After more than a decade of work and an investment of $246 million in transforming the Pantex Plant, the Facilities and Infrastructure Recapitalization Program (FIRP) is drawing to a close. New, gleaming white roofs dot the plant, new fire alarm systems protect facilities and upgraded utility systems help to ensure that Pantex can continue to fulfill its critical national security mission.
As FIRP winds down this month, officials with the National Nuclear Security Administration and the Pantex Plant are reflecting on the successes of the program, which has helped to rehabilitate buildings dating back to the 1940s at sites across the country.
"Investing in the revitalization of our infrastructure is a critically important step as we move forward in maintaining our nation's nuclear deterrent, said Johnnie Guelker, Deputy Assistant Manager for Programs & Projects. “The FIRP has been a huge success. The investment made through the program will be paying dividends for decades to come through increased reliability in our operations."
The FIRP was established in 2002 with a mission to restore, rebuild and revitalize the physical infrastructure of the Nuclear Security Enterprise through the reduction of deferred maintenance that was impacting the operational efficiency and effectiveness of the enterprise.
Pantex took advantage of the program to help sustain dozens of buildings at the plant including some that stretched back to World War II. The most visible success of FIRP at Pantex is the roof replacement program. Many of the decades-old roofs at the plant leaked regularly and heavy rains impacted critical weapons work. While replacing the roofs through FIRP Pantex took the opportunity to install energy efficient roofing including “Cool Roofs” which reflect the sun’s rays and reduce energy usage, resulting in an energy savings of approximately 70 percent.
Other FIRP projects included replacement of obsolete fire alarm panels, upgrades to radio capabilities, construction of a record storage facility and upgrades to gas and electrical distribution systems. Five new facilities totaling 71,000 square feet were constructed under FIRP, replacing older facilities that were later demolished.