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Workforce reductions loom at MOX construction site

Thursday, July 12, 2012 7:01 PM
Last updated 10:25 PM
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 Staffing reductions are under way at the construction site of the mixed oxide fuel facility at Savannah River Site.

“These reductions are being accomplished in cooperation with local union officials, primarily on evening shifts,” said Bryan Wilkes, a spokesman for Shaw AREVA MOX Services, the main contractor for the National Nuclear Security Administration’s $4.8 billion nuclear project.

The number of workers at the site – which has averaged about 2,800 in recent weeks – will drop to about 2,700 soon, with more changes likely as portions of the project are completed and other phases begin. "Our employee numbers are always approximate and fluctuate based on construction needs," he said.

“Just recently, our technical support building has been completed, and the main process building’s exterior will be finished later this year,” he said. “Over the next three months, MOX Services plans to reduce its construction and support staff.”

The plant is designed to convert plutonium from surplus nuclear bombs into fuel rods for commercial power reactors. So far, more than 19,000 tons of rebar have been installed along with 118,000 cubic yards of concrete poured at the MOX project.

The facility, which is expected to be licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, should be complete in 2016 with operations expected to continue into the 2030s.

Once operation of the completed facility begins, the project will employ about 1,000 workers.

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