I am pleased to announce that the LBNF/DUNE project has achieved an important milestone. [On September 1st] the Department of Energy formally approved plans for construction of the first two large underground caverns at Sanford Lab for the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment.
This milestone, known as “CD-3a approval,” represents DOE’s green light to begin the significant amount of conventional facilities work at Sanford Lab necessary to support the DUNE experiment. The work will begin in earnest once Congress makes FY2017 funding available and we are pleased that DOE has already requested this funding in the appropriations bills currently under consideration by the House and the Senate.
Approval of this milestone clears the way for the LBNF/DUNE project to begin the major construction work necessary to meet the ambitious timeline for the installation of the first massive liquid-argon neutrino detectors. The first step will be to install the systems that will transport hundreds of thousands tons of rock to a surface location. This preparatory work is planned to start in 2017. The excavation for the first two underground caverns for DUNE neutrino detectors and related utilities is expected to begin in the fall of 2018.
We’ve already begun the process of soliciting bids from potential construction managers for the work at Sanford Lab, and are on track to award the contract in January.
This milestone is the result of a tremendous amount of work by many staff and users here at Fermilab and our partners at Sanford Lab, CERN, in DOE and at collaborating institutions around the world. Thank you to everyone involved with this extraordinary effort. LBNF and DUNE are proceeding well and on schedule, and I will continue to keep you updated on the project’s progress.