The Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment proposed for the Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead, will be part of the first truly international mega science project hosted by the United States, according to the scientists putting the project together.
DUNE will involve beaming subatomic particles called neutrinos through the earth from Fermilab in Batavia, Ill., to the Sanford underground lab nearly a mile beneath Lead. Data gathered in the experiment will shed light on the most elemental building blocks of matter.
“I don’t think you could state the importance of the project too strongly,” Mike Headley, executive director of the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority, told the Rapid City Journal in April. “This is an international science mega-project. If you look at the current suite of experiments around the world and those planned in the future, this would be the largest in scale."
The project would be a collaboration of more than 800 scientists from 150 institutions in 28 countries. About half of the $1 billion to $1.4 billion price tag for the project would be spent in South Dakota, making it the largest, most expensive project in South Dakota history.
To make room for the new underground facilities, more than 800,000 tons of rock will be be brought to the surface and transported by elevated conveyor to Lead’s Open Cut, according to preliminary plans. The lab has already spent $30 million to rebuild and rehabilitate the Ross Shaft in preparation for the experiment.
Officials estimate that in the next 10 years, the project could result in $330 million in earnings for local residents and peak employment in 2020 at 1,800 jobs. The state of South Dakota could receive as much as $10.6 million in tax revenue.