Recovery Act funds keep Fermilab wired
|Electrician Stan Kramer works at New Muon Laboratory.
Electrician Stan Kramer spent the better part of a recession-hit 2009 unemployed. Then, last March, he received the call from Arlington Electric that he was needed for a newly created job at Fermilab.
Fermilab hired Arlington to do electrical work at the New Muon Laboratory with funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
"If the NML funding didn't come through, I'd probably be laid off again," Kramer said. "Knowing where I was a year ago, having a stable job guaranteed for at least the near future is huge."
The Recovery Act has provided about $375,000 to date for electricians and electrical materials at Fermilab. The funding has given a jolt to the local job market and to several Fermilab programs.
The electrical work at NML in particular has resulted in a significantly accelerated schedule, thanks in part to two newly hired full-time electricians.
"We've been busier lately than I've seen since I've been here," said David Featherston, electrical task manager for the Particle Physics Division since July 2009. "Work has definitely picked up because of the funding."
The project leaders estimate that NML will begin initial operation later this summer and be fully operational by 2014. Scientists there will test six new superconducting radio frequency cryomodules, a technology for accelerating particle beams. The tests will support research for future accelerators such as the proposed Project X and the International Linear Collider.
One look at the interior of NML reveals the elaborate infrastructure of its electrical network. Hundreds of multi-colored bundles of individually labeled cables course down the perimeter and across the width of the 60-meter building, running on train track-like trays that hang overhead.
When the team of electricians finishes with NML, they will have run approximately 7,000 cables totaling 170 miles in length from power sources to cryomodules and from electrical racks to instrumentation for the beam.
They will also replace the 26-year-old communication and network infrastructure in the NML offices.
"NML construction is moving along very quickly," Kramer said. "It's phenomenal, and it brings hope that they'll bring in more for us to do."
-- Leah Hesla