Local 461 member Robert
Young, Sr. works on the
electrical box at a new
subatomic test lab in Batavia,
This project involves a subatomic particle of a proton called a neutrino. In this experiment, a beam similar to a laser will be fired from the launch site at the new Neutrinos at the Main Injector (NuMi) at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) in Batavia, Illinois, to a target approximately 500 miles northwest to Soudan, Minnesota. A complicated series of measurements will determine whether the beam of neutrinos changes in mass from their physical state at launch and their condition after the underground, speed-of-light trip to the bottom of an old mine shaft in Minnesota, said Fermilab Project Manager Elaine McCluskey. The results could change the way physicists approach the fundamental structure of matter.
The $170 million project, which began in 2000 and was completed in March 2004, involved 23 Local 461 electricians working for electrical contractor Divane Brothers, said Dave Rolow, Northeastern Illinois Labor Management Cooperative Committee director. The electricians handled nearly all of the electrical construction on the project, including the cable installation for the experiment, all the lighting, power receptacles, fire alarms, heat detection systems, air sampling systems as well as enough conduit and wiring for regular and emergency power. All of the electrical utilities had to be installed 160 feet underground to support the experiment.
"Divane Brothers and their skilled IBEW electricians are a large piece of the puzzle," McCluskey said. "The work they’ve performed is vital to the project and they’ve been able to deliver everything we’ve asked of them."
The Northeastern Illinois LMCC has performed work at the U.S. Department of Energy-operated Fermilab since the 1960s.
"Yet again, this project affirms that IBEW members are the best trained, most skilled craftsmen, pushing the limits of modern technology and providing scientists with the resources to conduct ground-breaking work," said IBEW International President Edwin D. Hill.
Although the basic infrastructure has been completed at NuMi, other electronics and the detector itself have yet to be installed. The first experiment will begin in early 2005.
Fermilab, which contains the most powerful particle accelerator on earth, is a national laboratory hosting more than 2,400 scientists and students from the United States and 25 foreign countries.
May 2004 IBEW Journal