Firm promises easy change

Savannah River Site's new management firm pledged Tuesday to seek an orderly transition for the 7,000 employees it will oversee starting Aug. 1.

"It's now 80 days away, and we're ahead of schedule," said Chuck Munns, the president and CEO of Savannah River Nuclear Solutions LLC.

Mr. Munns told about 400 employees who gathered for a town hall meeting at Bell Auditorium that most employees will see few changes when the corporation begins its five-year, $4 billion contract to oversee a host of nuclear programs including the Savannah River National Laboratory.

Responding to questions from employees and contractors, Mr. Munns said all maintenance and operations workers will be offered jobs, and many will have their same jobs. Exceptions include about 100 "unprotected" management positions.

Though the new manager plans to maintain the site's excellent reputation for safety, security and timely shipment of nuclear materials, there are some definite changes, said Mr. Munns, a retired Navy vice admiral who once commanded a U.S. nuclear submarine squadron. The Savannah River lab and veteran scientists will play a role in the changing face of nuclear science and evolving technology, he said.

"We also plan to work very hard at tapping human capital and its energy," he said

About 20 senior managers of the new partnership introduced themselves to employees Tuesday, offering brief comments on their backgrounds and objectives.

Savannah River Nuclear Solutions was formed by Fluor Daniel as the senior partner with Northrop Grumman and Honeywell. The partnership was chosen by the Department of Energy over Washington Savannah River Co., which has operated the site for 18 years.

Tuesday's meeting was the first of two this week. The second will be at 6 p.m. Friday, at the USC Aiken Convocation Center, 375 Robert M. Bell Parkway in Aiken.

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

MISSION AREAS

ENVIRONMENTAL CLEANUP: Management of spent nuclear fuel, nuclear materials and non-high-level radioactive waste; deactivation and decommissioning of excess facilities; remediation of soil and groundwater. Support of the DOE national security and nonproliferation programs.

OPERATION OF THE SAVANNAH RIVER NATIONAL LABORATORY: Supports departmental environmental cleanup, energy security and national security missions.

NATIONAL NUCLEAR SECURITY: Operation of the tritium facilities, completion of the plutonium disposition program and disposition of highly enriched uranium.

Source: U.S. Department of Energy