Concrete placements completed for Los Alamos National Laboratory warehouses supporting pit mission

Warehouses will be used to assemble glove boxes and other equipment

July 20, 2023

Warehouses under construction at TA-51. The LAP4 team completed all four concrete placements in June.

In June, the Laboratory and subcontractor Hensel Phelps completed concrete placements for four warehouses that will provide more than 80,000 square feet — an area about one-and-a-half times the size of a football field — of additional storage capacity and workspace. 

Key step in supporting the pit production mission

Approximately 5,000 cubic yards of concrete were laid for the foundation. The warehouses will provide a non-radiological space for workers to receive, inspect, test, store, and integrate/assemble glove boxes and other equipment headed to the Lab’s Plutonium Facility (PF-4). The new structures will help ensure that the Laboratory has the necessary glove boxes and other equipment in place to support the mission to manufacture at least 30 pits per year.

With dozens of glove boxes and other pieces of equipment required to fulfill the pit production mission, the Los Alamos Plutonium Pit Production Project (LAP4) team understood the project needs not just storage space but also workspace — and plenty of it.

Aerial view of TA-51 warehouse construction site.

New warehouses will offer more efficient workspace

“This space will be critical to the pit mission, providing workers with safe, secure and modern workspaces where they can inspect, store, preassemble and cold test equipment before sending it into the Plutonium Facility,” said Tom Bratvold, the Lab’s senior director of Line Item Projects, who oversees the LAP4 portfolio, noting that the team is leveraging lessons learned from past projects.

So far, the Laboratory team and subcontractor Hensel Phelps have worked over 30,000 hours without a safety incident since the project began. Over the next few months, the team will construct all four warehouse frames and begin installing equipment to support lighting, security, and fire safety.

The first completed warehouse is scheduled to begin receiving equipment in the fall of 2023; the remaining three warehouses are expected to be in service in 2024.