SRS stimulus jobs fading away

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Savannah River Site’s stimulus-funded workforce has begun to shrink as the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act enters its final 11 months.

“A lot of these folks were brought here through subcontractors, and they were assigned to specific projects that may have ended,” said Rick McLeod, executive director of the SRS Community Reuse Organization – an economic development group working with the U.S. Energy Department on worker transition plans.

The site created almost 3,000 short-term jobs with a $1.6 billion windfall that was to be spent by next September.
The money was allocated to projects such as decommissioning two defunct reactors, packing and shipping of nuclear waste, demolishing an old cooling tower and the removal of obsolete buildings and facilities.

Employment through the program peaked in April, when the site’s contractor – Savannah River Nuclear Solutions – had about 2,200 stimulus workers onsite.

Since then, however, the number has fallen by about 900 to a current stimulus-funded workforce of about 1,300 and the decline will continue into next year.

Completed projects include the K Area cooling tower demolition, a $9 million project that temporarily employed 75 workers. The $1.4 million demolition of a small arms training center and the removal and cleanup of buildings in M Area have also been completed.

Major projects that remain under way include grouting in P and R reactors, a $185 million project; a $25 million cleanup project in the P Area ash basin; treatment of soil contaminated with tritium; and a major transuranic waste disposition project that will cost about $350 million.

As the remaining projects are completed, the number of workers will fluctuate, said Jim Giusti, an Energy Department spokesman at the site, who added that a few projects may not be finished until early 2012.

“Due to the short-term nature of job creation under the Recovery Act, and the anticipated completion of certain cleanup activities at the site, the Department of Energy expects a decrease in the number of workers employed at SRS for cleanup between now and 2012,” he said. “However, no final decision about timing or the numbers has been made.”

Although large numbers of workers were brought to the area for temporary jobs that will end, their experience at the site will help them find other positions, McLeod said.

“There will be a lot of construction jobs in this area, and also professional and technician type jobs,” he said. “One thing that will help these workers is that – as Recovery Act workers – they have been introduced to the nuclear culture, with its fitness for duty and safety requirements. It provides them a step up on other folks who may not already have that initial foundation.”

The Community Reuse Organization will help with a transition plan the Energy Department hopes to have available in coming months. “We don’t know the specifics right now, and may not know for several months,” McLeod said. “But we’re committed and working with DOE and the site complex for whatever transition plans we can come up with.”

Savannah River Site’s $1.615 billion allocation was the second-largest among 18 Energy Department facilities that shared $6 billion in stimulus funds. Hanford in Richland, Wash., received $1.633 billion.

Reach Rob Pavey at (706) 868-1222, ext. 119 or rob.pavey@augustachronicle.com.

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chascush
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chascush 10/22/10 - 06:34 pm
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‘The site created almost

‘The site created almost 3,000 short-term jobs with a $1.6 billion windfall that was to be spent by next September.’
The private sector could have created at least 5,000 permanent jobs with $1.6 billion. This was used as a slush fund for SC Rep Clyburn. Most of the jobs went too Clyburn supporters. This is just another example of the stupidity of the Hussein administration.

Nightwing
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Nightwing 10/22/10 - 06:40 pm
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Unless real jobs are created

Unless real jobs are created in the private sector, it is just so much "smoke & mirrors."

ameliaf
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ameliaf 10/22/10 - 07:09 pm
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The private sector can only

The private sector can only create jobs when people again have money to spend on whatever product or service the private sector creates. It is the chicken and egg problem - no jobs until there is consumption, no consumption until there are jobs.

These projects needed to get done. It is a federal facility. It should not have taken "stimulus money" to fund projects that were the responsibility of the federal government anyway. Should we have waited for a better time? We had better times and didn't do it when the times were good.

If we are going to spend stimulus money - and, despite all the rancor about having done it, most economists say it kept us from sinking into down-right depression - at least jobs were done that needed to get done. Savannah River nuclear power is part of the infrastructure that needed repairs, upgrades, clean-ups.

I want them to keep spending stimulus dollars and repair the failing bridges and dams. Send some money to Atlanta to replace the century old water mains. Maybe some federal dollars can be used to build a water storage facility in north Georgia - the courts have ruled Atlanta area is illegally taking water from Lake Lanier and has until 2012 to resolve the water war with Alabama and Florida - a fight that has gone on for decades. It is going to take tens of millions for Georgia to get in compliance with Justice Department mandates to clean up our mental health services. Some of our jails are also under court watch because they are overcrowded, dirty, and dangerous, even to the criminals incarcerated in them.

Every one of those projects is something that needs to get done and everyone of them means jobs for people.

Insider Information
4009
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Insider Information 10/22/10 - 07:18 pm
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Shocker! Breaking News...

Shocker! Breaking News... When the money runs out, so do the jobs.
Anyone who believed the stimulus package hoax needs to be warned about those e-mails from the Saudi prince.

corgimom
32523
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corgimom 10/22/10 - 07:41 pm
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Insider Information, they are

Insider Information, they are too busy dealing with their distant relatives dying in Nigeria, or winning the lottery in England- which I've already won several times.

chascush
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chascush 10/22/10 - 07:47 pm
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If we are going to spend

If we are going to spend stimulus money - and, despite all the rancor about having done it, most economists say it kept us from sinking into down-right depression - at least jobs were done that needed to get done.’
Now I know how Hussein got elected. The liberals will believe anything.

