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Federal leaders, community help PNNL mark completion of $300 million replacement facilities project

April 19, 2011 Share This!

Replacement buildings will house 750 staff; enable chemistry, materials, biology advancements

  • Physical Sciences Facility on the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory main campus, and the Hanford 300 Area in the background.

  • The Biological Sciences Facility and the Computational Sciences Facility were dedicated in the fall of 2009. The new facilities will enable discoveries in biological, computational and subsurface science and developments in bioenergy, carbon sequestration and homeland security.

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RICHLAND, Wash. – Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, three federal agencies and the Tri-Cities community celebrated the completion of the largest construction project in PNNL's 46-year history at a ceremony today on the PNNL campus. 

The Capability Replacement Laboratory project broke ground in 2008 and includes seven new buildings on PNNL's main campus in north Richland.  It also includes extension of the operating life of four buildings utilized by PNNL on the nearby Hanford Site. 

The replacement facilities will allow PNNL to maintain and grow vital science, energy and national security programs funded by the Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration, Department of Homeland Security, National Institutes of Health and others.

The new and renovated facilities replace laboratory and office space PNNL has been using in Hanford's 300 Area for several decades.  That space must be vacated to make way for environmental cleanup activities at Hanford. 

In total, the combined new and renovated replacement facilities cost more than $300 million and house 750 PNNL staff.   

"These state-of-the-art facilities will allow PNNL to make important scientific discoveries in chemistry, materials and biology.  They also will significantly enhance PNNL's strong science base and enable advances in areas of critical importance to our country — energy, the environment and national security," said William Brinkman, director of the Department of Energy's Office of Science in Washington, D.C.  

"In particular, these facilities will enable experimental and computational research that will lead to novel energy solutions, reduce America's dependence on imported oil and help prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.  In short, they will make our nation safer and cleaner."

"The Capability Replacement Laboratory project is essential to advancing our laboratory's science and technology agenda, and it is critical to retaining and expanding upon the advanced capabilities and expertise that we've worked so hard to develop here in Richland since 1965," added PNNL Director Mike Kluse.  "These replacement facilities are an important public investment in advancing scientific discovery to meet some of the biggest issues facing our nation today."

Speakers at today's event included Brinkman, Kluse and Anne Harrington, deputy administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation at the National Nuclear Security Administration; James Johnson, director of the Department of Homeland Security's Office of National Laboratories; and Julie Erickson, acting manager of DOE's Pacific Northwest Site Office.

Of the total funding, $224 came from the federal government including $99 million from DOE's Office of Science, $69 million from NNSA and $56 from DHS.  A unique public-private partnership brought an additional $77 million of private funds to the project.


Background Information

The Physical Sciences Facility

The PSF is home to about 250 staff who support PNNL's national and homeland security, and energy research missions.  The $224 million, 200,000-squre-foot complex comprises several separate buildings containing unique, state-of-the-art equipment.  In the Materials Science & Technology Laboratory, PNNL scientists develop and test high-performance materials used in next-generation energy, construction, and transportation technologies and systems. At the Radiation Detection Laboratory and the Ultra-Trace Laboratory, PNNL scientists develop and apply radiation detection methods needed for identifying weapons of mass destruction and terrorist activities, and in support of international treaties and agreements.

The Large Detector Laboratory and accompanying Radiation Portal Monitoring Test Track are used, in part, to develop and test radiation detection technologies designed to be deployed at U.S. borders and ports of entry.  The Underground Lab is located 40 feet below ground and supports important homeland and national security missions including the development and advancement of radiation detection technologies.

A joint venture between Lydig Construction Inc. of Spokane, Wash., and George A. Grant Inc. of Richland, Wash., constructed the PSF while Apollo Construction Inc. of Kennewick, Wash., had the contract to pour the building's foundation and erect structural steel.  The City of Richland provided the utilities infrastructure for the new facility using $5 million in funds provided by a grant from the state of Washington.

The PSF incorporates many sustainable features and will consume 30% less water and substantially less energy when compared to standard code compliant designed laboratories.  A substantial portion of the building's electrical energy comes from green power purchased with Renewable Energy Certificates.  The PSF boasts numerous features designed to save energy and reduce its impact on the environment including variable air volume fume hoods, variable frequency driven fans, pumps and chillers; high efficiency condensing hot water boilers, a heat recovery system, and energy efficient lighting and controls.   Other sustainable concepts include water efficient landscaping, an environmentally-sensitive stormwater management system, use of low emitting building materials, designs and products that reduce light pollution and the "heat island effect."  The staff and visitor parking lot contain preferred parking spots for low emitting, fuel-efficient vehicles as well as those cars and vans involved in pools.

Biological Sciences Facility & Computational Sciences Facility

Combined, the BSF and CSF cost $77 million and house about 300 staff who support PNNL's research in biological systems science and data-intensive computing.  These facilities, which opened in October 2009, are enabling discoveries in biological, computational and subsurface science as well as developments in bio-energy, carbon sequestration and homeland security.

The Cowperwood Company, a real estate development company headquartered in New York City, privately financed the buildings and is leasing them to Battelle, which operates PNNL for DOE.  CTL Capital, an investment banking firm based in New York City, structured the financing for these facilities and the Seattle office of KMD Architects, based in San Francisco, designed the buildings.  D.E. Harvey Builders, based in Houston, served as the general contractor and led construction.

The Biological Sciences Facility and Computational Sciences Facility is one of the nation's most energy efficient laboratory complexes.  Together, they are consuming 30% less water and over 30% less energy when compared to standard code compliant designed laboratories.  And almost 78 percent of all the materials used in the facilities' construction were recycled or saved for future manufacturing products or processes.  Additionally, 35-percent of the building's electrical energy is from green power.  In early 2010, the buildings received a LEED Gold Certificate, one of only a small handful of laboratories in the country to receive that designation by the U.S. Green Building Council and the Green Building Certification Institute.

300 Area Renovations

Four 300 Area buildings were renovated to extend their operating life and to absorb nuclear, national security, environmental and other research capabilities previously contained in other 300 Area facilities.  These facilities, which house about 200 PNNL staff, include the Radiochemical Processing Laboratory (325 Building), the Life Sciences I Building (331 Building), and the 318 and 350 Buildings.

Tags: Operations, Facilities

Interdisciplinary teams at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory address many of America's most pressing issues in energy, the environment and national security through advances in basic and applied science. Founded in 1965, PNNL employs 4,300 staff and has an annual budget of about $950 million. It is managed by Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy. For more information, visit the PNNL News Center, or follow PNNL on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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