AP News

Idaho National Laboratory contractor to cut jobs


IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (AP) — An official with Battelle Energy Alliance said the company has started efforts to eliminate 300 jobs at the Idaho National Laboratory in eastern Idaho and could eventually eliminate 450 jobs.

Human Resources Director Mark Holubar told the Post Register (http://bit.ly/VW5Xsw ) in a story published Friday that employees can apply for voluntary separation through Jan. 9 before cuts begin.

Battelle Energy Alliance contracts with the U.S. Department of Energy to operate the nuclear facility. Company officials said increased daily costs and the need to remain competitive led to the decision to reduce the workforce.

"We will remain the nation's nuclear laboratory," Holubar said. "None of the critical mission areas will change."

Holubar said the cuts will come from a variety of areas, including administrators, engineers and scientists. The company cut about 160 jobs last year.

The core missions of the INL will not be affected by the cuts, he said. The main areas include nuclear science and technology, national and homeland security, and energy and environment.

Announcing the January cuts now will give workers the chance to plan ahead, Holubar said.

"There are always people who are considering other options," he said. "This will give them the opportunity to exit the lab and take the pressure off those involuntarily leaving."

Workers let go will receive two weeks' pay and severance pay for up to 16 weeks, based on how long they've been employed. Those who leave voluntarily will receive everything but the two weeks' pay.

Earlier this month, Battelle Energy Alliance received its lowest performance evaluation from the Department of Energy since 2005. After final adjustments for fiscal year 2012, Battelle earned about 86 percent of its total available contracting fee — about $16.2 million, compared with a potential of about $18.7 million.

Company officials said it faced challenges during the year that included the accidental exposure of 16 workers to plutonium and the shutdown of the Materials and Fuels Complex after a string of safety issues. Battelle took over the contract for the Idaho National Laboratory in 2005.

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Information from: Post Register, http://www.postregister.com


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