The Hanford vitrification plant has laid off close to 200 construction workers this month, but also is hiring nonconstruction workers.
Employment on the project is expected to remain within the typical range of 3,200 to 3,400 workers, including construction and nonmanual workers.
Nine months ago, 1,064 construction workers were employed at the project, but because of hiring since then, the number of construction workers after the layoffs is slightly larger at about 1,100, said Bechtel National spokeswoman Suzanne Heaston.
Some of the layoffs were because of some night shift work being canceled for the winter season. In addition, the fifth elevation of concrete walls in the Pretreatment Facility has been completed.
Layoffs also have included carpenters who were hired to put up scaffolding at the Pretreatment Plant and completed their work.
In addition, preparations are being made for possible flat spending in fiscal 2012, which started Oct. 1.
Congress has not passed a DOE budget for fiscal 2012, but funding of $740 million is more likely than the $840 million the Obama administration had requested to accelerate work at the vitrification plant.
Bechtel National still is waiting to hear the amount of the budget and also any direction on how the money should be spent, Heaston said.
However, Bechtel must finish the design of the plant, which requires nonmanual workers, and also is working toward licensing the plant, which also requires nonmanual workers.