRA) and perform a detailed Monte Carlo analysis to determine the necessary cost and schedule risk contingency for ensuring that LBNF/DUNE is completed safely, on time, and on (or under!) budget.