Groundbreaking ceremonies take place for Jefferson Lab 12 GeV upgrade…

The Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Jefferson Lab) in Newport News, Virginia, marked the beginning of construction of its $310 million (€9.5 million) 12 GeV upgrade project with a groundbreaking ceremony on 14 April. The event was attended by more than 400 people, including local, state and national political leaders.

The 12 GeV upgrade at Jefferson Lab, which will be completed in 2015, will double the energy of the laboratory's electron-beam accelerator, from the current value of 6 GeV (CERN Courier April 2009 p15). The upgrade project, which also includes the construction of a fourth experimental hall, a 250 ft extension to the underground accelerator tunnel, and new roads and utilities, recently received $65 million in stimulus funds to accelerate the work.

The 12 GeV project guarantees Jefferson Lab's future well beyond the next decade. It will also allow the laboratory to pursue broader, more effective collaborations, while training the next generation of scientists and engineers.

…and for the latest long-baseline neutrino experiment in Minnesota

On 1 May congressmen James Oberstar of Minnesota and Bill Foster of Illinois joined officials from the US Department of Energy (DOE), Fermilab and the University of Minnesota to break ground for the NuMI Off-Axis Neutrino Appearance (NOvA) project. The experiment is to study neutrino oscillation using a new detector 60 km southeast of International Falls, Minnesota, near the US–Canada border.

The NOvA experiment is designed to search for oscillations of muon–neutrinos to electron–neutrinos by comparing the electron–neutrino event rate measured at Fermilab with the electron–neutrino event rate at the new site, 810 km away. It will use the Neutrinos at the Main Injector (NuMI) beam at Fermilab, which is producing neutrinos for the MINOS experiment. Unlike the MINOS far detector, which is located on the centreline of the neutrino beam, the NOvA detector will be slightly off the centreline. This off-axis location produces a large neutrino flux that peaks at 2 GeV, the energy where oscillation to electron–neutrinos is expected to be at a maximum.

The new far detector, which will contain 15 kt of liquid scintillator, will measure 15.7 × 15.7 × 78 m. A smaller copy of the far detector will be constructed in the NuMI beam on the Fermilab site to measure the neutrino event rates prior to oscillation.

The NOvA Detector Facility will reside in a laboratory at the University of Minnesota, which currently runs the Soudan Underground Laboratory where the MINOS far detector is located. The DOE Office of Science has provided $40.1 million (€29 million) in Recovery Act funding for the construction project. It will also provide $9.9 million in Recovery Act funding to Fermilab, which manages the project.