TA-3 More Details

March 1998 2 2 TA and Facilities Descriptions Facility Hazard Categories
Table 4-3 identifies the facilities in TA-3 that fall into a facility hazard category because of the type
of operations performed in the facility. Nuclear Facility Hazard Categories
Within the boundaries of TA-3, six facilities are currently categorized as nuclear facilities; two are
categorized as Hazard Category 2, and four are categorized as Hazard Category 3. Hazard Category 2 Nuclear Facilities Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Facility
The CMR Building (Building 29, Figure 4-3, Sheet 2) was completed in the early 1950s to house
research and experimental facilities for analytical chemistry, plutonium and uranium chemistry, and
metallurgy, as well as some engineering design and support functions. In 1960, an addition (Wing
9) was constructed to support programs requiring hot-cell facilities.
March 1998 2 3 TA and Facilities Descriptions
The building is a three-story, reinforced-concrete structure that contains approximately 550,000
ft2 (167,640 m2) of floor space. The building has seven laboratory wings and one administration
wing, all connected to a central (spinal) corridor. Each wing is designed to operate independently,
and each has its own electrical power substation and ventilation system. The first floor of each laboratory
wing contains approximately 48,000 ft2 (14,630 m2) of laboratory space and an equal
amount of office space. The basement and second-floor spaces were designed to provide utility
services for the first-floor laboratories and offices.
Wings 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7 extend from the spinal corridor and are identical in design and construction.
Wings 6 and 8 were planned but never constructed. The main floor of each wing has
change rooms at the entrance and offices along the outside walls. Two corridors separate the offices
from laboratories. At the end of each wing are filter towers, which house the filter plenums
and other large mechanical equipment for the exhaust ventilation system. Nuclear materials storage
vaults are located on the main floors in Wings 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7. The basements of some wings
house laboratory and office areas; the second floors of the wings are large, open areas with some
building support equipment and storage areas.
Wings 1, 9, and the Administration Wing are unique. Wing 1 contains offices and inactive laboratories
and does not have a filter tower. Wing 9 is a large bay area containing hot cells with remote
handling capabilities and other support laboratories; men’s and women’s change rooms are located
at the interior access to the wing. The Administration Wing houses offices and conference
The CMR Building was constructed to comply with the 1949 Uniform Building Code. The DOE
has upgraded and maintained the facility over the years to ensure safe operation in support of
programmatic missions. A major project is currently under way to further upgrade the facility.
Additional information regarding the upgrade project can be found in the Final Environmental
Assessment for the Proposed CMR Building upgrades (DOE 1997a). The R&D tasks and other
operations carried out in the building are varied; the types and numbers of projects change frequently
and may involve nuclear materials. Projects take advantage of the special capabilities of
the facility, including those involving safety, security, ventilation, and special processes. User organizations
and specific tasks typically differ between from wing to wing and within wings.
The facility has housed analytical chemistry functions since it was constructed. Process chemistry
and metallurgy R&D operations involving plutonium and other actinides have been performed
continuously. These activities support many LANL and other DOE programs conducted primarily
at other facilities, such as plutonium-processing and uranium-related activities.
Because many activities conducted in the building are potentially hazardous, controls and procedures
have been adopted to protect workers from chemical, electrical, mechanical, and radioactive
hazards. Hoods and gloveboxes are used in laboratories where chemical and radioactive
materials are handled, and personnel are trained to use them safely. Other safety measures include
restricted entry, hazard warning signs, protective clothing, and containerization of hazardous
materials. Laboratory criticality safety personnel review areas that contain significant quantities
of nuclear materials to identify safe operating limits.
CMR’s main vault is one of three Category 1 SNM storage vaults at the Laboratory available for
nuclear material storage. This vault currently contains a variety of enriched-uranium materials,
uranium feed material for manufacturing operations that occur in the Sigma Building, and samples
from analytical chemistry operations. The use of the vault is not expected to change significantly
in the future.
