Hanford hiring for 200 vit plant jobs

Tri-City HeraldFebruary 13, 2014 

— The Hanford vitrification plant is looking for at least 200 new employees now that federal funding for the nuclear reservation is more stable.

A career fair is planned from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Feb. 21 at the Courtyard by Marriott in Richland to fill positions in Richland and in Reston, Va.

Bechtel National plans to hire about 150 workers for jobs in engineering, construction, project controls, procurement and other support positions.

About half of the positions would be in Richland and the other half would be in Reston, where Bechtel has an office that does engineering work for the Hanford plant under construction.

URS Corp., Bechtel’s primary subcontractor, is hiring about 50 workers for commissioning, operations and plant engineering. They would be based in Richland.

Candidates should bring electronic and hard copy resumes to the career fair and be prepared to talk with managers. Job descriptions are posted at www.vitplantjobs.com.

Bechtel and URS expect a good turnout of well-qualified candidates, said Bechtel spokeswoman Suzanne Heaston.

Federal funding for the project is stable after Congress passed a budget last month for the remainder of fiscal 2014, which ends Sept. 30. It included $690 million for the vitrification plant, formally called the Waste Treatment Plant.

But last year the project was in flux.

Congress failed to pass a budget for Hanford for fiscal 2013, and instead rolled over the previous year’s spending plan under a continuing resolution. It placed restrictions on how money could be spent, locking in funding for vitrification plant facilities where it was not needed for more than half the year.

Workers were warned that they might be furloughed for two weeks in the summer until the project was allowed to move money among accounts. The plant also was hit by sequestration, or mandatory federal budget cut backs, in the spring. In the fall the federal government was shut down for lack of a fiscal 2014 budget and plans were made to lay off thousands of Hanford workers before Congress acted.

Bechtel National is making a push now to complete work on facilities not impacted by technical issues at the plant.

The Analytical Laboratory is close to completion and the Low Activity Waste Facility could be completed next year. Work also is being done to get support facilities ready and infrastructure in place. Work will ramp up to prepare for the startup of facilities soon to be completed, including verification that work has been completed correctly.

The $12.3 billion plant is planned to treat up to 56 million gallons of radioactive waste for disposal. The waste is left from the past production of plutonium for the nation’s nuclear weapons program.

-- Annette Cary: 582-1533; acary@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @HanfordNews

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