Originally created 12/17/00

Leaders to take SRS expertise to new site

Some Savannah River Site executives will be looking for new homes after the holidays.

Washington Group International Inc. will transfer some SRS executives to Washington state to help build a waste-treatment plant at another federal nuclear-weapons site, a spokesman said Friday.

"We have some very good knowledge here in the high-level waste division, and at Savannah River Technology Center, that would be beneficial there," said Jack Herrmann, a Washington Group spokesman. Washington Group owns Westinghouse Savannah River Co., the lead contractor at SRS.

"They are not huge numbers," Mr. Herrmann said. "You're not talking about 100 people or anything like that."

Mr. Herrmann said he could not discuss specific people who might leave SRS for Hanford Site, near Richland, Wash. Washington Group is prepared to fill positions emptied at SRS from within the company, he said.

The Defense Waste Processing Facility at SRS is similar to the plant that will be built at Hanford. Both facilities will turn highly radioactive liquid waste into a solid glass suitable for long-term burial.

Another similar plant, the West Valley Demonstration Project in New York, also is operated by Washington Group. Some West Valley employees could find themselves at SRS or Hanford, Mr. Herrmann said.

"At West Valley, we're sort of at a transitional stage," he said. "We have a number of people there who were going to have to move anyway."

The news comes only days after the U.S. Department of Energy announced that Washington Group would be the minority partner in a 10-year, $4 billion deal to design, build and operate the Hanford plant.

The contract is another win for Washington Group's government-services arm, which is building a $6 million headquarters in downtown Aiken.

Energy Secretary Bill Richardson has said he wants to renew the company's deal at SRS. Washington Group also is seeking a contract to operate the Energy Department's Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico.

Reach Brandon Haddock at (706) 823-3409.


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