WASHINGTON — The managing contractor for the planned nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain on Wednesday announced a schedule of layoffs totaling between 140 and 180 people through June.
Between 70 and 80 employees will receive 30-day job notices early next week, said Ted Feigenbaum, president and general manager of Bechtel SAIC Co. Another 40 to 50 will be notified in early March and 30 to 50 more will receive layoff notices from April through June, he said in a message to employees.
Bechtel SAIC is the largest contractor on the Department of Energy nuclear waste program based in Las Vegas. The layoffs are the result of a $108 million cut in the project’s 2008 budget.
The company earlier sent notices to 63 workers. Spokesman Jason Bohne said about 20 avoided layoffs by accepting transfers to facilities in other states.
Layoff notices that will be issued next week will go largely to administrative personnel such as accountants, procurement personnel and computer technicians, Bohne said. Later rounds will involve technical workers, he said.
DOE spokesman Allen Benson said the agency still anticipates that Yucca Mountain layoffs will total around 500 through later in the year and will involve other firms on the project.
The budget cut was arranged in Congress by Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., in a bid to kill the Yucca project. Reid and other Nevada lawmakers said they want to help laid-off workers find new jobs.
“We’ll continue working together to achieve that goal,” Reid said in a prepared statement.
“Unfortunately, layoffs come with the territory of killing the dump,” he added.