Governor Rounds - "We Won!"
DUSEL Video - “We won,” Gov. Mike Rounds told about 300 people who gathered in one of the main buildings of the former gold mine to celebrate a decision that puts Lead, the Black Hills and perhaps all of South Dakota at the center of some of the most cutting-edge physics and engineering research in the world.
Black Hills South Dakota won the project, called the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL), over three other states—Colorado, Minnesota and Washington. The NSF said the lab, located at Lead, S.D., in the northern Black Hills, would be the largest and deepest facility of its kind in the world if it is built as currently envisioned.
Governor Rounds and other South Dakota officials say the selection of the former Homestake Gold Mine for use as a national underground science lab will pay big dividends for the state and the nation.
Full Video of Governor Round's Remarks
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Today's announcement ends a long and winding search for a home for the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL). In 2001, researchers proposed that the NSF acquire the Homestake Mine, which was then on the verge being shut down and build the lab there. But negotiations bogged down when Barrick Gold Corporation, the Toronto, Canada, company that owned the mine, demanded that the government assume liability for safety, environmental, and other problems that might emerge later. Meanwhile, researchers began promoting other sites, and in 2004, the NSF announced a competition for the lab site, which would house experiments in particle physics, geosciences, microbiology, and engineering.
Physicist Kevin Lesko led the development of the proposal for Homestake. He says the first experiments might start as early as next year in an interim underground lab to be built with state money at the 4800 foot level. The eventual national laboratory is expected to have research space eight-thousand feet below the surface.
Even past critics of the selection are satisfied. "Our group felt that the NSF process this year was really thorough, so we support the decision they have made," says Wick Haxton, a physicist at the University of Washington, Seattle.