SRS Sign, MOX Layoffs January

The Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility is located at the Savannah River Site.

Another round of layoff notices was issued at the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility on Thursday, according to people familiar with the matter.

It is not immediately clear how many MOX workers received layoff notices this time around. More than 1,000 MOX workers have been effectively laid off as of early January.

An internal MOX memo obtained by the Aiken Standard last year stated layoffs would come the week of Jan. 28.

Previous layoff notification rounds took several hours to complete, beginning in the early morning and lasting through the afternoon, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The layoff notices afford workers a 60-day heads up, as required by the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification act, a large-employer labor law.

The National Nuclear Security Administration, a semiautonomous U.S. Department of Energy agency, canceled the MOX project contract in full, effective immediately, on Oct. 10, 2018.

These layoffs are the result of that termination.

The official NNSA cancellation came five months after U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry announced his plans to kill the over-budget project in favor of a plutonium disposition method known as dilute-and-dispose.

MOX, the product of an international disarmament pact, was designed to turn weapons-grade plutonium into fuel for nuclear reactors. The incomplete venture is located at the Savannah River Site.

Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, the SRS management and operations contractor, was recently tasked to – among other things – push MOX infrastructure toward plutonium pit production, a spokesperson confirmed to the Aiken Standard earlier this month.

Plutonium pits are nuclear weapon cores, often referred to as triggers.

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