The term “Category 1 SNM storage vault” as used here does not refer to the hazard categorization
process but to DOE’s designation of how much SNM a storage vault is authorized to hold based
March 1998 2 4 TA and Facilities Descriptions
on its design and its ability to meet specific security requirements. Further information on this
subject is provided in DOE Order 5633.3B, “Control & Accountability of Nuclear Materials” (DOE
1994a). Sealed Source Building
The Sealed Source Building (Building 65, Figure 4-3, Sheet 2) is categorized as a Hazard Category
2 nuclear facility because it contains encapsulated radioactive materials and SNM used in
health physics measurements research. This building is located inside a fenced area on the south
side of Pajarito Road and Diamond Drive. The radioactive sources and SNM are sealed in steel
containers, which are kept in a vault equipped with a steel door and combination lock. Only
source custodians have access to the vault. The materials are used only inside appropriate shielding.
The term “encapsulated” refers to radioactive material that is totally encased by a container. Encapsulation
greatly reduces the likelihood that normal use will result in loss of radioactive material
or dispersal. The emissions of the radioactive material are typically intended for continued or repetitive
use as a known source of radiation for health physics measurements. Hazard Category 3 Nuclear Facilities Health Physics Instrumentation Calibration Facility
The Laboratory’s Health Physics Instrumentation Calibration Facility (West Wing, Building 40, Figure
4-3, Sheet 1), a controlled-access area, is located in the west wing of the Physics Building,
which is the only part of this building designated as a Hazard Category 3 nuclear facility. The rest
of the building is considered to have only hazards routinely encountered by members of the public
involved in activities similar to those conducted in the Physics Building outside the west wing.
The functions conducted in the calibration facility are calibrating and evaluating all types of radiation
detection instrumentation used throughout the Laboratory. This instrumentation includes
alpha, beta-gamma, neutron, and tritium gas detectors.
Calibrating the various radiation detection instruments requires using sources of radiation appropriate
to the instrument. An instrument that measures alpha radiation needs to be calibrated
against a source whose level of alpha radiation is known. In the descriptions that follow, the
sources referred to are these sources of known radiation.
Three operating laboratories (W-4, W-120/120-A, and W-10) and two radioactive material source
storage vaults (W-133 and W-8B) in the west wing support this activity. Two of the laboratories are
used for calibrating and evaluating radiation detection instruments and detectors. The third laboratory
is used to determine neutron emission rates from neutron sources. Only one of the storage
vaults (W-133) is authorized to store sources containing SNM.
W-120/120A and W-133 are located on the first floor of the west wing. W-120 is approximately
200 ft2 (61 m2) and is constructed of both reinforced concrete and concrete block. W-120A is a
metal-fabricated structure in W-120 that contains the actual calibration range. The range consists
of tubes constructed of steel encased in concrete, which are used to house the various radioactive
calibration sources.
W-133, a storage vault of approximately 160 ft2 (49 m2), is constructed of reinforced concrete and
contains radioactive material transfer containers and metal cabinets. Steel tubes inserted in the
concrete floor of the vault for source storage occupy most of the floor space .
March 1998 2 5 TA and Facilities Descriptions
W-4, W-8B, and W-10 are located in the basement of the west wing. Access to these rooms is by
elevator or stairwell. All of the rooms are constructed of reinforced concrete. W-4 is a laboratory
used primarily for calibrating neutron-emitting sources for determining neutron emissions. W-8B,
the other vault, is a secondary radioactive materials storage vault in which radioactive materials
used in W-4 and W-10 are stored. No SNM storage is authorized for this vault. W-10 is used for
calibrating tritium instrumentation. This room is equipped with a laboratory fume hood in case
tritium is released during calibration. Sigma Complex
The Sigma Building (Building 66, Figure 4-3, Sheet 2) and three other main buildings [Building 35
(Press Building), Building 141 (Rolling Mill Building), and Building 159 (Thorium Storage Building)]
make up the Sigma Complex, which is enclosed by a security fence and to which access is
controlled by a guard station. The complex, which encompasses over 200,000 ft2 (60,960 m2),
was constructed in increments during the 1950s and 1960s and has been used for a variety of
nuclear materials missions. Today, the facility is primarily used for synthesizing materials and for
processing, characterizing, and fabricating metallic and ceramic items, including items made of depleted
uranium (DU). In the past, Sigma Complex processed all isotopes of uranium; therefore,
much of the equipment is radioactively contaminated at very low levels. Nonradioactive hazardous
materials used included a number of chemicals and metals such as beryllium.
