Underground Science Laboratories

  • Icicle Creek Laboratory
  • MINOS Far Detector Neutrino Laboratory
  • NuMI Off-Axis Neutrino Detector
  • San Jacinto Laboratory
  • SDSTA Davis Campus

Icicle Creek Laboratory

We prepared preliminary designs for a National Underground Science Laboratory (NUSL) at Icicle Creek in Washington State. CNA Engineers acted as an advisor for site assessment, developed the preliminary underground layout, coordinated the mechanical and electrical concept and reviewed the WBS (Work Breakdown Structure), project costs and the project proposal.
This horizontal access, ultra clean laboratory was accessed via two TBM-driven tunnels through granite. The TBM (tunnel boring machine) will drive about 18,000 feet to the cavern complex, encircle the cavern complex and drive back out to the portal. Cavern construction may begin simultaneously with driving the second TBM bore.
The racquet-shaped preliminary underground layout features underground caverns to contain various physics, geosciences and geo-biology facilities, a solar neutrino lab, double beta decay and non-cryogenic dark matter Geolab, low-level counting facility as well as mechanical and personnel facilities.

MINOS Far Detector Neutrino Laboratory

Our firm provided engineering services for the MINOS Far Detector Laboratory, part of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory’s NuMI project, which was completed in the fall of 2002. The project is located at Soudan Underground Mine State Park, a historic underground iron ore mine now operated by the State of Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The cavern is 2,340 feet deep in metamorphosed basalt, locally called greenstone. CNA was  the prime consultant to the University of Minnesota, with responsibility for a feasibility study, site selection and investigation, space planning, design, and construction services for this large, underground physics laboratory in northern Minnesota.

NuMI Off-Axis Neutrino Detector

CNA Engineers conducted the conceptual design for an “off-axis” neutrino detector located about 10 kilometers off the NuMI neutrino beam in northeastern Minnesota. Four construction alternatives were considered, all having 10 meters of shielding. They included: cut-and-cover in an ore stockpile, direct burial on grade, cut-and-cover in bedrock and mined cavern.The nominal inside dimensions of the laboratory are 125 meters long, 28 meters wide and 29 meters high (to the peak of the roof arch). Primary access to the laboratory is via an inclined ramp to the loading dock, located at the mezzanine level on the north end. A bridge crane covers both the experimental space and the mezzanine. An elevator provides primary access to the laboratory floor and four egress towers contain utilities and egress stairs to the surface. Surface systems and components include a parking lot, access roads, substations, generator, air conditioning units, water well, fire protection tank, fire alarm and smoke control panel, sanitary sewage treatment system and a storm sewer..

Systems and components within the laboratory include an electrical service, emergency power, standard and emergency lighting, HVAC, smoke ventilation, smoke compartmentalization, egress staircase ventilation, domestic water, foundation drain system, plumbing, fire protection and a detector support structure.

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San Jacinto Laboratory

CNA Engineers led a team that conducted geologic and engineering studies, and prepared a preliminary design for a national underground science laboratory (NUSL), at Mount San Jacinto, near Palm Springs, California. Our firm prepared the project WBS (Work Breakdown Structure), conducted site investigations, prepared preliminary designs for heavy civil construction, prepared cost estimates and estimated the project construction schedule.

The San Jacinto NUSL facilities would consist of aboveground administration, warehouse and assembly buildings, and an extensive complex of laboratory caverns located deep within Mount San Jacinto. One or two tunnels would provide access to the underground cavern complex, consisting of several interconnected caverns providing storage, common space, service functions, and space for future detectors.

Extensive site reconnaissance work formed the design basis for the heavy civil construction of the laboratory. The form, function and operating characteristics of the laboratory facilities were determined via interaction with the user groups. Laboratory capital and operating costs were estimated based on the project WBS. The laboratory development schedule was estimated, including the environmental studies and mitigation plan necessary to address environmental concerns, site investigation and design work and construction phase. Our engineers assisted UCI in presenting the laboratory plan to the Bahcall Committee, and in preparing the funding proposal submitted to the U.S. National Science Foundation.

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SDSTA Davis Campus

CNA Engineers prepared construction documents for two experiments at Sanford Laboratory at the Homestake Mine in Lead South Dakota. The LUX experiment, a xenon-based detector sensitive to weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPs) was constructed in the Davis chamber, a cavern that housed a previous experiment. Majorana, a neutrinoless double beta decay experiment, was constructed in a new 130-ft long by 50-ft wide by 15-ft tall cavern located near the Davis chamber. Both experiments are 4,850 feet below the ground surface and required rock excavation, structural steel framework, clean spaces, transition spaces, mechanical/electrical systems and fire and life safety provisions. All facilities were designed using the provisions of the prevailing building codes.

Sudbury Neutrino Observatory 

The internationally renowned and widely respected Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) located at the 6800 Level of the Creighton mine, near Sudbury, Ontario, was expanding to accommodate several large-scale experiments, several medium scale experiments and experiment support and prototyping facilities.

CNA Engineers was part of a multidisciplinary team selected to prepare conceptual, preliminary and final designs for remodeling of the existing laboratory facilities, and construction and outfitting of new laboratory caverns. Our role was space programming, conceptual design and layout, fire and life safety and peer review.

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