Hanford

Hanford vit plant planning layoffs, new hiring

Bechtel National is working toward completing construction of the Low Activity Waste Facility at the Hanford vitrification plant.
Bechtel National is working toward completing construction of the Low Activity Waste Facility at the Hanford vitrification plant. Courtesy Bechtel National

Bechtel National, the Hanford vitrification plant operator, will lay off about 45 employees in the coming months, project director Peggy McCullough told staff Thursday.

At the same time, the Department of Energy contractor is continuing to fill about 300 new positions this year.

The change comes as construction on some of the plant’s buildings nears completion and emphasis there shifts to start up and commissioning, requiring workers with different skills.

Workers who will be laid off from late August to October include mostly employees in the engineering department, as some of the more complex work on the Low Activity Waste Facility, Analytical Laboratory and support facilities at the vit plant is completed.

In addition, some of the layoffs will be in project services — which includes workers not assigned to engineering, procurement or construction — to increase efficiency.

Workers losing their jobs will be notified next week. All will be non-manual employees.

Bechtel already has filled about 100 of the 300 new positions being created this year as it moves forward with testing the plant and its systems to prepare to start operating part of the plant.

Openings are posted at www.hanfordvitplant.com/ job-opportunities.

The plant could be glassifying low-activity radioactive waste for disposal as soon as 2022, using the Low Activity Waste Facility, Analytical Laboratory and support faciities at the plant. Work will continue to resolve technical issues related to treatment of high-level radioactive waste elsewhere at the plant.

Bechtel National at Hanford will work with employees who face layoffs to look for potential new Bechtel jobs.

The plant is planned to turn up to 56 million gallons of radioactive waste into a solid glass form for disposal. The waste, now held in underground tanks if left from World War II and Cold War production of plutonium for the nation’s nuclear weapons program.

Annette Cary: 509-582-1533, @HanfordNews

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