On behalf of the Long Baseline Neutrino Experiment (LBNE) Reconfiguration Steering Committee, I am writing to seek your feedback on the recent effort to reconfigure the LBNE project into stages. Feedback received before July 15h will be included in the final report of the Steering Committee to be delivered on July 20th.
In light of the current budget climate, on March 19th, Dr. W. F. Brinkman, Director of the DOE Office of Science, asked Fermilab to find a path forward to reach the goals of the LBNE in a phased approach or with alternative options. His letter notes that this decision is not a negative judgment about the importance of the science, but rather it is a recognition that the peak cost of the project cannot be accommodated in the budget climate projected for the next decade. Pier Oddone, Director of Fermilab, formed a Steering Committee and two working groups, a Physics Working Group and an Engineering/Cost Working Group, to address this request.
The Steering Committee, consisting of members from a broad community, had ten conference call meetings and had two face-to-face meetings on April 26, 2012 and May 22-23, 2012. The Steering Committee organized and held a workshop on April 25-26, 2012 at Fermilab to inform the high-energy physics community about the situation, to discuss the status of the work in progress on LBNE and to seek input from the community on how to proceed.
The Steering Committee with working groups has produced an interim report that finds three viable options under the tight budget constraints: (1) a 30 kton LAr TPC surface detector at Ash River using the NuMI off-axis, narrow-band beam (baseline of 810 km); (2) a 15 kton LAr TPC underground (2,340 ft) detector at the Soudan Lab using the NuMI on-axis, wide-band, beam (baseline of 735 km); and (3) a 10 kton LAr TPC surface detector at Homestake with a new wide-band beam line (baseline of 1,300 km). The interim report, the meeting agendas, the minutes of the Steering Group and the working groups, and the April 25-26 workshop presentations are posted on the LBNE reconfiguration webpage (http://www.fnal.gov/directorate/lbne_reconfiguration/).
Since the Interim Report was produced, studies are being performed for the operation of LAr-TPCs on the surface to verify that the cosmic-ray backgrounds are manageable. This will be added to the final report.
A briefing on the Interim Report was given to the DOE and the NSF. With support of the DOE Office of High Energy Physics, the LBNE project team is currently preparing for the Critical Decision 1 (CD-1) review of the LBNE Phase 1 experiment. The review is planned to be held in the Fall of 2012. The reference design for CD-1 will be a 10 kton LAr TPC surface detector at Homestake (baseline 1,300 km) with a new beam line. We are exploring opportunities for collaboration with other agencies, both domestic and foreign, which would allow the 10 kton detector to be placed underground in the first phase of LBNE.
The Steering Committee wishes to thank the Physics and Engineering/Cost Working Groups, the LBNE collaboration, and the many experts who participated in the studies whose work is the foundation of the Interim Report. The Committee would also like to thank those who provided their input to this process via presentations at the Workshop or by letters to the Committee.
Looking forward to hearing from you,
Young-Kee Kim (firstname.lastname@example.org, 630-840-3211)
Chair, the Steering Committee
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