Aug. 17, 2001

Door opens to new explosives test era at Site 300

With the symbolic unsealing and opening of the 22-ton mechanized door, more than 200 dignitaries, employees and community guests witnessed Wednesday’s dedication of Site 300’s new Contained Firing Facility (CFF).

The CFF, with its 2880 cubic meter firing chamber, allows Lab scientists to conduct indoor high-explosives tests with multiple advanced diagnostics, while containing all waste material from the explosion.

Speaking from a dais in the outer support facility, Gen. John A. Gordon, administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), said of the new facility, "This kind of facility is a wonderful contribution to stockpile stewardship. We are making the best use of the funds we have, tearing down the old and outdated, and building the new. But the real focus of stockpile stewardship is the unique people who do the work we have to do, and will continue to man the experiments in the future."

Lab Director Bruce Tarter told those assembled that the CFF is "the model for a 10-year initiative to modernize the aging nuclear weapons program, and now the anchor for operations at Site 300."
Deputy Director for Strategic Operations Michael Anastasio opened the ceremony by remarking briefly on the history of the plans that became reality in the CFF.

"This a proud moment," he said, "Ten years ago, I remember participating in the decision to invest in environmental protection. I’m glad we pushed for the CFF; it provides a basis for operations at Site 300 for years into the future."
Anastasio spoke of the partnerships that had come together to bring about the completion of this massive project. "This facility represents the partnership between data gathering and simulation capability that is so very central to what we do at the Lab," he said. "It also represents the partnership of the program with the environment and our community.

He especially emphasized the partnership between the Lab and NNSA to bring in this project on time and under budget. He went on to thank NNSA’s Barry Williams and "the many team members who worked so hard to make this project a success."

UC Vice President for Lab Management John McTague said of the CF: "This facility is a commitment to the future security of our nation. It marks the successful collaboration between UC, DOE and NNSA. With the CFF and (LANL’s) DART facility, we have unparalleled human and technical resources in high explosives experiments."

Also on hand to add to the ceremony was Camille Yuan-Soo Hoo, of NNSA’s Oakland office, who said the CFF "contributes to being a good neighbor, to protecting wildlife and the environment." She also announced that the entire project would be submitted for a Deputy Secretary’s Award for Project Management.

Finally, CFF project manager Rick Visoria acknowledged the unfailing teamwork that made the entire project so successful. He credited the work to "a very cohesive team."