The big news this past week was the formal dedication of NNSA’s new National Security Campus (NSC) in Kansas City, Missouri. The Kansas City plant manufactures or purchases 85 percent of the non-nuclear components that make up our nuclear weapons, and thus plays a huge role in keeping the nation’s stockpile safe, secure, and effective. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz and I were on hand for the dedication, along with members of Congress, local leaders, and employees of the field office and plant.
This dedication represents not only the successful execution of a major project, but also the replacement of badly aging infrastructure. Previously, Kansas City Plant (KCP) employees were working in the Bannister Federal Complex, a 70-year-old facility originally built to manufacture aircraft engines during World War II. The building was home to KCP for 64 years, however, annual operations costs were growing with the age of the facility.
To address this problem, NNSA worked with the General Services Administration (GSA) to obtain a new campus through a public-private partnership, which enabled a developer to build and deliver the NSC at a cost and schedule far less than the government could have otherwise achieved.
The relocation from the Bannister Federal Complex to the NSC, which began in January 2013, was one of the Nation’s largest industrial moves. The relocation teams safely and securely moved a wide range of equipment including tools weighing as little as six ounces to a milling machine weighing 87,000 pounds. About 3,000 truckloads transported thousands of pieces of equipment and 40,000 crates. Despite this major effort, the move was completed one month ahead of the original schedule and $10 million under budget. This was a remarkable achievement!
We’ve got a lot of infrastructure across the nuclear security enterprise that is as old and in need of repair as the Bannister Federal Complex. Our highly skilled and dedicated workforce deserve facilities that are safe and modern, and provide what they need to accomplish their work—work that remains critical to the security of this Nation.
Accordingly, I’ve made the repair and modernization of our facilities and infrastructure one of NNSA’s highest priorities. It’ll take time, persistence, and consistent support from Congress. But, our success at Kansas City shows that it can be done.
Finally, a note on safety: On Monday, the nation celebrates Labor Day. Many of us will be on the road for one last trip, or to visit with friends and family over the weekend. Please enjoy; but, please also plan ahead and travel safely.
“Mission first, people always.”