New facility for next-generation radiation testing breaks ground at NSWC Crane

USACE - Louisville District
Published Oct. 5, 2021
Updated: Oct. 5, 2021

Leaders with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Louisville District, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division and Krempp Construction participated in the ceremonial breaking of ground, Oct. 4, 2021, which marked the start of construction for a Strategic Radiation Testing Modernization Facility at NSWC Crane. The facility, which will include Short-Pulse Gamma testing, is the first of several planned capabilities to be housed at NSWC Crane.

"It has been great collaborating with US Army Corps of Engineers on the Radiation Modernization Facility," said Dr. Angie Lewis, NSWC Crane technical director. "They bring tremendous skill and knowledge to this ongoing effort, and their continued support will ensure mission success for this critical capability. We appreciate their willingness to bring this unique testing facility to the warfighter."

The 10,000 square foot facility will provide the necessary infrastructure for next-generation testing of radiation-hardened electronic components for nuclear deterrence, missile defense and space systems. The new radiation testing capabilities provided by this project will greatly enhance the national ability to provide research, development, test and evaluation data to systems designers and manufacturers.

The project delivery team faced various challenges during the planning and design for the facility. One major aspect of the project was the development of a construction schedule that would allow for the planned turnover of the new facility in time for the delivery and installation of the Short-Pulse Gamma testing equipment. Any delay in completion of the facility would result in added storage costs for the SPG equipment and loss of testing capacity.

Another challenge was the communications with California-based SPG vendor were conducted at a distance. Discussions about lab criteria to accommodate the installation and operation of the SPG equipment were conducted virtually due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Additionally, construction of new facility needed to meet funding guidelines set by the Laboratory Revitalization Program authority. Included in the cost was a significant amount of funding for site preparation. The topography, which is made up of mostly undisturbed ground, required the removal of many trees while the surface needed to be re-graded to establish a suitable construction footprint. 

“Although there were many challenges that we had to address during our design, build, request for proposal development and advertisement phases, our PDT remained focused on completion of the new facility in advance of the delivery of the SPG equipment,” said James Cruz, project manager. “With construction phase now starting, our PDT stands ready to work with Krempp Construction to expedite resolution of any issues, especially those that have the potential to lead to time growth.”

The $6.7 million project was awarded to Krempp Construction, Inc. on April 30, 2021 and is scheduled to be completed January 2023.