On Friday, July 21, Alberici and joint venture partner, Kiewit, broke ground on the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE), a massive project that could change human understanding of the visible universe. In a unique groundbreaking ceremony held a mile below the Earth’s surface at the Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead, South Dakota, a group of dignitaries, scientists, and engineers from around the world celebrated the beginning of this landmark project. DUNE is the largest experiment ever constructed in the United States to study the properties of mysterious particles called neutrinos.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, located outside Chicago, will generate a beam of neutrinos and send them 800 miles through the earth to Sanford Lab, where a four-story-high, 70,000-ton detector filled with liquid argon cooled to temperatures of negative 300 degrees Fahrenheit will catch the neutrinos. Scientists will study the interactions of neutrinos in the detector, looking to better understand the changes these particles undergo as they travel across the country in less than the blink of an eye.The Kiewit/Alberici Joint Venture is serving as construction manager/general contractor under contract to Fermilab and the U.S. Department of Energy. To create the caverns that are large enough to contain the neutrino detectors as well as the support tunnels, Kiewit/Alberici must excavate 875,000 tons of rock – roughly the equivalent of eight aircraft carriers or 2.5 Empire State Buildings – while coordinating with ongoing scientific research at Sanford Lab.culverts and miter gate repair of the landside lock chamber, partial demolition of upstream lock and dam 53, installation of four upstream mooring cells, and demobilization and site restoration.
DUNE will help scientists understand why the visible universe is dominated by matter. It will also watch for neutrinos produced when a star explodes, which could reveal the formation of neutron stars and black holes, and will investigate whether protons live forever or eventually decay, bringing us closer to fulfilling Einstein’s dream of a grand unified theory.
Click here for more information about this one-of-a-kind project.