Operator preparing transition

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Savannah River Site's primary contractor will establish a "transition center" in Aiken to offer job placement and unemployment services to workers idled during upcoming layoffs that are part of a plan to cull 1,400 positions.

Although 328 people agreed to voluntary separations in December, Savannah River Nuclear Solutions will announce the details of its first round of involuntary separations by the end of this month, company spokesman Will Callicott said.

"The plan approved by the Department of Energy in November gives us the authority to decrease by up to 1,400 employees by the beginning of fiscal year 2012, which is in September," he said. "We have finished the voluntary phase and the involuntary phases will be on two occasions: the first is later in February and a second phase in August."

An exact date for announcing the layoffs hasn't been set, but it will be "within a fairly short window of time later in February," Callicott said.

Savannah River Nuclear Solutions is also arranging to open a transition center as soon as possible after the announcements.

"We haven't opened it yet, but there will be a transition center in downtown Aiken," he said. "People would have the opportunity to go there and meet with various state agencies, and we will also be inviting potential employers to come there to talk to people."

Savannah River Nuclear Solutions had 6,492 employees on Jan. 1, making it the largest of several employers at the site.


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