Federal stimulus package may create more jobs at SRS

Savannah River Site could receive up to $1.9 billion - and create as many as 3,000 jobs - from Obama's $787 billion economic stimulus package.

According to a U.S. Department of Energy document that breaks down the $6 billion in environmental-management money included in the 1,100-page bill, SRS is second highest in terms of dollars and potential job creation.

The breakdown was distributed this week to selected officials with the Energy Communities Alliance, a national nonprofit organization of local governments and economic development groups that are near nuclear weapon sites.

"We're all kind of waiting for more details," said Rick McLeod, director of the Savannah River Site Community Reuse Organization, a local affiliate of the alliance. "We've heard the 3,000 figure, too, but we don't have anything official from SRS."

The SRS Community Reuse Organization promotes economic development and job creation in the two-state region that is directly affected by SRS's presence, McLeod said.

As of March 3, nothing definitive was given about the stimulus package or any details about it, said Jim Giusti, the spokesman for the DOE Office of External Affairs at SRS.

"We will get some stimulus money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act," he said. "I don't have a deinite dollar amount or the number of jobs."

Current employment at SRS is about 11,000. New jobs financed with stimulus package dollars might be temporary, existing only for the duration of specific construction, demolition or cleanup projects.

Representatives of the Energy Department at SRS and Savannah River Nuclear Solutions would neither confirm nor deny the numbers, saying only that a "comprehensive" announcement about the recovery program's effect on SRS will be made sometime next week.