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Archive for Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Proposed weapons plant could save $100M annually

June 19, 2007

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— The National Nuclear Security Administration's plan to replace its Kansas City facility could result in $100 million in annual savings, an agency official said Monday.

The new $500 million plant would replace the agency's 3-million-square-foot Bannister Road facility. The savings would come from the new facility's smaller size - about a third of the old plant - and its more open layout and modern, cost-efficient operations, Mark Holecek, NNSA deputy manager, told reporters and Sen. Kit Bond on Monday.

Holecek noted that some jobs would be lost, cutting payroll costs, but said the number was not significant enough to have a major effect.

The proposed facility would be capable of "undertaking even more projects and undertaking more work that will be extremely important in securing our future and our defense capabilities," Bond, R-Mo., said after touring the current 60-year-old site and addressing employees.

The NNSA and the General Services Agency hope to submit a proposal to Congress within the next couple of weeks as they continue on-site evaluations.

The current site, managed by Honeywell Federal Manufacturing & Technologies, employs 2,600 people and makes more than 100,000 parts each year, according to Bond's office. It is not a nuclear facility, and the parts made there include simple items such as nuts and bolts and more complex items, such as radar systems.

The General Services Agency hopes to build the facility on a 185-acre agricultural site near the Richards-Gebaur Memorial Airport in south Kansas City by 2010, agency Regional Administrator Brad Scott said. He expects the NNSA would take roughly two years to move into the new site and become operational in 2012.

Bond said he and other members of Missouri's congressional delegation would work to ensure money is available in the budget for the project.

"We believe this new facility will improve flexibility, protect jobs, and put Honeywell in a position of potential growth ... right here in Kansas City," Bond said in a written statement.

Holecek said some savings from the new facility would go toward cleanup costs, which he expects to be "significant."

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