News 12 at 6 o'clock; March 10, 2009
AIKEN CTY, S.C. --- Lots of jobs are likely heading to the Savannah River Site and so too is a whole lot of money.
Less than a year ago, a new era took over the reigns at Savannah River Site and at the time, Jack Sependa showed his excitement. "Savannah River is not a closure site and we fully support that," Jack said.
So, too, does President Barack Obama. His federal stimulus package means big things for SRS.
Word around DC is $1.6 billion is heading to SRS. Yes, you read that right, $1.6 billion and it all could be coming here very soon.
Here's what it means. SRS not commenting on camera, but they gave News 12 this statement. "This money will allow us to move forward more quickly on already planned work."
They won't go into specifics, but say it will mean near term jobs created at the site and the site will also be cleaned up.
Of course, the biggie is this: possibly up to 3,000 jobs could be heading here.
"You and I both know that in the past -- in it's heyday -- there were quite a number of people here but the mission changed," says Jack.
In 1992, about 25,000 people worked at the site. But, 5 years later, that number came crashing down to less than 15,000 people. It slowly went down from there to between 8,000 - 9,000 workers in 2005.
But now, thanks to the Mox Facility construction and other work on the site, there are more than 11,000 workers. That, is despite numerous small voluntary layoffs at the site between 2005 and now. The latest came in December of 2008, when about 300 people voluntarily were laid off.
Soon, you might be able to add 3,000 more people to SRS, thanks to $1.6 billion likely heading from DC straight to SRS.
The exact number of jobs and dollar amount is not known just yet. Officials at SRS are waiting on the dotted line to be signed and that is when they will start a website posting all the open jobs.
Of course, we'll continue to follow this story as it develops.