Pantex celebrates ‘topping out’ high explosives facility construction

Published: May. 22, 2023 at 3:18 PM CDT|Updated: May. 22, 2023 at 5:18 PM CDT
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Pantex is celebrating the end of vertical construction of the High Explosives Science and Engineering (HESE) facility.

Consolidated Nuclear Security, the managing and operating contractor for Pantex, announced construction crews “topped out” construction and placed the final steel beam on the Technology Development and Deployment Lab, one of three structures for the 72,762-square-foot complex, according to a news release.

“It is exciting to watch this vital facility take shape,” said Russell Daniel, senior director for Project Management at Pantex. “Our project team, in partnership with the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and our construction subcontractor Hensel Phelps, has worked extremely hard to reach this milestone.”

The HESE is a Congressional Line Item project that will replace 15 obsolete facilities at Pantex, the average of which is 68 years old. The project will also support the Pantex High Explosive (HE) Center of Excellence for Manufacturing mission for NNSA.

“We appreciate all the hard work getting the project to this point, and are greatly encouraged by the progress on a facility that ensures the high explosives mission is sustained for the next generation. It is awesome to see a hopeful vision becoming a tangible reality,” said Monty Cates, Explosive Technology Operations senior director.

The HESE facility will provide laboratory space, classified and unclassified office and meeting areas, and a shower and change-out area for HE operations personnel all in closer proximity to HE manufacturing operations at Pantex, according to the release.

“This is part of our ongoing efforts to modernize Pantex and provide state-of-the-art amenities for our high explosives scientists and engineers,” said Colby Yeary, Pantex site manager. “The facility will qualify new HE and assess legacy HE returning from the nuclear weapons stockpile as well as help develop and sustain high-quality scientific staff; support computational and experimental capabilities; and support development of additional evaluation and diagnostic tools.”