NNSA powers up new electrical supply at Los Alamos National Laboratory
The Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) is home to many vital NNSA programs and facilities like the Strategic Computing Complex (SCC), National Security Sciences Building (NSSB), and the Dual-Axis Radiographic Hydrodynamic Test (DARHT) facility. Programs of this magnitude require consistent, reliable power, and it was time for an upgrade.
The new Technical Area 3 (TA-03) power substation went live in late 2021, replacing a 70-year-substation and powering much of LANL and all of Los Alamos County, New Mexico. Demolition of the old substation commenced after commissioning and full turnover of operations to the new station and was completed in May 2022. The new substation features air circuit breakers—an environmentally-friendly circuit breaker option— and increased carrying capacity. These features allow for future expansion with lower maintenance as well as greater flexibility and reliability as power needs for the lab and county evolve.
As safety is a NNSA priority, the new substation also protects worker safety with newly installed arc flash protection equipment and grounding grid. This extra layer of protection for workers replaces the requirement for workers to wear cumbersome protective equipment before entering the substation area.
“The new substation is a vital enhancement for LANL, its workforce, and the surrounding Los Alamos community making it a big win for NNSA,” said Jessica Kunkle, Deputy Associate Administrator of Infrastructure. “This project helps ensure the success of critical work at LANL in support of NNSA national security mission and creates a better environment for the hard-working teams carrying out that work every day.”
Electrical equipment modernization, safety enhancements, and automation are all imperative to efficient power grid operation. The new substation’s features also help limit downtime by providing detailed data for more effective troubleshooting.