IDAHO FALLS -- An official with Battelle Energy Alliance says the company has started efforts to eliminate 300 jobs at the Idaho National Laboratory in eastern Idaho and could eventually eliminate 450 jobs.

Human Resources Director Mark Holubar tells the Post Register that employees can apply for voluntary separation through Jan. 9 before cuts begin.

Battelle Energy Alliance contracts with the U.S. Department of Energy to operate the nuclear facility.

Company officials say increased daily costs and the need to remain competitive led to the decision to reduce the workforce.

Holubar says the cuts will come from a variety of areas, ranging from administrators, engineers and scientists.

Battelle cut about 160 jobs last year.

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