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NNSA Roof Project Completed Two Years Early and 80 Percent Under Budget

WASHINGTON, DC -- The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) announced today the completion of a construction project at NNSA's Nevada Test Site more than two years ahead of schedule and at only 20 percent of the original cost estimate.  NNSA officials have made it a priority to promote project management best practices throughout the nuclear security enterprise.

During a ceremony honoring the accomplishment, NNSA Principal Assistant Deputy Administrator for Military Application Brig. General Garrett Harencak, applauded the project managers at the Device Assembly Facility (DAF) for saving U.S. taxpayers $7.8 million.

"The individuals involved with the management of this important project demonstrated creative thinking to solve a problem for a critical NNSA asset, the Device Assembly Facility," said General Harencak during remarks delivered via teleconference.  "To fix the issue as quickly as they did while saving taxpayers nearly 80 percent of the original price tag is a major accomplishment, and is the latest example of the excellent project management skills employed across the nuclear security enterprise."

The DAF is a collection of more than 30 individual steel-reinforced concrete buildings connected by a rectangular common corridor.  The entire complex is covered by compacted earth and spans an area of 100,000 square feet.  The operational buildings in the DAF include five assembly cells, four high bays, and three assembly bays.  Five staging bunkers provide space for staging nuclear components and high explosives.  One of the safety features of the DAF is its compacted earth overlay (cut-and-cover construction) roof system.  Besides weather protection, the DAF roof provides for the filtration of escaping gases should there be an accident involving high-explosives inside DAF.

Over time the porosity of the roof enabled water to infiltrate into the building causing unexpected maintenance expenses and industrial safety issues.  In the summer of 2008, NNSA initiated a project under its Roof Asset Management Program to address the problem and awarded a contract to Building Technology Associates.  The project was originally projected at a cost of $10 million, with an estimated completion date of September 2011.  The project was completed this month at a cost of $2.2 million.  The program streamlines the management of its roofs by implementing a single multi-site construction activity – a program that in the past would have required multiple projects.

Engineers came up with a waterproof membrane structure to cover the entire area of the DAF roof.  The engineered membrane structure allows for the gas filtration safety system to work as designed yet prevent water from filtering into the facility.  Using this material allowed the project to be completed more quickly, and at a substantial savings.

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 in the nation's national security enterprise.  NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability, and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; reduces the 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.  Visit for more information.

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