NNSA includes a significant number of facilities built during the Cold-War that are well beyond their 40 year life expectancy. NNSA even has mission-critical facilities that were built during the Manhattan Project – over 75 years ago. This aging infrastructure is challenging to maintain, as many building systems are obsolete.
NNSA needs modern, resilient, and responsive facilities to address increasing workloads and staffing levels to meet our national security mission. To meet this challenge, the agency is deploying new science-based infrastructure stewardship tools; exploring the use of innovative initiatives to streamline processes, accelerate delivery, and increase buying power.
Standardized Acquisition and Recapitalization Initiative
In May 2019, NNSA created the Standardized Acquisition and Recapitalization (STAR) Initiative to reduce costs and accelerate construction of small office and light laboratory facilities. This initiative is developing standard, scalable building designs for non-nuclear facilities that can be shared and customized across sites ultimately reducing design costs and accelerating construction.
This initiative is being piloted at three sites: Los Alamos National Laboratory, Nevada National Security Site, and Sandia National Laboratories (Sandia) with architecture and engineering service support from the Kansas City National Security Campus. Currently, the initiative has a library of more than 10 designs available, including office buildings, light laboratories, and parking structures.
Enhanced Minor Construction and Commercial Practices
In an effort to recapitalize the Nuclear Security Enterprise, NNSA approved a pilot in June 2019 to streamline the delivery of commercial-like construction projects under $50 million.
The pilot uses existing, successful construction management processes, certified Federal Project Directors, and widely-used commercial construction practices to streamline the execution and delivery of these small, lower-risk projects. This pilot presents an opportunity to build commercial-like facilities in a way that is novel tor NNSA, but common in commercial construction – an approach that is anticipated to save NNSA both time and money. The pilot includes: Emergency Operations Centers at Y-12 National Security Complex, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and Sandia, as well as the Y-12 Fire Station.
“While NNSA continues to make impressive progress in improving infrastructure modernization, it has a long road ahead,” said Jim McConnell, Associate Administrator for Safety, Infrastructure, and Operations. “NNSA’s mission continues to grow and its infrastructure portfolio is becoming more vast and diverse. Adapting to this growth requires continuous innovation by NNSA to ensure agile infrastructure management processes and tools are available.”
The goal of these efforts, and countless others across the Enterprise, is to improve NNSA’s day-to-day infrastructure management to ensure we continue to meet our mission needs now and in the decades to come.