U.S. Secretary of Energy Updates Delegation on Neutrino Experiment Facility at Sanford Lab

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and John Thune (R-S.D.) and U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) today received an important project planning update from U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz on the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility (LBNF). LBNF will facilitate the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE), which will be conducted at the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) in Lead, South Dakota, and the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) in Batavia, Illinois. The project seeks to advance our understanding of neutrino science and particle physics and will attract international scientists, researchers, and educators to the Black Hills, as well as an estimated $150 million in regional economic activity during the project’s construction from 2017-2023.


“I thank Secretary Moniz for meeting with the delegation today,” said Rounds. “The research being done at the Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead is critical to learning more about particle physics, neutrinos and the matter that makes up our universe. I look forward to seeing the Sanford Lab expand and thrive in partnership with Fermilab in Illinois and the international physics community.”

“Shooting a beam of neutrino particles hundreds of miles through the Earth to an underground mine in South Dakota might sound like a concept from a Hollywood movie,” said Thune. “Not only will the United States lead this world-class experiment, but South Dakota gets to host it, bringing jobs, researchers, international partners, and a substantial economic boost to the Black Hills.”

“The groundbreaking neutrino research to be conducted in South Dakota will give us a new understanding of how the world around us works,” said Noem. “I am encouraged by Secretary Moniz’s support for the project and am hopeful we once again impressed upon him our belief in the value of the Long Baseline Neutrino Facility experiment for our country and the world.”


For the experiment, Fermilab will send the highest-intensity beam of neutrinos in the world 800 miles through the Earth’s mantle to a detector at SURF. The U.S. particle physics community identified the project as the highest priority domestic construction project, which will help assure U.S. leadership in neutrino physics over the next 20 to 30 years. SURF is an ideal detector site for the project, as its underground depth will shield the experiment from the effects of cosmic radiation. 

Earlier this month, the 2015 Nobel Prize in physics was awarded to Dr. Takaaki Kajita of Japan and Dr. Arthur McDonald of Canada for their work with neutrinos, specifically a breakthrough discovery that neutrinos contain mass.