Savannah River Site employees may get a rather unwelcome gift this holiday season as budget shortfalls could see the DOE-owned nuclear weapons complex close for one week in November, December and January.

Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, the management and operations contractor at SRS, is currently considering “a variety of actions to mitigate the impact of an expected FY13 budget shortfall,” said Barbara Smoak, director of Business, Technical and Employee Communications for SRNS.

Rumors of voluntary furloughs and other cost-cutting measures abounded Friday. SRNS confirmed that furlough discussions of this nature were taking place.

“Employees could choose to utilize their paid vacation benefits or to take time off without pay,” Smoak said. “No decision has been made concerning this option, and this is only a consideration at this time.”

As well as vacation furloughs, all of SRS may close for week-long periods, Smoak said.

“We are currently discussing the possibility of a plant closing for the weeks during the holidays, beginning with Thanksgiving week, the last week of December and the first week of January,” Smoak said. “We are carefully evaluating how this approach would be implemented and its site-wide impact.”

This is just the most recent round of discussions relating to thinning the SRS workforce.

On Monday, liquid waste contractor Savannah River Remediation announced it is looking to begin a “workforce restructuring program,” citing conclusion of projects and reduced budgets.

Just two weeks ago, SRNS began offering a similar program, which offers a severance package of one week’s pay for every eligible year of service.