9000 Hanford Workers Face Possible Furloughs - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

9000 Hanford Workers Face Possible Furloughs

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Workers prepare to ship radioactive sludge Workers prepare to ship radioactive sludge

KENNEWICK, Wash. - Workers at Hanford could start receiving furlough notices on Wednesday if the federal government doesn't end the current partial shutdown. 

The Tri-City Development Council says about 9,000 people who work at Hanford and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory could eventually be forced to go on a temporary leave, or actually get laid off.

The council says while the job losses would not be permanent, local businesses would most likely see less spending while federal workers are idled, ultimately hurting the local economy. 

TRIDEC says furloughed workers may be able to claim vacation time if they receive furlough notices, but only if they have time left over - especially after last year's budged cuts from sequestration. Those cuts required people to use extra vacation time.

The Department of Energy hasn't said how leaders at Hanford will deal with the shutdown if congress doesn't reach an agreement.

Last week the Energy Department released a statement saying if the federal government didn't reach a resolution to end the shutdown, the DOE would have to take further action to end nonessential operations, and send furloughs to federal employees and federal contract employees. 

Hanford is the largest single employer throughout Richland, Kennewick and Pasco.