US Army Corps of Engineers
Albuquerque District

Corps Team Provides Expertise for Replacement Project—Per interagency agreement with National Nuclear Security Administration

Public Affairs
Published Oct. 1, 2011
Pictured in Los Alamos are members of the   District’s on-site team: (left to right) William Wadsworth, Richard Kridler, Glenn McMaken, Jason Woodruff and Milo Gerber.  Not shown is Ragan Glandon.

Pictured in Los Alamos are members of the District’s on-site team: (left to right) William Wadsworth, Richard Kridler, Glenn McMaken, Jason Woodruff and Milo Gerber. Not shown is Ragan Glandon.

Based on an Interagency Agreement with the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), the District is executing a broad mission of engineering and construction related activities related to the Chemistry Metallurgy Research Replacement (CMRR) Project in Los Alamos, N.M. 

The District’s mission is to strive to ensure the best practices of design engineering; cost control, construction quality and safety are represented in the CMRR design and undertaken by construction contractors.

“The Corps employees are proud to support the CMRR project and the long-term viability of our nation’s nuclear weapons posture,” said District Commander Lt. Col. Jason Williams. “As the Corps’ role in this complex undertaking changes and matures, we will endeavor to respond with the depth, breadth and adaptability that now makes us an indispensible part of this project.” 

Working in support of the CMRR Federal Project Director, the District brings to the project extensive knowledge and expertise of building design engineering, radiological laboratory systems engineering, construction engineering, cost engineering, engineering and construction project management, construction safety, construction contracting, environmental assessments and other related expertise. 

The core team of on-site experts hail from the Albuquerque District and includes Milo Gerber, Jason Woodruff, Bill Wadsworth, Glenn McMaken, Richard Kridler and Ragan Glandon. However, other districts like Huntsville, Portland, Walla-Walla and Mobile are providing support and expertise for the CMRR project. 

“This multi-district support ensures the Corps provides excellent service to customers and is referred to as the “One Door” policy,” said Milo Gerber, IIS program manager. “In addition, specialty resources can be acquired when necessary because of the Corps ‘extensive list of contractors.”

The Lab’s mission and need for a CMRR

The Los Alamos National Laboratory’s (LANL) mission is to develop and apply science and technology to ensure the safety, security and reliability of the U.S. nuclear deterrent, to reduce global threats and to solve other emerging national security challenges. 

The lab was originally established in 1943 as “Project Y” of the Manhattan Project in northern New Mexico, within what is now the incorporated county of Los Alamos. Project Y had a single national defense mission, to build the world’s first nuclear weapon. After World War II ended, Project Y was designated a permanent research and development laboratory, the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory. It was renamed LANL in the 1980s, when its mission was expanded from defense and related research and development to incorporate a wide variety of new assignments in support of federal and private sector programs.   

LANL is now a multidisciplinary, multipurpose institution primarily focused on theoretical or experimental research and development.

Since the early 1950s, the NNSA and its predecessor sub-agencies (as part of the Department of Energy) have conducted analytical chemistry and materials characterization work in the Chemical and Metallurgy Research Building (CMR) at LANL. CMR supports various national security missions, to include: nuclear nonproliferation programs; the manufacturing, development and surveillance of pits (the fissile core of a nuclear warhead); life extension programs; dismantlement efforts; waste management; material recycle and recovery; and research.

The existing CMR facility is almost 60 years old and near the end of its useful life. Many of its utility systems and structural components are aged, outmoded and deteriorated. Recent geological studies identified a seismic fault trace located beneath two of the wings of the CMR, which raised concerns about the structural integrity of the facility. 

Over the long term, NNSA cannot continue to operate the mission-critical CMR support capabilities in its existing CMR building while maintaining an acceptable level of risk to worker safety and health. NNSA has already taken steps to minimize the risks associated with continued operations at CMR. 

To ensure that NNSA can fulfill its national security mission for the next 50 years in a safe, secure and environmentally sound manner, NNSA proposed in 2002 to construct a CMR replacement facility, known as the CMRR.

The Nuclear Facility (NF), the major facility within the CMRR complex, is currently in an interim design phase and will subsequently be constructed throughout an eight-year period. The NF structure will be significantly complete by 2020. The laboratory facilities, contained within, are expected to be operational by 2022.