The federal agency that is tasked with enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science will be getting modern new facilities in Albuquerque.
Officials with the National Nuclear Security Administration have long wanted to get rid of its cluster of eighteen buildings and seven modular structures, some dating to the mid-1950s, saying that the facilities, with more than $40 million in deferred maintenance issues, have become too expensive to maintain.
In 2016, Frank Klotz, the then-NNSA undersecretary for national security, noting that some of the structures were originally used as Air Force dormitories, announced that an independent analysis had determined it would be more cost-effective to build a new complex rather than updating the aging buildings.
Funding to pay for most of what will be a $174 million project has now been approved by the Senate Armed Services Committee through the efforts of New Mexico Senator Martin Heinrich.
The new three-story complex, which will go up on Eubank Boulevard next to the Kirtland Air Force Base, will measure 330,000 square feet. Work is slated to begin on the project later this summer.
The structure, according to the NNSA, will be built along the Leadership in Energy and Environment Design Gold Standard specifications.
NNSA officials have pointed out that, besides saving money in the long run, the new complex will also help attract quality students while also retaining the agency’s scientific staff.
A part of the U.S. Department of Energy, NNSA oversees the operations of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, as well as the Sandia National Laboratories.
Although it was earlier estimated that the project could be completed by early 2021, it is now thought the new NNSA complex will be operational the following year.
By Garry Boulard
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