MOX memo: Next layoff notices scheduled for start of December, end of January

November 17, 2018

The entire layoff schedule for the hamstrung Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility project has been announced and detailed via an internal memo. The Aiken Standard has obtained that communication, which was authored by MOX Services President David Del Vecchio.

The next wave of layoff notices – in the form of Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification act alerts – will be issued the week of Dec. 3; the third and final wave of layoff notices will come the week of Jan. 28, 2019, according to Del Vecchio’s message.

“As a reminder, all MOX Project ORANO and CPSG employees will eventually receive a WARN notice,” the missive reads. Since the beginning of the closeout saga, Del Vecchio has said layoffs would come in successive rounds.

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

The first spurt of WARN notices was pushed out Nov. 8. The entire notification process took hours to complete.

More than 600 MOX workers now stand to lose their jobs by Jan. 7, 2019, according to a freshly updated job-loss spreadsheet maintained by S.C. Works, a statewide employment agency.

The MOX project employs about 1,700 people. That number, though, has undulated.

MOX, an incomplete facility at the Savannah River Site, is designed to turn at least 34 metric tons of weapons-grade plutonium into nuclear fuel. The venture is a product of a 2000s-era pact between the U.S. and Russia.

On Oct. 10, the semiautonomous National Nuclear Security Administration delivered a contract termination notice to MOX contractors and guarantors. The project contract was killed in full, effective immediately.

The NNSA – a branch of the U.S. Department of Energy – is in charge of the nation’s nuclear outfit and related nonproliferation.

MOX Services, the project’s prime contractor, submitted a final termination plan to the NNSA on Nov. 12, according to Del Vecchio. The NNSA required a descriptive shutdown-and-mothball plan within 30 days of its termination issuance.

The release of the looming layoff dates will hopefully “alleviate” distractions at the project, Del Vecchio explained in his memo.

“While I recognize and appreciate the amount of distraction the termination is causing, I ask that you please remain focused on your personal safety and the safety of those around you,” the president’s message reads.

There have been four recordable injuries at the MOX project in the past five weeks, according to Del Vecchio’s dispatch.

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