The National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) Office of Safety, Infrastructure, and Operations took a significant step in advancing the Nation’s Enriched Uranium Strategy with its completion of the Nuclear Facilities Electrical Modernization (NFEM) portfolio. NFEM illustrates the type of foundational recapitalization work that is required for our aging infrastructure to continue meeting the Nuclear Security Enterprise’s vital national security missions.
Many of NNSA’s facilities are aging. Some even date back to the Manhattan Project and Cold War era. Two such buildings at the Y-12 National Security Complex, Buildings 9215 and 9204-2E, were the focus of the NFEM portfolio. NFEM provided their first broad electrical system upgrades since they were constructed over 50 years ago. These investments will help extend their service lives until at least the 2030s when facility replacements become available.
Thanks to NFEM, Buildings 9204-2E and the 9215 successfully received upgrades and replacements to key electrical components that sustain Y-12’s core mission areas. All of this was accomplished while meeting NNSA’s Defense Programs’ production goals and ensuring NNSA never lapsed in its mission deliverables.
Among other mounting issues, the facility electrical systems were operating at reduced efficiency, deteriorating reliability and inadequate capacity, resulting in escalating operational costs. The upgrades were necessary to address each building’s infrastructure vulnerabilities, such as electrical distribution system (EDS) equipment, motor control centers, and switchgears. The completed NFEM EDS modernization scope now meets or exceeds all applicable consensus codes and standards.
NFEM was an operational success in every sense. The well-planned 85 electrical outages required to complete the project had no impact on Y-12 meeting its production targets. Further, construction teams successfully completed the labor-intensive disassembly, removal, and reinstallation of large electrical components while ensuring a safe working environment, including mitigating workers’ heat stress exposure while in the field.
The NFEM portfolio, which began work in 2017, consisted of 16 individual projects each averaging just over 15-month durations. Each project involved highly detailed schedules complete with production activities which culminated in three separate NFEM Project Teams receiving NA-50 “Best in Class” Excellence Awards for the work they accomplished.
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