6. What were the factors in deciding the location at Singara?

The main reasons for locating the laboratory at Singara are safety, accessibility, minimal disturbance to environment and ecology and outreach possibilities.

The Nilgiri massif is known to be highly compacted granite which is suitable for tunnelling. The existing underground power station PUSHEP, at Singara, has provided a wealth of data about the existing conditions for tunnelling. In addition the steep northern slopes provide shortest access to the laboratory which is located 1300 meters below the top surface. No other site has this major advantage. When a laboratory is expected to run for decades underground, the safety and long-term stability of the location is a primary requirement.

It was also very clear from the beginning that any site requiring such a large overburden will come under environmentally and ecologically sensitive areas. It was therefore decided that we look for sites where the needed infrastructure already exists so as to cause minimal disturbance.

Accessibility of the site is also crucial. The site at Singara is accessible easily from major cities like Coimbatore, Mysore and Bangalore. Such factors are important to develop a laboratory with participation from scientists from many parts of India and even abroad.