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More than 50 members of the Majorana Demonstrator collaboration met here last week, in part to prepare for a major Department of Energy review next week in Germantown, Md. ?That?s when they?ll really establish the scope of the experiment,? Sanford Lab Science Liaison Director Jaret Heise said.

Majorana Principal Investigator Steve Elliott of Los Alamos National Laboratory said last week?s meeting was a success, including the inspection of the Davis Campus at the 4850 Level. ?Everyone who took the tour underground was very impressed with the lab,? Elliott said.

The Majorana team began moving equipment underground in March, but the real heavy lifting won?t begin until early June, after finish work on floors in the Majorana lab is complete. The first big equipment underground will be tools for the machine shop. Researchers will use it to fashion precision parts from ultra-pure copper currently being electroformed on the 4850 Level. Reyco Henning of the University of North Carolina, who is experiment integration manager for Majorana, said those machine tools are on the surface, ready for shipment underground.  ?The reality is setting in that we?re going have to start building science soon,? Henning said.

Next week?s review in Germantown will be the ?CD-2 and 3? review. According to the DOE booklet ?Critical Decision Packages,? the ?critical decision? (CD) system is a four-stage process for managing projects. It begins with CD-0, which establishes the need for the project. CD-1 includes selection of a path forward from among alternatives and approval of a cost range. CD-2 establishes ?performance baselines,? and CD-3 approves the start of construction. For Majorana, the CD-2 and CD-3 reviews have been combined, so next week?s review is doubly important. CD-4 will be the approval to begin operations.

The Majorana Demonstrator will test a system of detectors made of ultra-pure germanium crystals, which will be used to hunt for an extremely rare phenomenon called neutrinoless double-beta decay.