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Utility Area
it’s the positive publicity that they see
because of our research.
For instance, we had Stephen
Hawking visiting us recently, and this
showed the interest that world orga-
nizations have in SNOLAB. We are
cost neutral for Vale, but it
is their infrastructure
that supports what
we do. We are
putting out the
positive mes-
sage about
the work
that we’re
doing and
Vale are inti-
mately linked
to that.
Tell us, in your
opinion, what makes SNO-
LAB unique among the underground
labs in the world?
The first thing that is unique
is that we are at 2070 metres below
the surface. The reason our experi-
ments need to be deep is that on the
surface they get bombarded by cos-
mic radiation that masks these fragile
and exquisitely small signatures. We
have to go deep. The second reason
we’re unique is that we operate as
a Class2000 clean room. We want to
make sure that the experiments com-
ing down are not going to be contami-
nated by their neighbours.
The third unique aspect of SNO-
LAB is the amount of support we can
provide to the experiments. We have
the logistics, the infrastructure, to in-
terface directly with the experiments.
We have strong engineering and
strong technical teams. We are sup-
porting the experiments but
also doing the work
with them. You get
the full package
when you come
We have long-
term projects
that will take
and small scale
ones. We have a
wide spectrum of
What is your personal vision for
One of the things that I push hard
is inspiration. When people visit this
facility, you can’t escape the fact that
science is so cool—we want to inspire
visitors, through the people that work
Having the breadth of students,
post-docs, experienced technical sup-
port, scientists—we’re able to develop
people in SNOLAB, and inspire.
We’ve engaged people all over
the world.
The boundaries always move
here, we’re doing cutting edge re-
search. My vision is pretty simple—to
be the best underground lab in the
world. We are the best place to do this
research, and the corollary to that is
the science that emerges as a result of
what we do: that has to be the ultimate
We want to ensure that in our
field of astro-particle physics the ex-
periments that are breaking new
ground are here: we want to make
SNOLAB the place to be for astro-par-
ticle physics.
How does all the activity here
circle back around to economic devel-
opment and developing the commu-
The real issue to me is the
people—this is how we make a real
change to the economy is by training
high quality, highly skilled, motivat-
ed scientists, installers and technical
teams, and engineers. On the longer
term it’s difficult to make a statement
about what the broader impacts will
be, because the work we are doing, it is
impossible to see how things are going
to turn out. However—the techniques
we develop in the process, those will
bring significant outcomes to the inter-
national community.
Having the breadth of
students, post-docs, experienced
technical support, scientists—we’re
able to develop people in SNO-
LAB, and inspire.”
Contains underground lab support
Hosts a chiller, mine power centre (elec-
trical substation), potable and waste
water treatment centres and in future,
an emergency generator.
Normal power to the chiller systems
and the new experimental spaces is
provided by a 1500kVA Mine Power
Centre (MPC) located adjacent to the
Provision is made for the future in-
stallation for a 150kVA generator to
provide emergency power to critical
systems in the laboratory