Open Letter to the Nuclear and Particle
Physics Research Community
||Ines Triay, Manager of DOE's Waste Isolation Pilot
Plant, The WIPP site in Carlsbad, NM
||Invitation to the June 12 Meeting on WIPP as the Next
Generation US National Underground Research Facility
||Early Spring, 2000
In the closing days of the 20th century, DOE's Office of Science and
the National Science Foundation suggested that DOE's Carlsbad Area Office sponsor a
workshop to explore the potential need and use of the WIPP underground as a next
generation laboratory for conducting nuclear and particle astrophysics (and other basic
science research). Over the last few months, DOE brought together an organizing
commitee made up of a cross section of active researchers who have planned an aggressive workshop agenda to do just that. This message is an
invitation to the entire research community to participate in that workshop, planned for
June 12-14, 2000.
The US Department of Energy (DOE) operates the Waste
Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad, New Mexico as the nation's first deep
geologic repository for permanent disposal of defense-related transuranic waste. Owned and
operated by DOE's Office of Environmental Management,
WIPP represents one of only a few choices open to the research community for siting
experiments that require shielding from cosmic rays greater than about 2000 m.w.e.
With the recent opening of the WIPP underground for disposal operations, DOE has
recognized the possibility of making the facility available to the physics community for
With an estimated 35-year operating lifetime and with the attractive unique attributes of a salt mine with very low primordial
background radiation, the use of WIPP by the nuclear and particle physics community may be
an efficient way to leverage the costs already borne by the nation's taxpayer and lower
the cost of conducting research in an underground setting.
It is our hope that this workshop will paint a clear path over which the physics community
and WIPP may travel to provide a new and unique opportunity for the next generation of
underground physics research in coming years. On behalf of the workshop organizing commitee, please join us in Carlsbad in
June, and come prepared to help DOE make this exciting possibility a reality.
Ines Triay, Ph.D.
Carlsbad Area Office Manager
PS: Carlsbad is a small town and to make sure we
have suitable arrangements made for such a large event, please register by Friday, May 19 (non-US citizens by April 26).