Carr addresses potential federal budget cuts
by Wayne Allen
Common Staff Writer
The leadership of Fluor-B&W Portsmouth has been meeting with the Scioto County Commissioners quarterly to update them on ongoing activities with the Decontamination and Decommissioning (D&D) of the former gaseous defusion plant in Piketon.
Thursday, was no different when Fluor-B&W Site Project Director Dennis Carr addressed the commissioners.
During the course of the conversations Carr advised the commissioners about the recent incident that occurred at the plant and the corrective measures taken to ensure it does not happen again.
“What we are doing now is making the necessary organizational changes, re-staffing and we made the necessary changes in the program. We’ve retrained and requalified all personnel in the radiological control program to make absolutely certain what the requirements were and we are making additional changes in the program to strengthen it, and make certain this never reoccurs,” Carr said. “The bottom line is, this is not a good situation, it’s been thoroughly investigated and we’ve taken the necessary personnel actions and corrective actions to remedy the situation.”
He also addressed the impact of United States President Barack Obama’s proposed budget would have on their work at the site.
“This year we are operating on both dollars derived from our appropriation and dollars derived from bartering of uranium inventories, onto the commercial market, to gain dollars that are used to fund activities at the site,” Carr said. “There has been a softening of the worldwide market for uranium. Prices continue to soften which then impacts our funding profile. So, we are watching that market real close.”
Carr said the sequestration implemented by the federal governments has yet to impact their actives at the site.
“The reduction in funding that impacted many of the other sites throughout the United States, did not impact us because we had already taken a reduction in our funding,” Carr said.
Under the presidents proposed 2013 budget $60 million in funding cuts were recommended for D&D activities.
He said everyone is concerned about what the funding for fiscal year 2014 might look like.
“Everybody is concerned about FY 14. We are working with the department of energy to understand what the funding forecasts are.” Carr said. “The president’s budgets were it approved currently shows a reduction of $98 million in appropriations for out site, which is not a positive thing.”
He said with that funding, the funding gained from bartering needs to be taken into consideration and any other available funding.
“Based on that forecast, we do anticipate a reduction in available funding for next year. We do not know the exact amount and do not anticipate it to be grater than five to ten percent,” Carr said. “I do not envision at this point in time there are going to be significant scope or staffing implications imposed by funding. But at this point in time I don’t know.”
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-1151, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Wayne on Twitter @WayneallenPDT.
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