Client: Los Alamos National Laboratory
Location: Los Alamos, New Mexico
Lopez Engineering, Inc (LEI) was subcontracted by ARES Corporation to partially upgrade the electrical distribution system of Building 1 at Technical Area (TA) 50 at Los Alamos National Laboratories in Los Alamos, New Mexico. The existing electrical equipment was past its useful life and it was becoming difficult to obtain replacement parts for the equipment. Electrical equipment replaced include a 300 kVA dry-type transformer, a switchgear, six Motor Control Centers (MCCs), ten lighting panelboards, two 45 kVA dry-type transformers, and two power conditioners. The distribution equipment served various lighting panelboards, motor loads, lighting branch circuits, and power branch circuits.
Through the electrical upgrade, two of the MCCs were eliminated in favor of a switchboard type construction. This approach was chosen since the existing MCCs did not serve any motor loads, only lighting panels.
One of the project goals was to limit any outages to the industrial motor loads in the building since Building 1 is a critical facility for TA 50. A detailed Sequence of Construction was developed so that new electrical equipment was installed before the existing equipment was removed. New parallel feeders were installed so that the new equipment was operational and the existing loads could be transferred to the new equipment with a nominal electrical outage. New feeders to lighting panelboards were installed, rather than splicing and extending the existing feeders. New branch circuits were installed up to the first device in the run. Once the existing loads had been transferred to the new electrical equipment, the existing electrical equipment was removed. The space previously occupied by the old electrical equipment was then used to install new equipment for the next stage of the upgrade.