WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) yesterday congratulated the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) for completing two fire stations under budget and on time.
Construction began on the two fire stations in April 2009. Both stations were built at a cost of about $35 million, significantly under the original $42 million budget.
“NNSA applauds the Nevada National Security Site for completing the two fire stations under budget,” said Michael Thompson, Assistant Deputy Administrator for Infrastructure and Construction at NNSA. “This is the latest example of NNSA’s commitment to being effective stewards of tax dollars as we continue transforming a Cold War nuclear weapons complex into a 21st century nuclear security enterprise.”
The new fire stations are expected to significantly improve fire-fighting services not only at NNSS, but for local agencies that rely on the site’s fire units for interagency assistance.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Oct. 6 for a smaller Station No. 2, located in Area 6, about 22 miles north of Mercury. Local, state and federal dignitaries, along with fire officials from Las Vegas, Nye County and other areas, were present at yesterday’s formal ceremony to open Station No. 1, built in Mercury, known as Area 23 of the Site.
The NNSS has a long history of supporting national security. The site currently supports an array of modern missions, among them counterterrorism operations and stockpile stewardship, all originating from the base camp at Mercury, off U.S. Highway 95. The new stations are replacing existing stations that had been in use for more than 40 years.
The original stations were built to house only firefighters, but the new facilities will support missions that were consolidated in 1996 to include structural and wild land firefighting operations, hazardous materials operations, paramedic level emergency medical services, and technical rescue operations, among others.
The number of fire-fighting vehicles at the site over the years has grown to eight Type-6 wild land engines; four structural fire engines; two heavy rescue trucks; three light-duty incident command vehicles; one large mobile incident command post vehicle; five hazardous materials, wild land fire supply, and breathing-air trailers; three fire marshal vehicles; five paramedic ambulances; and ten special purpose all-terrain vehicles.
“The average cost of a fire engine today has the potential to exceed $300,000,” said NNSS Fire Chief Chuck Fauerbach. “We’ve had a significant number of vehicles sitting outside (the current fire stations) in non-climate-controlled areas. That causes them to age prematurely.”
In addition to supporting Site facilities and workers, NNSS Fire and Rescue personnel also provide mutual aid to Nye County communities such as Crystal, Amargosa and Pahrump, and frequently respond to vehicle accidents on U.S. 95.
The new fire stations also are designed to Leadership and Energy in Environmental Design (LEED) standards and are expected to achieve LEED Gold Certification in 2011. Combined, the stations encompass more than 40,000 square feet of space.
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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.