The announcement was made to employees Monday in a memo from Dwayne Wilson, the president and CEO of the largest contractor at Savannah River Site.
Workers whose schedules will be cut from 40 to 32 hours per week will be notified by March 15, Wilson said, and workers chosen for furloughs will be notified next week.
“Due to the uncertain and potential fluctuating amount of funding which may be available to SRNS, further furloughs may be necessary,” Wilson said. “We recognize the difficult financial implications of any furlough and we will make every effort to keep you informed.”
The specifics of the budget-cutting measures are still being worked out, with no specific time span determined for the furloughs, company officials said, adding that the reduced work schedules are designed to possibly lessen the impact and duration of furloughs.
The Fluor Corp.-led management contractor is the largest employer at Savannah River Site, a Department of Energy operation, and oversees facilities including Savannah River National Laboratory.
The federally imposed sequestration cuts came as no surprise.
In a Feb. 13 report by House Appropriations Committee Democrats, analysts said the impact at SRS would fall mainly on environmental management and nuclear waste cleanup programs and cause the furlough of more than 1,000 workers for about four months.
Potential consequences at SRS could include suspension of plutonium processing at H Canyon, further delays in the disposition of liquid waste in underground tanks and a halt to radioactive waste shipments from South Carolina to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico, the report said.
The issue revolves around a missed March 1 deadline to resolve a congressional budget stalemate.
The Office of Management and Budget now must sequester $85 billion in fiscal year 2013 spending as mandated by the Budget Control Act, which comes on top of $1.5 trillion in discretionary cuts already enacted, the House Appropriations Committee report said.