Source: Aiken Standard | Thomas Gardiner | November 26, 2017

The pending transition between contractors at Savannah River Site’s liquid waste mission could have radiating economic effects throughout Aiken County and surrounding areas.

The new contract was awarded to a BWX Technologies and Bechtel led team in October at lifecycle value of about $4.7 billion. That figure concerned the other two bidding companies, led by Fluor and AECOM, respectively, which both filed bid protests with the Government Accountability Office.

The $4.7 billion contract lies in heavy contrast to the expiring contract, which tallied approximately $7.38 billion over its ten-year lifecycle. That represents about a 37 percent decrease, which could trickle into the Aiken area economy.

In August, Savannah River Site Community Reuse Organization published a community impact study using financial figures from all of Savannah River Site’s contract companies. In the five county area, including Aiken, Barnwell and Allendale counties in South Carolina and Richmond and Columbia counties in Georgia, SRS directly employs more than 8,500 people.

Including indirect employment and local support jobs, like those in medical care or retail, SRS supports over 18,500 jobs, according to the report. Current liquid waste contractor Savannah River Remediation, a company led by AECOM, directly employs about 2,100 people. Companies who filed bid protest worry that job cuts could be one area the price difference shows through after the transition.

The economic impact study examined a scenario where 1,000 simulated jobs at the site were lost. In a 1,000-job change, 963 additional job changes would ripple through the area. In a 1,000 job scenario, there would be a change of over $127 million of income and over $207 million of output.

“It is my understanding that this modeling is scalable. So, if after contract transition we saw a decrease of 100 jobs we could expect the income and output numbers to be in the 10 percent ballpark of those reported in the study,” said SRSCRO CEO Rick McLeod .

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