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NEWPORT NEWS - Newport News Shipbuilding could be laying off some of its workforce. The RIFs, or Reduction in Force notices, are already out to 1,600 workers at BAE Industries in Norfolk.

The reason for the uncertainty: the budget stalemate in Washington called sequestration.

Huntingon Ingalls President Mike Petters worries for the yard's 21,000 workers because there's no funding for the USS Abraham Lincoln overhaul. It was supposed to begin mid-February, but the work was delayed.

'We will have layoffs if that happens,' he said.

Late Wednesday, the Department of Defense okayed $40,057,112 for additional advance planning ahead of the Lincoln overhaul and its reactor plants. The notice says 'All shipboard work will take place at Naval Station Norfolk because of delay in awarding the RCOH due to the continuing resolution. This effort will mitigate schedule impacts and help preserve the skilled work force.'

The Navy says the money will pay for additional advanced planning, shipchecks, design, documentation, engineering, procurement, fabrication and preliminary shipyard or support facility work to prepare for and make ready for the refueling, overhaul, modernization and routine work on CVN 72 and its reactor plants. The work is contracted to be complete by April 2013.

There was no word last night on whether this is contract is enough to stop or lessen the impact of possible RIF notices.

Meantime, Huntington Ingalls said Wednesday profits for the fourth quarter of 2012 were $50 million, down 25.4 percent from fourth quarter 2011.

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