OAK RIDGE, Tenn. — The Oak Ridge National Laboratory is seeking to cut as many as 350 positions.

The Knoxville News Sentinel reports ORNL Director Thomas Zacharia informed staff Tuesday that the Department of Energy has approved the plan to reduce the workforce.

Zacharia said in an email that making the cuts will free up resources to invest in modernizing lab infrastructure and maintaining core research capabilities.

Officials hope 7 percent of employees will volunteer to leave through the end of the year. Otherwise layoffs will be required.

The departing employees will be offered severance of one week of compensation per year of service, up to 25 years.

The cuts will include positions at fusion energy and National Institutes of Health programs. The Oak Ridge office for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor will also see reductions.

Information from: Knoxville News Sentinel, http://www.knoxnews.com

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