National Ignition Facility (NIF), a project sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), has been awarded the Project Management Institute’s PMI Project of the Year Award. This award recognizes the work of a project team that shows superior performance, excellent project management execution, and innovation in the use of project management technology.
The NIF, which was constructed at and led by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, CA, is the worlds largest and highest-energy laser. The project brought together representatives from governments, academia, and industry. It’s also the largest scientific construction project ever completed by the DOEs NNSA. The facility has the goal of achieving self-sustaining nuclear fusion in the laboratory for the first time. According to the DOE, fusion power has many of the benefits of long-term renewable energy sources, such as being a sustainable energy supply compared to presently utilized sources and emitting no greenhouse gases.
The project took 13 years. It was unitiated in 1996 and completed in March 2009. It consists of 192 giant lasers, housed in a 10-story building the size of three football fields, and capable of delivering at least 50 times more energy than any previous laser system. The facility contains more than 3,000 pieces of amplifier glass, 8,000 large optics, and 30,000 small optics that have been assembled into 6,206 replaceable units.
“We had a firm deadline for construction so equipment could be installed and completed,” said Edward Moses, principal associate director for the NIF and Photon Science Directorate at the lab. “It was imperative to have proper processes and standards in place so we could institute a high level of technical and scientific project integration with an international, interdisciplinary consortium of scientists, engineers, vendors and suppliers. We are honored that PMI recognized the hard work, collaboration and dedication of the entire team that worked to create NIF.”
The project was completed three weeks ahead of schedule and about $2 million under budget.
The award was presented this week during PMI’s Global Congress in Washington, DC.
Photo credit: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory