SRS Sign, MOX Layoff, Number

The entrance to the Savannah River Site, a 310 square-mile complex.

Roughly one-third of the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility workforce will be let go of by early next year.

About 500 CB&I Project Services Group employees will be laid off as of Jan. 7, 2019, according to a November spreadsheet published by S.C. Works, a statewide employment agency and initiative.

An earlier internal bulletin sent by MOX Services President David Del Vecchio, and obtained by the Aiken Standard, stated those caught in the first wave of MOX layoffs would not leave the project until after the new year.

The first round of Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification act notices — pink slips — were issued at the MOX project on Nov. 8. MOX employs approximately 1,700 people.

The WARN act is a labor law that requires major employers to notify staff of mass layoffs or plant closures ahead of time. WARN notices afford workers a 60-day heads up.

The MOX employee exit process will include collecting one's final paycheck and turning in one's badges, according to another Del Vecchio bulletin.

MOX, located at the Savannah River Site, was designed to transform weapons-grade plutonium into fuel for commercial nuclear reactors. On Oct. 10, the National Nuclear Security Administration, a semiautonomous U.S. Department of Energy agency, terminated the MOX project contract in full, effective immediately.

A termination notice — with attached shutdown expectations — was delivered to project contractors and guarantors that same day.

Last week's layoff bout is just the beginning: Del Vecchio has said WARN notices "will be issued on a rolling wave basis, and only to those impacted by each wave."

It is not clear when the next round of layoff notices will be pushed out.

The S.C. Works spreadsheet lists more than 20 other locations of mass layoffs this year. The MOX project is the only one specific to Aiken.

Prior inquires made to the NNSA about the MOX layoffs were redirected to project contractors.

Colin Demarest is the government and Savannah River Site reporter with the Aiken Standard. Follow him on Twitter: @demarest_colin