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Project Name: The Chemical Synthesis Pilot Plant at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Project Type: Industrial

General Contractor: RORE, Inc.

Location: Site 300, Tracy CA

Owner: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Project Cost:

Electrical Value: $2.6mil

Completion Date: December 2018

Scope of Work:

The Chemical Synthesis Pilot Plant at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s Site 300 near Tracy, CA has been constructed to produce specialized high explosives in kilogram quantities.  This capability enables the testing and optimization of explosive chemistry, which is needed to support the Laboratory’s primary mission of ensuring the safety and viability of the nation’s nuclear stockpile.  The Pilot Plant has been designed and constructed with a focus on safety and flexibility of operation, a highly capable system configuration, and a sophisticated process control system, all which enable both hands-on and remote operations. Recognized by LLNL for his expertise and skill, Wilhite Electric’s General Foreman Duston Dougherty provided valuable design assist for constructability and was a key part of the project’s overall success. This 16-month design-build project was continuously evolving and fast paced. Project scope required extensive Class 1 Division 1 and Class 1 Division 2 installations while complying with LLNL’s strict safety standards. Notable scope objectives completed:

  • Installed a primary control system utilizing Schneider Modicon M580 PLC with X80-series I/O devices allowing for use of Ethernet, Analog, and Digital I/O
  • Installed three primary control panels with thousands of control points and multiple vendor-supplied OEM control systems
  • Installed vendor-packaged PLC control panels and interfacing associated equipment with customer primary control system through ethernet and relay logic solutions. Some examples of this include:
  1. Four Class 1 Division 2 temperature control modules (TCMs)
  2. Exterior chiller skid
  3. Class 1 Division 2 vacuum skid
  • Installed a main network rack that allowed for control and communication of primary and secondary control panels locally and remotely
  • Removed and replaced existing utility supplied 480V Motor Control Center, as well as stand-by supplied 208v Motor Control Center
  • Provided a new 800A 480V distribution panel and 120/208v branch panels
  • Provided Class 1 Division 1 rated installations at the Pilot Plant, high explosives vault, and process cell
  • Provided Class 1 Division 2 rated installations at the mechanical process room
  • Provided intrinsically safe installations throughout the facility
  • Provided certified lightning protection system
  • Completed 3rd party NETA-certified testing for all gear, breakers, wiring, and grounding
  • Provided barrel static grounding protection in all electrically classified spaces to allow for safe handling of stored chemicals
  • Renovated the building’s fire alarm system
  • Renovated lighting and provided new lighting controls complete
  This document was prepared as an account of work sponsored by an agency of the United States government. Neither the United States government nor Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC, nor any of their employees makes any warranty, expressed or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights. Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the United States government or Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC. The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States government or Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC, and shall not be used for advertising or product endorsement purposes.   This work performed under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Energy by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory under Contract DE-AC52-07NA27344.