The Sigma Building is categorized as a Hazard Category 3 nuclear facility. Constructed in 1958
and 1959, the building has approximately 168,200 ft2 (51,267 m2) of floor space spread over 4
levels. Most of the space is occupied by laboratories for metallurgical and ceramics projects,
offices and administrative space, and storage areas for hazardous chemicals (such as concentrated
acids and caustic solutions). The rest of the space, about 55,000 ft2 (16,764 m2), is devoted
to various mechanical systems that provide for ventilation and other equipment required for
protecting the facility and workers. Building and process air is exhausted from the building
through five major stacks and numerous small roof stacks.
Today, the Sigma Building is primarily used for materials synthesis and for processing and characterizing
and fabricating metallic and ceramic items, including DU items used in the Stockpile
Stewardship and Management Program. Bulk DU is stored in the Sigma Building as supply and
feed stock. Current activities in the Sigma Building focus on test hardware, prototype fabrication,
and materials research for the DOE’s Nuclear Weapons Program, but they also include activities
related to energy, environment, industrial competitiveness, and strategic research.
Information on the rest of the Sigma Complex can be found in Section, Press Building;
Section, The Rolling Mill Building; and Section, Thorium Storage
Building. Calibration Building
The Calibration Building (Building 130, Figure 4-3, Sheet 2) is categorized as a Hazard Category
3 nuclear facility because it contains radioactive sources. The sources are used to calibrate instruments
for evaluating the response of various detectors to x-ray, gamma, beta, and neutron emissions.
The building is made up of two structures—the main building and an annex attached to its
southeast end. It is located inside the same fenced area as the Sealed Source Building (Section
To prevent contamination of facility workers under normal operating conditions, all radioactive
sources and SNM are encapsulated or sealed in containers, including during the time they are
being used for instrument evaluations. (No processing of nuclear material takes place in the Cali-
March 1998 2 6 TA and Facilities Descriptions
bration Building.) Only Laboratory research staff and designated custodians handle the radioactive
sources and SNM. Thorium Storage Building
The Thorium Storage Building (Building 159, Figure 4-3, Sheet 2), part of the Sigma Complex
(Section, is a Hazard Category 3 nuclear facility because it is used for storing thorium
in both ingot and oxide forms. To ensure material accountability and to limit radiation doses to
personnel, Building 159 is surrounded by fencing and has its own controlled access. Non-Nuclear Facility Hazard Categories
Within the boundaries of TA-3 are one M/CHEM facility, four L/RAD facilities, one L/ENS facility,
and eight L/CHEM facilities. Building Categorized M/CHEM
The Liquid and Compressed Gas Facility (Building 170, Figure 4-3, Sheet 2) is the Laboratory’s
receiving and distribution point for bulk quantities of specialized gases used in R&D activities.
Cylinders of various sizes, as well as trailers, are staged at this facility. Buildings Categorized L/RAD Ion Beam Building
The Ion Beam Building (Building 16, Figure 4-3, Sheet 1) consists of approximately 58,000 ft2
(17, 678 m2) of usable space. The building houses an accelerator capable of energies from 250
keV to 150 MeV, which can provide pulsed ion beams to 0.5 ns. The accelerator is capable of accelerating
microparticles at >62 mi/s (>100 km/s). The facility is currently in safe-shutdown mode.
All sources have been removed. Current plans are to convert the entire building to office space. Press Building
The Press Building (Building 35, Figure 4-3, Sheet 2), built in 1953, is part of the Sigma Complex.
It contains approximately 9,860 ft2 (3,005 m2) of space on one floor and a partial basement. The
only activity there is the operation of a 5,000-ton (4,536,000-kg) hydraulic press used for work
with DU. The Tech Shops Addition
The Tech Shops Addition, also called the Uranium Shop (Building 102, Figure 4-3, Sheet 1), was
constructed in 1957 and consists of approximately 23,000 ft2 (7,010 m2), including a 125-ft- (38-
m-) long corridor that connects it with the main shops (Section Its construction is
similar to that of the main shops. The building houses the uranium shop, which is ventilated
through a portable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration system. This facility, like the main
shops, contains a variety of metal-forming machines. Although DU represents the bulk of the materials
used in parts fabrication, many other potentially hazardous materials are used in this facility. High-Voltage-Test Facility
Physics research is conducted in the High-Voltage-Test Facility (Building 316, Figure 4-3, Sheet
2). Current activities at this facility are below threshold levels for the L/RAD category. Past activities
at the facility exceeded the threshold.
