SITE DESCRIPTION - NNSA FY2005 Congressional Budget Request (622-624)
Constructed by the U.S. Army, in 1942, as a conventional bomb plant, Pantex
was decommissioned after World War II and sold to Texas Tech University
as excess government property. In 1951, the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC)
reclaimed 10,000 acres of the site for nuclear weapons work from Texas
Tech. The remaining 6,000 acres were reclaimed by 1989 and are leased
from Texas Tech.
Pantex assumed responsibility for weapons maintenance and modification
in the mid-1960s, when plants that had been performing those tasks closed.
With the closure of the AEC Burlington Plant in Iowa in 1975, Pantex became
the nation's only assembly and disassembly point for nuclear weapons.
The current and future missions are consistent with the Records of Decisions
for the Stockpile Stewardship and Management Programmatic Environmental
Impact Statement (PEIS), December 19, 1996, and the Storage and Disposition
of Surplus Weapons Usable Fissile Materials PEIS, January 14, 1997.
BWXT Pantex, LLC was awarded a 5-year contract for the management and
operation of the plant. This contract began February 1, 2001 and has a
value of $1.7 billion over 5 years. After the contract period, Department
of Energy (DOE) has the option to extend the contract for another 5 years.
Directed Stockpile Work (DSW)
Pantex is the assembly/disassembly plant for all nuclear weapons. Costs
include procurement of materials (exclusive of nuclear materials); fabrication
and assembly of nuclear weapons and weapon components; lifetime surety
maintenance and reliability assessment of the enduring stockpile; weapon
dismantlement and disposal; and maintenance of field training manuals
for activities that directly support weapons in the enduring nuclear stockpile,
including current maintenance; day-to-day care, and development, engineering,
and certification activities to support planned life extensions.
BWXT Pantex supports the Enhanced Surveillance activity of Engineering
Campaign strategic objectives by performing aging studies on explosives
and nonnuclear materials and components and providing the results to the
design agencies. BWXT Pantex also works with the design labs to develop
and deploy new diagnostics tools for implementation into DSW.
The Pantex Plant is dependent upon the Advanced Design & Production Technologies
(ADAPT) and High Explosives (HE) and Weapons Operations activities for
the Enterprise and Science Based Tools and Process Development to establish
processes to meet Base Workload and Life Extension Program (LEP) requirements.
Readiness in Technical Base and Facilities (RTBF)
The RTBF Program provides the physical infrastructure and operational
capabilities required to conduct the DSW and Campaign activities. This
includes ensuring that facilities are operational, safe, secure, compliant,
and that a defined level of readiness is sustained to perform the current
and future Pantex mission. In addition to the RTBF Program elements, the
companion programs and Construction work cooperatively with the RTBF elements.
Construction projects currently in design and scheduled for construction
in FY 2004 and FY 2005 at Pantex include: Special Nuclear Material (SNM)
Component Requalification facility, Building 12-44 Production Cells Upgrade,
and Building 12-64 Production Bays Upgrade.
Facilities and Infrastructure Recapitalization Program (FIRP)
FIRP has initiated the complex-wide Roof Asset Management Program (RAMP)
to establish and implement a corporate approach for the management of
NNSA’s roofing assets, which is expected to result in improved cost efficiencies,
improved quality of life extension of NNSA’s roofing assets, consistent
approach and common standards for optimal roofing repairs and replacement,
and additional deferred maintenance reduction. The Roofing Asset Management
Program (RAMP) has replaced erosion control systems over four large mission
critical facilities used to develop and perform testing on high explosives.
In the area of facility disposition, operating costs have been reduced
by removing over 40,000 gross square feet of excess facilities. Two design
projects will be initiated in FY 2005: Electrical Distribution System
Upgrade and Gas Main and Distribution Lines Upgrade.
Safeguards and Security
In FY 2005, the Pantex Plant will enhance specifically identified weapons
for use by protective forces to intensify capability against terrorist
threats. The plant has developed a Design Basis Threat (DBT) Implementation
Plan to address new DBT protection requirements.
DEFENSE NUCLEAR NONPROLIFERATION
Fissile Materials Disposition
The Pantex Plant stores surplus pits pending shipment to Los Alamos National
Laboratory to support the Pit Disassembly and Conversion Facility (PDCF)
technology demonstration. The Pantex Plant also packages and stores surplus
pits for future shipment (estimated to begin around FY 2010) to the SRS
for conversion in the PDCF prior to fabrication into Mixed-Oxide fuel.