The Navy has made significant advancements in the development of the training program, and its student base has expanded.
Project: Nuclear Power Training Unit
Location: Charleston, S.C.
Client: Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southeast
In the mid-1950s, the U.S. Navy's first nuclear power training program was established to instruct sailors how to operate submarines with nuclear reactors on board. In the decades since, the Navy has made significant advancements in the development of the training program, and its student base has expanded.
That first formal educational setting was a pilot course for six officers and 14 enlisted men. Today, the Nuclear Power Training Unit (NPTU) in Charleston, S.C., trains and qualifies hundreds of enlisted sailors, officers and civilians annually in nuclear power plant operation and maintenance of surface ships and submarines.
Burns & McDonnell is working with Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Southeast to design a site that will accommodate an influx of students from the NPTU Ballston Spa, N.Y., facility, and ultimately house all training operations for about two-thirds of the sailors completing the program.
The project includes design of two new 90,000-square-foot training buildings, a new security facility, and a 300-foot extension of an existing pier and repurposing an existing building. The pier extension will support the inclusion of a third operating nuclear submarine for sailor training when the NPTU Ballston Spa facilities become unavailable.
"The project has presented numerous challenges," says Jerry Shirley, Burns & McDonnell project manager. "Our biggest driver is the need to continue training students while constructing the project."
"This is a very intensive training program that is vital to the Navy's continued operations," says Dan Kammerer, the NPTU recapitalization and training integration manager for program manager Bechtel Marine Propulsion Corp. "Avoiding conflicts with planned contractor activities so training can continue without impact during construction requires careful coordination throughout the project."
The project site is also challenging. "We are working within tight space constraints on land that is bounded by wetlands, making the project design and phasing even more complex," Shirley says.
Burns & McDonnell is also coordinating the efforts of others. Those include SPAWAR — a space and aeronautical warfare group that develops security systems — coordinating design of site, building and pier security; the Navy Crane Center; and the designers and builders of simulators to be built into one of the training facilities and the new moored training ship. Construction is set to begin in summer 2014 and will take about three years.
For more information, contact Jerry Shirley, 816-822-3460.