Today at Berkeley Lab

Low Background Counting Facility Moves to Sanford Underground Research Facility

(From left) Keenan Thomas, James Symons, Steve Dardin, Donna Hurley, Kevin Lesko, Al Smith and Yuen-dat Chan (NSD) at Oroville site.

After nearly 30 years, the Nuclear Science Division has moved its Low Background Counting Facility from Lake Oroville to the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) in South Dakota. The facility, which was housed 300 feet below ground in the Oroville dam power house, consisted of an array of eight Germanium detectors shielded by copper and lead bricks. It was designed to search for neutrinoless double-beta decay, a rare decay mode whose observation would provide evidence that the neutrino is its own antiparticle. It was also used to search for dark matter. At SURF, the facility will be located more than a mile underground. A delegation from the Lab went to Oroville on April 21 for an appreciation ceremony.