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Stimulus spending plans under way

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The U.S. Department of Energy hopes to begin spending its $6 billion share of the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act as soon as possible, and some of those dollars will come to Savannah River Site.

"Everybody wants to talk to us because we have all this money coming," said Merle Sykes, the deputy assistant secretary for program planning and budget in DOE's Office of Environmental Management.

Ms. Sykes, who spoke Tuesday to about 800 people at a Nuclear Suppliers Outreach Event in Augusta, said the stimulus funding will generate thousands of new jobs and accelerate schedules for major cleanup programs.

"We'll be concentrating on things we know how to do -- like soil and groundwater projects -- and we'll be looking to see how many jobs we can create as quickly as possible," she said.

Projects at 17 sites in 12 states have been identified as eligible for Reinvestment Act funds, she said. "We're going through a process internally right now to make sure all these projects are ready to go."

No formal announcement has been made, but an Energy Department breakdown distributed in February to the nonprofit Energy Communities Alliance indicated that SRS would receive up to $1.9 billion -- enough to create perhaps 3,000 jobs.

Although Savannah River Site is a key player in environmental cleanup, it is by no means the only area needing remediation, Ms. Sykes said.

More than 2 million acres -- an area the size of Rhode Island and Delaware -- are involved in cleanup programs. Those sites include more than 4,500 buildings, 1.5 billion pounds of nuclear materials and enough radioactive waste to fill the Louisiana Superdome.

The stimulus money will enable some projects to be completed ahead of time and will possibly shorten the life cycle of current cleanup projects that are scheduled to last until 2055-2062.

"We won't be going out of business anytime soon," Ms. Sykes said.

The program's main priorities will include tank wastes and reprocessing and safeguarding spent fuel, she said.

The economic stimulus funds, she added, will be focused on short-term investments with long-term goals.

By fast-tracking cleanup projects with stimulus money, federal properties are freed up earlier for redevelopment and new uses.

"It is our hope that the jobs we create today will be sustained in the reuse," she said. "It's a very, very key time for us."

Reach Rob Pavey at 868-1222, ext. 119 or

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patriciathomas 03/18/09 - 05:44 am
A lot of short term jobs will

A lot of short term jobs will be paid for with the stimulus money (taxes), then what?

SCEagle Eye
SCEagle Eye 03/18/09 - 06:00 am
The stimulus money will

The stimulus money will possibly mean that long-term jobs in clean-up will end sooner, thus having a negative impact on existing workers. For SRS to be on being the nation's spent fuel dump or a reprocessing site will result in massive public opposition. Like betting on a nag in the last race. As far as an "energy park" at SRS - please outline where the private money will come from as another huge public subsidy for SRS isn't in the cards. Time to move off the government dole and into the real world where the rest of us live.

Motorman5039 03/18/09 - 08:32 am
Boy I tell you, you just

Boy I tell you, you just can't satisfy some people no matter what you do...Short term jobs? $1.9 billion will go a long way in the CSRA and at SRS; besides, a short term job beats no job!!! You ask, "then what?" SELF DESTINATION is what! If you got a stimulus job, and the word is that job is short term, work it and go on interviews on your lunch break or day off, plan ahead and take steps to secure your own future..Nothing is impossible, and choice, not chance, should determine destiny..Leave your future to others, especially the government, and you deserve to be taught a lesson in SELF DESTINATION! I myself am an Eagle Scout, and I know the best practice is to BE PREPARED!!!

Riverman1 03/18/09 - 08:55 am
We better use the money to

We better use the money to figure out ways to store the waste and get ready for more waste that will be sent here. It ain't going anywhere with the Yucca Mtn. project stopped.

MyOpinion2 03/18/09 - 10:41 am
check it out both rep and

check it out both rep and dems, the way this country is really run.

jhvenier 03/18/09 - 01:06 pm
A lot of short term jobs will

A lot of short term jobs will relate to alot of long term jobs when completed. In case you have not noticed our work force is hurting, we need immediate help. The money given to SRS will also help eliminate the waste currently stored there. At least there some positive affects comng from it. I would rather see the money spent to do good than to throw it away on a lot of $500.00 toilet seats, or for Bill and Hillary to pay for their home with money the government gives them.

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