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Repairs to a security system that protects the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s plutonium complex at Technical Area 55 is taking longer than expected.
Lab spokesman Fred DeSousa says the planned December completion date of the security system for the lab’s plutonium complex has slipped to February.
“Improvements in project management have been made. Construction is nearing completion and we’ve finished the testing, acceptance and verification phases in a number of areas,” DeSousa said in a statement.
“We expect to complete the project within the total project cost of $244 million although official closeout of project documentation will not occur until mid-February. Thanks to regular collaboration with our NNSA partners, we remain committed to delivering a state-of-art set of buildings and systems that will help ensure the continuing security of our plutonium facilities.”
The February timeline means that construction completion, testing, verification, and closeout of project documentation.
DeSousa says the work is taking longer than expected because additional problems were found as work was done over the past year.
The work includes repairs to a newly built network of fences, intrusion detection systems and cameras.
A project to upgrade the facility’s security was nearly complete when officials discovered construction issues in late 2012.
The Nuclear Weapons and Materials Monitor obtained a preliminary analysis of the project’s problems last year.
The analysis stated that “the project spun out of control as it faced issues with technology and was hindered by contractor interface issues stemming from the project being broken up into five pieces — and didn’t have the proper project management tools to fix or understand problems as they arose.”
According to the trade publication, the most egregious problems were represented by the improper installation of fiber optic cables. The cables were supposed to be physically separated, but when they were installed in 2010, they were instead routed together. The problem wasn’t discovered until September, according to the lab’s estimate at completion submitted to the NNSA two months later. Other issues include problems with the perimeter lighting system and a perimeter denial system.