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The winner of the main call of the NRRP ETIC (Einstein Telescope Infrastructure Consortium) project has been identified, following a careful selection process that verified its technical capabilities and the solidity of its previous experience: a consortium of Italian companies operating internationally, led by Rocksoil spa, has been awarded the contract to carry out the technical and economic pre-feasibility study of the Einstein Telescope infrastructure in Sardinia.

The consortium includes Rocksoil spa, Leonardo European Consortium for Engineering and Architecture, Ferro Ingegneria srl, Criteria srl, Inar srl, Gdp Geomin srl, and Geotec spa. Rocksoil, as the consortium leader, is an engineering firm boasting the synergy of high-level professionals including engineers, geologists, and architects. It is a leading company in the design of technologically advanced underground structures, special foundations, stabilization works, and geotechnical and structural monitoring services, with a significant international experience in its portfolio. Recent projects include infrastructures such as wells, tunnels, and caverns for the CERN High Luminosity LHC project in Geneva, the Brenner Base Tunnel, the design of the Al Diwaniyah Station for the Doha Red Line North Underground Metro in Qatar, as well as projects for the construction of highway tunnels in Slovakia and metro tunnels in Denmark. The consortium has been awarded a contract worth over 12 million euros through this call, the results of which will be crucial for the Italian candidacy to host the future third-generation underground gravitational wave detector in Europe.

“Given the complexity of the Einstein Telescope infrastructure and the strict requirements imposed by the scientific community, the study will need to investigate its multiple and different aspects; among these, the geology of the selected area, the optimal location and depth of the observatory vertices in both investigated configurations, triangle and double “L”, excavation and construction techniques, material management, environmental impact, and finally costs. Over the 18 months planned for the completion of the study, we will also have continuous interactions with the Italian and international scientific community of the Einstein Telescope,” explains Gaetano Schillaci, chair-person for the call.

Italy is currently competing with another site in the Euregio Meuse-Rhine region. The Italian candidate site is located in northeastern Sardinia, in the area of the disused mine of Sos Enattos, between the municipalities of Bitti, Lula, and Onanì. The Einstein Telescope project involves the construction of the large underground infrastructure of the gravitational interferometer and of the surface management structures.

“In terms of investments that Italy is making to support its candidacy, the award of the study is a very important step for international competition, and I believe it is right to highlight also the incredible technical and administrative work carried out by the consortium, that ensured that all the formal procedures of the European call, issued last April, were conducted with the utmost rigor and within the expected timelines,” comments Monique Bossi, Infrastructure manager of ETIC. “In the coming months, we’ll kick off all necessary technical activities for drafting the feasibility study, expected to be delivered by 2025”.

The call for tenders notice for the “Preliminary Study for the development of the technical and economic feasibility project of the Einstein Telescope gravitational wave observatory in the Sardinia Region, in various configurations, including the execution of investigations and surveys and the preliminary evaluation of environmental impact, for underground and surface infrastructural, construction, and plant works,” is available on the European tenders page at this link.