Insider Information
4009
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Insider Information 10/22/10 - 08:03 pm
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If economists can predict

If economists can predict that we would have had a recession without the "stimulus," how is it that these same economists couldn't predict the recession?

Do you want to blindly believe "experts" or do you want to start using common sense?

dani
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dani 10/22/10 - 09:02 pm
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Wow. When reality sets

Wow. When reality sets in.....oh my!

Chillen
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Chillen 10/22/10 - 09:04 pm
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The stimulus money has just

The stimulus money has just postponed the inevitable. Now that its running out we will finally pay the piper and this recession will really worsen.

I wish we'd just taken our lumps in 2008. We'd be climbing out of it by now instead of dreading it's arrival.

chascush
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chascush 10/22/10 - 09:17 pm
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Chillen, ‘I wish we'd just

Chillen, ‘I wish we'd just taken our lumps in 2008. We'd be climbing out of it by now instead of dreading it's arrival.’
You are correct. We were in a hole in 08 but Hussein has used a backhoe to dig it deeper.

bbroadcasting
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bbroadcasting 10/22/10 - 09:24 pm
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Clyburn is the biggest race

Clyburn is the biggest race baiter there is Carolina. He keeps on doing what keeps in office. Nag. Despise him.

johnston.cliff
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johnston.cliff 10/22/10 - 09:28 pm
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The temporary "stimulus" were

The temporary "stimulus" were just more temporary government supported by unsustainable confiscatory taxes...which still have to be paid, plus the interest. These jobs were nothing more than a waste of taxpayer money. A vote buying scheme used to trick the easily tricked.
Well, the Dems will get their comeuppance in the next two elections cycles. If the Repubs continue to move toward conservative constitutionalism, the Dems will suffer for the next several decades.

HollyHill
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HollyHill 10/22/10 - 10:03 pm
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The one thing that everyone

The one thing that everyone is forgetting or just not saying is that 95% of these jobs were taken by "outsiders". I see vehicle tags from Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina, Michigan, etc. going down highway 19 and 125 to the site. NONE of these employees have changed their vehicle tags to the state they have been living in for two years. SC law states that if you are living and working in the state, even if it is a 2nd residence, you are supposed to get a SC tag and registration. This is tax dollars that are not being collected. Why hasn't someone inforced this law. I just wonder why there were so many outsiders hired and so few locals hired. Smells like a kickback to me. Also, there is a MAJOR investigation ongoing about per diem fraud. One local contractor has already been forced to close and all of their contracts were given to other contractors. DOE needs to police these contractors and their practices more closely. Seems like a lot of SC and GA unemployed workers got cheated. Just my opinion.

chascush
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chascush 10/22/10 - 10:28 pm
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bbroadcasting, ‘Clyburn is

bbroadcasting, ‘Clyburn is the biggest race baiter there is Carolina.’
The way the courts gerrymandered the districts the only way Clyburn will not be reelected is if he dies and even then he might win.

Indigo
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Indigo 10/23/10 - 12:39 am
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sigh - 700 billions

sigh - 700 billions dollars............ lasted 11 months?

thanks ooo-b-a-mmma for the change we can believe in!

dani
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dani 10/23/10 - 08:55 am
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I know a few locals who were

I know a few locals who were hired and then only if they l had a college degree. I don't know if this was true for all jobs.

chascush
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chascush 10/23/10 - 09:15 am
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dani, ‘I know a few locals

dani, ‘I know a few locals who were hired and then only if they l had a college degree.’
When someone ask if the temps could pass security clearance one person in the Aiken paper said, ‘they don’t need too because they clock-in and sit in trailer offices until time to clock-out.

chascush
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chascush 10/23/10 - 09:20 am
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Hollyhill, ‘One local

Hollyhill, ‘One local contractor has already been forced to close and all of their contracts were given to other contractors.’
Probably one of Clyburn’s supporters, many were given to companies that were unqualified because they were Clyburn supporters. .

ameliaf
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ameliaf 10/23/10 - 04:03 pm
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We will be climbing out of

We will be climbing out of this recession for years. Anyone who thinks this is a slam dunk of just don't spend for a few year and let banks and the auto industry fail and - wow- problem gone - that is dilusional.

Infrastructure is our roads, dams, bridges, nuclear facilities and other military facilities, power lines, sewer lines, water lines, parks, government buildings, schools. We have let it go downhill in the good years - in part because we get wowed by the new and buy the latest and greatest rather than repair the old, in part because of crooked politicians, in part because we are not willing to pay the taxes to keep it up.

We fix it now or we fix it later. For years we have chosen "later." When is the time? "Not now" many say, while we are in a recession, but it was also "not now" when we were not in a recession. The best time could be in a recession, when, instead of paying unemployment, we pay for those who are unemployed to work on infrastructure repair.

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