POJOAQUE, N.M. (AP) - Budget cuts at the nation's premier nuclear facility are expected to cost northern New Mexico businesses more than $30 million in lost contacts, an official said this week.
Los Alamos National Laboratory Executive Director Richard Marquez told an audience at the Cities of Gold Hotel and Casino that's how much in loses the area should expect. The more than $30 million in losses is about one-third of all lab contracts, Marquez told a group of about 40 people, including lab employees, union leaders and organization directors.
Lab officials last month announced plans to reduce the permanent full-time workforce by between 400 and 800 employees this spring, or as much as 11 percent. Under the program, the lab says about 7,600 workers are eligible for a buyout.
In addition to the highly publicized voluntary buyouts, the lab is also looking to cut $150 million in goods and services because of decreased revenue, the Los Alamos Monitor reported (http://bit.ly/wPv5Nv ).
The planned cuts came after Obama administration announced last month that it planned to defer for at least five years construction of a controversial $6 billion plutonium research lab at Los Alamos. Construction had been expected to begin this year on the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Nuclear Facility.
County officials said they were told the deferment would result in a loss of 1,000 planned construction jobs.
Dianne Roybal, of El Rancho, said she has worked at the lab for nearly 20 years and was on the fence about leaving, but she thinks she's going to stick it out.
"I'm probably going to stay because of my own (monetary) situation," she said.
Employees will be notified whether or not their buyout applications were accepted March 26.
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