Company Lands $58 Million Contract for National Ingnition Facility
Nielsen Dillingham Builders, a division of Hacienda-based Dillingham Construction, has been awarded a $58.4 million dollar contract for construction of the target building of the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
The NIF will permit scientists to conduct research on a variety of topics, including the use of sustainable fusion reactions for the creation of electrical power. Construction of the facility is expected to be concluded in 2001.
The NIF's main feature will be an area in which 192 separate high-power lasers will ignite small fusion targets. These experiments will allow the study of physical processes at extremely high temperatures and pressures, up to 100,000,000C and 100 billion times atmospheric pressure. These conditions are of great interest to scientists such as astrophysicists, because these are the same conditions which exist, for example, in the interior of stars. The NIF is the only facility that will allow the direct study of fusion processes.
The NIF will also play a key role in the Department of Energy's Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program, which seeks to verify the safety, reliability, and performance of U.S. nuclear weapons in lieu of underground nuclear testing.
Nielsen Dillingham has been awarded several contracts for construction of the NIF, including an $11.7 million contract for fabrication of the shell of the laser building and a $14.5 million contract for the optics assembly building, which includes a Class 100 clean room in which the lasers are assembled.
"From our perspective, we look at this project as having great benefits to the scientific community and it's also something that our people are going to find extremely challenging," says Tom Trainor, vice president and regional manager of Nielsen Dillingham.
The containment structure, which will be located within the target building, is a good example of that challenge. Approximately 100 feet high, the structure's walls are composed of reinforced concrete between 6 and 12 feet thick.
"It has 47 blast doors, which weigh anywhere from 15,000 to 40,000 pounds, that allow access into the containment structure," adds Trainor. "Just setting the door frames is a monumental challenge."
Trainor feels his company is up to the task, however. "I think what we bring to the table is that we have people who work for us that have the specific concrete experience that this project demands," he says. "A lot of our competitors don't really have people with that background."
In addition to the new jobs which will be created when the NIF opens, Trainor reports that a number of construction jobs will be created as well.
"This latest contract alone is going to add an average of 100 construction jobs to the area per year over the next three years," he says.
Dillingham Construction has already built a number of projects in Pleasanton, including their headquarters on Inglewood Drive and the Signature Center in Hacienda, the ValleyCare Medical Center, the Pleasanton Holiday Inn, and a project for Sandia Laboratories called the Combustion Research Facility.
Nielsen Dillingham is the fastest growing of the six Dillingham companies and serves as their mainland commercial and industrial contractor, with annual revenues of approximately $325 million. Overall, Dillingham Construction brings in over $1 billion annually.
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