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The National Nuclear Security Administration approved Critical Decision-4 (CD-4) for the High Explosive Pressing Facility (HEPF) at the Pantex nuclear weapons assembly and dismantlement facility in Amarillo, Texas, Feb. 28.
CD-4 signals construction completion and the beginning of a transitional period from project stage to operations stage. People and equipment must now go through readiness reviews before the Operational Release Milestone ends that transitional period.
“This milestone marks a major success in modernizing NNSA’s infrastructure and replacing antiquated facilities with modern, energy efficient, and safer structures,” said NNSA Administrator Lt. Gen. Frank G. Klotz, USAF (Ret.). “It also delivers on our promise to provide high quality workplaces for our high quality workforce.”
NNSA broke ground on the new 45,000 square-foot state-of-the-art facility in 2011. It was designed by the Management and Operating contractor and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers provided construction management services using a Firm Fixed Price contract. Completion of HEPF will allow for improved safety, security, quality, and increased production efficiency of high explosives at Pantex.
HEPF consolidates high explosives operations from numerous buildings to reduce the movement of high explosives within the plant, benefitting worker safety and minimizing impact to other plant operations.
Pantex is NNSA’s center of excellence for the high explosive components of nuclear weapons. Replacement of high explosives in weapons is an important part of the NNSA’s mission to maintain and extend the life of the nation’s nuclear arsenal.
Also at Pantex, NNSA recently broke ground on the Administrative Support Complex, which will eliminate approximately $20 million in deferred maintenance and enhance recruitment and retention by improving the quality of the work environment.
Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; works to reduce global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad