Pantex focuses on modernization with facility upgrades
The Pantex Plant is working on modernization changes to its facilities as a part of its mission to adapt and deliver a modern, agile, and responsive asset for the nation.
On Tuesday, the plant announced in a news release that new facilities are under construction. The project does include the deconstruction of several current facilities and creation of new ones, but the timeline and number of new facilities has yet to be announced.
“Not only has COVID changed the way we approach and do work, but the mission set has changed,” said Jeff Yarbrough, Pantex Site Manager. “That modernization of our stockpile means that our workload is increasing over 100% from 2021 to 2022, and increasing even more from '22 to ’25. So we're adding a lot of new staff, a lot of engineers and scientists and support staff, and we need space for those people to work in. So we're repurposing a lot of the JCDC for space for CNS (Consolidated Nuclear Security) employees to support the modernization of the stockpile.”
The John C. Drummond Center, or JCDC, is the largest and one of the newest buildings at Pantex. It replaces more than 50 obsolete structures, housing more than 1,100 employees, according to the news release. The building was opened in 2018, and is currently undergoing renovations to address future Pantex needs.
“We have a footprint that we have to maintain on site. So if we are bringing up a building the size of the JCDC, we have to reduce that footprint too; we have to reduce those buildings to keep the footprint the same,” said Jennifer Simms, Pantex Infrastructure Program Manager.
According to the news release, many of the plant's buildings are 75 years old, and some are unused due to the fact that they no longer fit the needs of the plant. During an undisclosed amount of time, Pantex has been both deconstructing old faculties and constructing new facilities to best fit the plant's needs.
“Our adversaries are modernizing their stockpiles, and they're building new systems. And many of our systems, while they're very robust, and they're very well designed, and they have aged very well, many of those systems are more than 30 years old. So it's time for us to refresh some of those major components that go into that system. So we are modernizing our stockpile to support our nation's security needs in this ever-increasing world environment that we live in,” Yarbrough said.
The Pantex Plant has been a national facility for more than 75 years. Through the modernization phase, Pantex said it hopes to fulfill its mission to maintain and enhance global security for the next 75 years.
This article originally appeared on Amarillo Globe-News: Pantex announces "modernization" plan to update facilities.