SRS aims to use retirees' wisdom

AIKEN --- Hundreds of Savannah River Site retirees were told Tuesday that their help is needed to mentor thousands of new workers headed to SRS through federal stimulus funding.

"We are looking for your support," Chuck Muns, the president and CEO of Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, told the crowd at the SRS Retiree Association's annual meeting at St. Angela Parish Hall in Aiken.

Mr. Muns, whose company is the site's main contractor, said that with the influx of new workers to fill as many as 3,000 jobs, a "safety culture" must be maintained at the site.

"They have to learn this culture," he said after the speech. "It's not easy work."

Mr. Muns said the retirees' knowledge could prove invaluable to new workers.

Mr. Muns also spoke in some detail about the site's plans for the $1.615 billion in stimulus money.

He said the money will be used for cleanup activities that ultimately will reduce the industrial area of the site by 40 percent by 2011.

He said that area could then become available for other projects, possibly focused on energy independence.

He said the work was originally planned for a decade from now, but with the stimulus money, "We now can speed it up."

Also at Tuesday's meeting were U.S. Reps. Joe Wilson and Paul Broun, both Republicans. They pledged to fight to provide the retirees with proper pension and retirement benefits. They also thanked the retirees for their involvement with SRS during the Cold War.

"You won the war against Soviet Russia," Dr. Broun told them.

Reach Preston Sparks at (803) 648-1395, ext. 110, or preston.sparks@augustachronicle.com.

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