Savannah River Remediation Hires, Trains Next Generation of Nuclear Workers

(1) Savannah River Remediation (SRR) Shift Operations Manager Tracy Scott (right) describes Savannah River Site Tank Farm operations to Matt Chassereau, an H Tank Farm Operations first line manager, as part of SRR’s enhanced continuing training. SRR is taking significant steps to hire, train, and pass knowledge to the next generation of nuclear workers in the face of attrition.

AIKEN, S.C. (May 23, 2018)—The liquid waste contractor at the Savannah River Site (SRS), Savannah River Remediation (SRR), is embarking on an enhanced training program to ensure the next generation of nuclear workers is equipped to safely carry on the liquid waste mission.

Since 2015, Savannah River Remediation (SRR) has hired four classes of production operators, totaling more than 120 new workers in that field alone. Hiring in fields such as maintenance, radiological control, and engineering has also increased significantly over the last three years.

The driving force behind the SRS mission is the employees who control, operate, and monitor facilities, said Jim Folk, DOE-Savannah River Assistant Manager for Waste Disposition.

“Ensuring we have a trained, skilled workforce to safely advance liquid waste operations is a priority for the Department of Energy,” Folk said.

Typical responsibilities of an SRR production operator include controlling remote operations via cranes, manipulating other controls, and taking surveillances of facility systems, among other tasks.

This hiring initiative is a big undertaking, SRR President and Project Manager Tom Foster said.

“Savannah River Remediation’s work is important even beyond the site barricades,” Foster said. “We’re dispositioning more than 30 million gallons of highly radioactive waste — the greatest environmental risk to our state. That is why it is critical to have all workers trained, qualified, and ready to perform their duties to support the liquid waste mission.”

To support the influx of new workers, SRR is enhancing its training courses to better prepare new employees for the complex site and technical work with an overarching emphasis on safe and disciplined operations. Employees in operations, maintenance, laboratory, radiological control, and shift technical engineering are a part of the training program.

In addition to initial new-hire training, the continuing training courses are designed to continually increase and reinforce worker knowledge of conduct of operations, safety requirements, and facility-specific systems, among other topics. They also provide opportunities for practical, hands-on exercises and interactive, team-based learning.

“A vigorous training program, one that includes both initial and continuing training, is an essential part of a strong nuclear safety culture,” Foster said. “These hiring and training initiatives are a reflection of SRR’s commitment to facilitating the knowledge transfer between workforce generations.”

SRR is the liquid waste contractor at the Savannah River Site for the U.S. Department of Energy. SRR is composed of a team of companies led by AECOM with partners Bechtel National, CH2M, and BWX Technologies. Critical subcontractors for the contract are AREVA, Atkins, and AECOM N&E Technical Services.