IDAHO FALLS — Officials with the Idaho National Laboratory announced Thursday the need to cut its workforce.
Up to 185 workers working with Battelle Energy Alliance (BEA) will lose their jobs.
The main impact of these personnel cuts will affect the administration and support of people working for BEA, said Mark Holubar, Director of Human Resources and Diversity. People working for the Idaho clean-up group with CWI and Idaho Treatment Group, will not be affected by these cuts.
The INL says they will lay off employees on a voluntary basis at first then determine which additional cuts should be made.
Employees were informed of the layoffs about 11 a.m. Thursday.
Voluntary termination will occur in the middle of March and involuntary lay-offs will occur at the end of that month.
Those who lose their jobs will get a severence package.
"This is a difficult day," Holubar said. "We know this will impact families and the community."
The cuts are part of a cost-reduction effort site-wide.
"In recent months, budget reductions and cost cutting efforts have been done in each department across the lab," Holubar said. "We have scaled back and postponed investments. The investments we kept help to keep the lab competitive.
"We also received a strong endorsement from the Dept. of Energy and the Office of Nuclear Energy," Holubar said. "Our congressmen have done a great job in respect to this institution.
"[INL] received a slight increase in our budget on the nuclear side," Holubar said, "however, this only makes up 45 percent of our budget.
"The rest of our budget—55 percent—comes from contracts with the Dept. of Defense and renewable energy," Holubar said. "These departments have dropped in their business structure."
Increases in the cost of commodities and fuel also impacted the budget,
said INL spokesman Ethan Huffman.
The INL employs about 8,000 employees, including contractors. Of those, 4,200 work for the BEA.
BEA is still hiring research engineers and tech positions, Holubar added.