KNOLLS ATOMIC POWER LABORATORY - Kesselring
West Milton, New York
Since 2009, Bechtel Marine Propulsion Corporation has operated the Bettis and Knolls Atomic Power Laboratories for the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration and the US Navy.
Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory Kesselring Site is known as "NPTU Ballston Spa" to Nucs. The General Electric Company operated the Kesselring Site under Government contract, as part of the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory (KAPL), from its inception in 1950 until 1993. In 1993, responsibility for operation of the KAPL facilities, including the Kesselring Site, was transferred to KAPL, Inc., a subsidiary of Martin Marietta Corporation. In 1995, KAPL, Inc. became a Lockheed Martin company, after the Martin Marietta and Lockheed corporations merged. The Bechtel Marine Propulsion Corporation (BMPC), under contract with the DOE and U.S. Navy, has operated the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory including the Kesselring Site, since February 2009.
The Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory (KAPL) - Kesselring, is engaged solely in research and development for the design and operation of naval nuclear propulsion plants. The Kesselring Site Operation (KSO) is located about 5 miles from Ballston Spa, NY, and 8 miles from the resort area of Saratoga Springs, NY. It is situated on approximately 3,905 acres. It operates two prototypes of submarine nuclear propulsion plants for the operational testing of new designs and new technologies under typical operating conditions before introducing them into the fleet.
By 1955 KAPL had designed a reactor that could propel a submarine for about three years of normal operations. A prototype of that first KAPL reactor was built and operated at the laboratory's Kesselring Site in West Milton, New York. The first shipboard application of the design was in the submarine SEAWOLF (SSN 575), which was commissioned in 1957.
Between 1958 and 1992 KSO contained four high power Naval Prototype reactor plants, namely the S3G, D1G, S7G, and S8G. These prototypes are essentially a section of the ship containing the power plant, or the reactor compartment and the engine room. The two oldest, S3G and D1G, which started operation in 1958 and 1962, respectively, were used for training and testing until completion of their mission in the 1990s. They have since been decommisioned and are undergoing inactivation
Current activities include operation of the S7G Modifications and Additions to Reactor Facilities (MARF) Nuclear Prototype Training Unit in Ballston Spa. The MARF and S8G prototypes began operating in 1976 and 1978, respectively, and are used primarily for naval nuclear propulsion training. These plants are also used to test reactors, reactor plant systems, and reactor steam and electric plant components. KAPL continues to train Navy nuclear propulsion plant operators at its prototype site in West Milton. KAPL has trained over 49,000 officers and enlisted personnel for the U.S. Navy since the beginning of the laboratory. Electric Boat Corp. is one of the contractors at the Kenneth A. Kesselring site in West Milton. The company refurbished the MARF and S8G nuclear reactors, with the project being completed in late 1997.
Key achievements at the Kesselring Site include testing of several generations of naval nuclear propulsion plants and training more than 46,000 nuclear plant operators and officers for the US Navy. The training of naval nuclear operators and officers includes hands-on operation of a nuclear propulsion plant. Providing sufficient trained and certified nuclear operators and officers for the Navy to ensure sufficient staffing of nuclear-powered warships is vital to the Navy’s ability to perform missions in support of national defense.