In early July, Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, the director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, visited South Dakota to tour the LBNF construction site at Sanford Underground Research Facility and meet with Fermilab staff.
Fermilab Director Lia Merminga and LBNF/DUNE-US Project Director Chris Mossey welcomed Behre, together with members of the Fermilab South Dakota Services Division and the LBNF project team. They provided an overview of LBNF, which will provide the space and infrastructure for the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment, hosted by Fermilab.
Mike Gemelli, project manager for LBNF Far Site Conventional Facilities, led the tour of the surface facilities on the first day of the visit. The tour included a visit to the Ross hoistroom, where SURF staff monitor the lowering and raising of people and equipment to and from the LBNF construction site a mile underground. The visitors also saw the rock transportation system that the LBNF project team designed and built to move excavated rock from the Ross Shaft to the Open Cut, a former mining pit.
LBNF Resident Engineer James Rickard led the tour of the underground construction site on the second day of the visit. About 800,000 tons of rock need to be excavated to create the caverns and drifts for LBNF. Using drill-and-blast technology, miners have already removed about a third of the rock. The excavation is expected to be complete by the end of 2023.
Berhe also received a tour of the existing underground research facilities at the Davis Campus of Sanford Underground Research Facility by SDSTA Executive Director Mike Headley and his staff. She learned about the searches for dark matter, neutrinoless double beta decay, and other research efforts.
“It was a great opportunity to show Dr. Behre the fantastic work the LBNF team is doing and discuss the project with her,” said Merminga. “I’m grateful that she took the time to travel to South Dakota and then visited Fermilab.”