SRS getting $1.615 billion, will add up to 3,000 jobs

Savannah River Site will receive $1.615 billion from President Obama’s economic stimulus package, according to U.S. Energy Secretary Stephen Chu.

The allocation, which will create about 3,000 jobs and speed up cleanup of contaminated areas, is part of $6 billion in environmental funding that will be distributed to similar sites in 12 states.

SRS, with pending projects that include decommissioning two nuclear material production reactors, is second only to the Hanford Site in Washington in the amout of funding it will receive.

Hanford’s share of the stimulus package will be $1.635 billion.

SRS officials have scheduled a formal announcement later today to discuss the funding and its impact on the local economy.

Current employment at SRS is about 11,000. New jobs financed with stimulus package dollars are expected to enable earlier completion of cleanup programs that include shipping more than 4,500 cubic meters of waste out of South Carolina and reduce the site’s industrial area by 40 percent, or 79,000 acres, by September 2011.

Other rojects identified for funding will focus on accelerating cleanup of soil and groundwater and cleaning and demolishing former weapons complex facilities, Dr. Chu said in a press release today.

“These investments will put Americans to work while cleaning up contamination from the cold war era,” he said. “It reflects our commitment to future generations as well as to help local economies get moving again.”

Other allocations announced today include: Oak Ridge, Tenn., $755 million; Office of River Protection, Wash., $326 million; Idaho National Laboratory, $468 million; Los Alamos National Labotatory, N.M., $172 million; Brookhaven and West Valley, N.Y., $148 million; Miamisburg and Portsmouth, Ohio, $138 million; Moab, Utah, $108 million;Argonne National Laboratory, Ill., $99 million; Paducah, Ky., $79 million; sites in California, $62 million; Nevada Test Site, $44 million; headquarters and oversight, $70 million; and various other programs, $69 million.

The Augusta Chronicle, citing an internal Energy Department document distributed to economic development groups, first reported the stimulus funding for SRS on Feb. 26.

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