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Joe Lykken

Adapted from the July 21, 2015 edition of Fermilab Today By Joe Lykken

Two weeks ago a distinguished committee of 24 experts conducted a comprehensive Critical Decision 1 review of the DUNE and LBNF projects for the Department of Energy. Steve Meador, head of the Office of Project Assessment for the DOE Office of Science, chaired the review, with Jim Siegrist and Mike Procario from the DOE Office of High Energy Physics observing.

The Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility and the associated Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment will send neutrinos through the earth from Fermilab in Batavia, Ill., to the Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead, S.D.

The experiment is the largest new initiative at Fermilab since the Tevatron and would be the first truly international megascience project hosted in the United States. It is also the largest new initiative at Sanford Lab. In short, this review was a big deal.

The project teams were led by LBNF project manager Elaine McCluskey, DUNE technical coordinator Eric James, DUNE spokespeople André Rubbia and Mark Thomson; and DUNE resource coordinator Chang Kee Jung. Also on hand were Sergio Bertolucci and Marzio Nessi of CERN. The new LBNF far-site project manager, Mike Headley, led a contingent from the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority (SDSTA).

“These reviews are significant steps in our path towards beginning LBNF facility construction efforts in 2017,” said Headley, Executive Director of the SDSTA. 

Reviewers for DOE critical decisions are tough. Thursday’s closeout for DUNE and LBNF was a dense hour of findings, comments, and recommendations, but the tone was highly positive. Here are a few quotes from the closeout slides:

DUNE: “The DUNE collaboration is growing and well engaged and led by a strong, well-organized management team. An impressive CDR document has been produced.”

Beamline: “The beamline design team is highly qualified and was well prepared. Many have worked on the previous neutrino beamlines and bring that world-leading experience to the table.”

Far-site conventional facilities: “Strong team with an in-depth knowledge of the site and facilities.”

Cost and schedule: “The committee found the preliminary baseline to be complete and comprehensive. In some areas, maturity is beyond CD-1.”

Management: “Very (very) strong management team members in place on both projects.”

After the review, the management team met to discuss the path to the next major hurdle: a CD-3a review later this year, which would allow construction to start for the far-site facilities.