March 1998 2 7 TA and Facilities Descriptions Building Categorized L/ENS The Weapons Test Support Facility

The Weapons Test Support Facility (Building 216, Figure 4-3, Sheets 1 and 2) is a physics research
and design facility. All research using lasers and x-rays is conducted in shielded areas in
accordance with standard operating procedures. Buildings Categorized L/CHEM
Several of the buildings below categorized as L/CHEM represent significant Laboratory resources
and are therefore described in some detail. Water Treatment House
The Water Treatment House (Building 24, Figure 4-3, Sheet 2) contains a gas chlorination unit. It
is used to treat cooling tower water during the production of steam at the TA-3 Steam Plant (Building
22). Warehouses
The Laboratory’s main general warehouse (Building 30) and chemical warehouse (Building 31,
Figure 4-3, Sheet 1), both of which can store limited quantities of hazardous chemicals, are categorized
L/CHEM. The chemical warehouse is managed by a subcontractor. Laboratories
Building 32, the Center for Material Science (also called the Cryogenics Building A), and Building
34, the Cryogenics Building B (also called the Condensed Matter and Thermal Physics Laboratory)
(Figure 4-3, Sheet 2), are used for materials research. Although Building 32 is known as the
Center for Material Science (Figure 4-3, Sheet 2), the building is one of several that serve a Laboratory
program focusing on material sciences [e.g., Buildings 32 and 34, and the Materials Science
Laboratory (MSL) (Building 1698, Section]. Scientists at the center are involved in
developing and bringing material science work to the Laboratory. Building 32, used for cryogenics
research, uses liquid nitrogen. Building 34’s ground-floor laboratories are used for condensed
matter and thermal physics research. Downstairs is the Ion Beam Materials Laboratory. Although
the rest of Building 34 is categorized L/CHEM, the Ion Beam Materials Laboratory is categorized
L/ENS. The Tech Shops
LANL’s main shops (Building 39, Figure 4-3, Sheet 1) are located in the southwestern quadrant
of TA-3. The shops consist of two buildings—the main shops in Building 39 and the Tech Shops
Addition (also called the Uranium Shop) in Building 102. Building 39 is constructed of poured
concrete and cinder block and has a flat tar/gravel roof. The approximately 138,000-ft2 (42,062-
m2) building, including a 13,500-ft2 (4,115-m2) administrative office area, was constructed in 1953.
The building contains a variety of lathes, mills, and other metal-forming equipment.
Building 39 also houses the beryllium shop (not limited to beryllium), which is ventilated through a
HEPA filtration system. Although small, selected areas of the building are air-conditioned to provide
an environment that allows parts to be fabricated accurately, most of the building space is not
air-conditioned. Other small areas with special ventilation include painting, welding, and grinding
March 1998 2 8 TA and Facilities Descriptions The Rolling Mill Building
The Rolling Mill Building (Building 141, Figure 4-3, Sheet 2), which was built in the early 1960s
and is part of the Sigma Complex, is categorized as L/CHEM. Its three levels encompass approximately
20,213 ft2 (6,161 m2) of space that houses powder metallurgy activities, filament welding,
ceramics research and development, rapid-solidification research, and work with beryllium and
uranium/graphite fuels. The beryllium area has a permitted, monitored stack equipped with a
HEPA filter. Rooms 142, 148, 150, and 144 are vented through a bag-filtered exhaust system
designed to remove carbon and graphite dust. The other parts of the building are vented through
unfiltered vents and stacks. The Materials Science Laboratory
The Materials Science Laboratory (Building 1698, Figure 4-3, Sheet 2) is used for processing materials,
studying mechanical behavior in extreme environments, developing advanced materials,
and characterizing materials. The MSL is bounded on the west by Diamond Drive, on the north by
Buildings 32 and 34 (Section, on the east by the security fencing that surrounds
the Sigma Complex (Section, and on the south by Pajarito Road. The MSL building
and its corresponding access roads, parking lots, and landscape areas cover a site of approximately
7 acres (2.8 ha).
