NNSA explosives pressing facility construction 85 percent complete

The National Nuclear Security Administration announced on Monday that construction of its High Explosives Pressing Facility at its Pantex Plant near Amarillo, Texas, is more than 85 percent complete, on schedule and under budget.

The facility is 45,000 square feet, state-of-the-art and will allow for safer weapon production and explosive testing. Its design requires less movement and relocation of high explosives within the plant, making operations safer.

"This new facility at Pantex will help NNSA fulfill its mission in maintaining the nation's nuclear deterrent," NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs Don Cook said. "I commend the work done on the facility and for maintaining the project on time and under budget."

The $65 million facility began construction in late 2011. It is set to be complete by next summer. Operations will begin at the facility in September 2016.

The roof of the structure is complete, along with all blast-resistant doors, offices, explosive processing equipment and new modern high explosive presses. The remaining work to be done includes the installation of cranes overhead, flooring, the electrical wiring and mechanical system.

The project is being managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineering. The design and technical support for the project is being managed by B&W Pantex, including a design subcontract to CH2M Hill.