The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)—a semi-autonomous agency within the U. S. Department of Energy (DoE)—is responsible for the management and security of the nation’s nuclear weapons, nuclear nonproliferation and naval reactor programs—serious work, indeed. Its mission is to:
- Manage the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile;
- Reduce the global danger from weapons of mass destruction and promote international nuclear safety and nonproliferation;
- Provide the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion plants and ensure the safe and reliable operation of those plants; and
- Support U.S. leadership in science and technology.
The agency includes the former Offices of Defense Programs, Nonproliferation and National Security and Naval Reactors. Established by Congress in 2000, it was reorganized and streamlined in 2002.
The NNSA’s nuclear security enterprises are spread through eight sites in six states, including three national laboratories—Los Alamos and Sandia in New Mexico and Lawrence Livermore in California—that conduct leading-edge scientific research. Other NNSA facilities include the Albuquerque Complex; the Kansas City Plant; the Nevada National Security Site; the Pantex Plant outside Amarillo, Tex.; the Savannah River Site near Aiken, S.C.; and the Y-12 National Security Complex near Oak Ridge, Tenn. NNSA relies on contractors to manage day-to-day site operations and to adhere to Department of Energy policies when operating the laboratories, production plants, and other facilities at these sites, which are overseen by federally run site offices. The site offices report directly to NNSA headquarters, which is responsible for all strategic and program planning, budgeting and oversight of research, development and nonproliferation activities. The agency’s headquarters is located within DoE headquarters at 1000 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C.
On Jan. 23, 2013, the NNSA’s Kansas City Plant will begin the carefully orchestrated task of moving manufacturing, laboratory and office equipment from its current location at the Bannister Federal Complex to a newly constructed, smaller and more efficient National Security Campus eight miles south at Botts Road and Highway 150 in South Kansas City. The 19-month-long move—which is expected to be one of the largest and most complex relocation efforts in the nation—will involve approximately 2,800 pieces of large equipment and more than 40,000 moving crates, which will fill about 2,600 semi trucks. The new facility will consist of an office building, two manufacturing buildings, a secure manufacturing building, a central utilities plant and a data center.