Layoff notices coming for MOX workers

Monday, June 3, 2013 4:46 PM
Last updated Tuesday, June 4, 2013 12:24 AM
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Employees for Savannah River Site’s beleaguered mixed oxide facility could begin receiving layoff notices this week because of federal budget cuts and a possible change in direction for the government’s plutonium disposition project.

In an e-mail to workers, Shaw Areva MOX Services Pres­i­dent Kelly Trice said deep cuts in President Obama’s fiscal year 2014 budget request will reduce funding for the MOX plant and require personnel reductions by the end of the fiscal year.

The need for layoffs, he said, will trigger a federal act requiring a 60-day notice for plant closings or mass layoffs.

“The first notices to employees will occur by the end of this week and will follow over the next few months as needed to address the budget shortfall,” Trice’s e-mail said.

Trice did not disclose how many of the project’s 2,100 workers might be laid off.

The MOX facility, which is about 60 percent complete, is the cornerstone of the National Nuclear Security Administration’s plan to dispose of surplus plutonium by blending it into commercial nuclear fuel.

The plant has become increasingly expensive and behind schedule, with construction costs recently revised from $4.9 billion to $7.7 billion. Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Energy proposed cutting $132.7 million, or 29.3 percent, from the project’s 2014 construction budget, citing rising costs that might have rendered the plant “unaffordable.”

In addition to slowing construction, the department also plans to “assess alternatives” to MOX – a sign that critics believe could herald the abandonment of a facility where more than $4 billion has already been spent.

Trice said there are scenarios that could reduce the impact of budget cuts. He said that in the case of a budget standoff in Congress, a resolution to keep the government running would “most likely keep all government spending at current levels, including MOX.”

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GiantsAllDay 06/03/13 - 05:01 pm
Just imagine all the good

Just imagine all the good that could have been done in the world with $8B

Riverman1 06/03/13 - 05:16 pm
Oct. 1

Oct. 1st is close. I wonder how many will be laid off?

Fiat_Lux 06/03/13 - 05:42 pm
These government idiots will spend more

than enough to completely finish this project just looking for alternatives, and still nothing will be done.

Par for the course.

SCEagle Eye
SCEagle Eye 06/03/13 - 05:48 pm
MOX madness

Besides the far over-budget MOX plant construction costs, keep in mind the $540 million/year in MOX plant operating costs that AREVA is eager to get its hands on. First, Congress massively runs up the debt by wasteful spending on projects such as on MOX (and so much more) and then Senator Lindsey Graham makes sure that a big hunk of the money is exported to France. And, Graham doesn't call for an investigation into the MOX mess right in his front yard. See anything wrong with this picture?

Bubba 06/03/13 - 08:50 pm

Where to begin? The government doesn't have a plan to look at alternatives. Graham just as much as squeezed that info from some poor soul weeks ago. I am imagining the good that 7.7B will do. Getting rid of 34 metric tons of plutonium and keeping the Cornerstone of this countries Nuclear Non-Proliferation program with Russia on track. Such odd fantasies some people have on here about AREVA. If the technology hasn't been sold by Carter to the French, they wouldn't be involved anyway. 60% complete. 500 million a year burns to guard what we have while Washington fiddles. Finish the thing. Yeesh

SCEagle Eye
SCEagle Eye 06/03/13 - 09:03 pm
I agree that government

I agree that government misspending and poor planning are endemic. With over $20 billion left to be spent on MOX and disposing of plutonium as waste - the option that should have been chosen a decade ago - being much cheaper, I agree that AREVA and contractors are out to bilk US taxpayers. I also strongly agree that it's time to stop fiddling around and hold government employees ("civil servants") and contractors accountable for the MOX boondoggle. Time to get on with determining those re$pon$ible for running up the debt via MOX and holding them accountable. Right?

KSL 06/04/13 - 12:28 am
How about the spending at

How about the spending at Yucca Mt.?

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