The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) announced on 10 July 2007 the selection of a University of California-Berkeley proposal to produce a technical design for a U.S. Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL) at the former Homestake gold mine near Lead, S.D. NSF also will begin working with researchers to identify initial experiments that might be deployed in DUSEL, according to Tony Chan, assistant director for NSF's Directorate of Mathematical and Physical Sciences.
NSF concurred with a panel of external experts who had determined that the proposal offered the greatest potential for developing a DUSEL. Any decision to construct and operate this laboratory needs further approvals by NSF and the U.S. National Science Board. An interdisciplinary “deep science” laboratory could shield sensitive physics experiments from background activity and could provide scientists with direct access to geological structures, tectonic processes, and life forms that are best studied deep underground. A Homestake DUSEL, if built as envisioned by its supporters, would be the largest and deepest facility of it kind in the world.