This facility is a two-story laboratory of approximately 55,360 ft2 (16,874 m2) arranged in the shape
of an H. The MSL is constructed of precast concrete panels sealed to a structural steel framework,
concrete floors, drywall interior, casework, hoods, and a utility infrastructure. Safety controls
throughout the building include a wet-pipe sprinkler system; automatic fire alarms; chemical fume
hoods; gloveboxes; HEPA-filtered heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC); and safety
MSL contains 27 laboratories and 21 distinct materials research areas, which can be categorized
as 4 major materials science experimental areas: materials processing, mechanical behavior in extreme
environments, advanced materials development, and materials characterization. These 4
areas contain over 20 operational capabilities that support materials research activities related to
energy, environment, nuclear weapons, and industrial competitiveness. In addition, the facility
contains 60 offices; 15 support rooms; and conference rooms used by technical staff, visiting
scientists and engineers, administrative staff, and building support personnel.
The first floor contains a high bay and materials characterization and processing laboratories in the
east wing; materials synthesis, characterization, and processing laboratories in the west wing; and
administrative and personnel interaction areas in the center. The second floor contains computer
rooms in the east wing; additional materials synthesis, characterization, and processing laboratories
in the west wing; and building services and additional personnel interaction areas in the
center. Small offices are located along the exterior walls throughout most of the building.
Appropriate safety systems are designed into the building for those laboratories in which potentially
hazardous activities occur. These systems include detection systems, warning lights, physical
barriers, and appropriate exhaust ventilation systems. The building is configured so that service
corridors connect the laboratories, allowing materials to be transported, stored, and used in a
ventilation zone separated from pedestrian corridors and staff offices. Some of the laboratories
are provided with special features such as vibration isolation, electromagnetic shielding, and
HEPA filters. All laboratories contain a variable-air-volume ventilation system, as well as process
cooling water, large-capacity electrical circuits, and vacuum pump exhaust systems. The exhaust
ventilation system is provided with an automated alarm system to indicate offnormal conditions.
March 1998 2 9 TA and Facilities Descriptions
The MSL was designed to accommodate a wide variety of chemicals used in small amounts that
are typical of many university and industrial materials research facilities. Some of these chemicals
are hazardous, toxic, and/or radioactive. The various laboratories in MSL produce four liquid
wastes: (1) sanitary, (2) acid/caustic, (3) nonflammable organic, and (4) flammable organic.
The MSL is located in an unsecured area adjacent to secured facilities that house most of the
Laboratory’s materials scientists and engineers. The building is not a production facility but a
facility dedicated to the types of materials research conducted in a university and in industry. Nonhazardous Facilities
Three hundred sixty-six administrative, technical, physical support, and other buildings and structures
at TA-3 (Figure 4-3) contain operations that are not considered to involve unusual hazards.
Some of the major nonhazardous facilities contained in TA-3 are the Laboratory’s main office
building (Building 43), which contains the Director’s Office, most of the offices of the Laboratory’s
program directors, and the main auditorium. The Otowi Building (Building 261) houses the Human
Resources (HR) Division offices, as well as the main cafeteria. Other major office buildings located
in this area are the Sherwood Building (Building 105), the Syllac Building (Building 287), the
Laboratory Support Contractor Building (Building 38), and Buildings 28, 123, 200, and 410. The
Laboratory’s major computing and data communications centers are located in Buildings 132 and
1498, respectively. The main library is located in the J. Robert Oppenheimer Study Center (Building
207). The Wellness Center (Building 1663), Fire Station #1 (Building 41), and the Occupational
Medicine Facility (Building 409) are also located at TA-3.
Several of the Laboratory’s major facilities for utilities and general grounds upkeep are located in
TA-3. Steam required for operations is provided by the steam plant (Building 22). The Laboratory’s
utility control center and main substation are located in Buildings 223 and 233, respectively.
The Parks and Refuse Office is located in Building 70. Other important structures located at TA-3
include switch-gear stations (Buildings 23 and 1682), cooling towers (Buildings 25 and 58), and
the asphalt concrete plant (Building 173).


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