Many Voices Working for the Community

Oak Ridge
Site Specific Advisory Board

Approved November 3, 1999, Meeting Minutes

The Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board (ORSSAB) held its regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Wednesday, November 3, 1999, at the Garden Plaza Hotel, Oak Ridge, beginning at 6:00 p.m. A video tape record of this meeting was made and may be viewed by calling the SSAB Support Office at 865-241-3665.

Members Present

Robert Blaum
Jeff Cange
Luther Gibson, Jr.
Steve Kopp, Chair
David Mosby
Demetra Nelson, Vice Chair
Bill Pardue
Pat Rush
Darrell Srdoc
Charles Washington
Anne-Marie Wiest, Student Representative

Members Absent

James Alexander
Randy Gordon*
Lorene Sigal
Rikki Traylor, Secretary*
*Second consecutive absence

Deputy Designated Federal Official and Ex-Officios Present

Rod Nelson, DOE-Oak Ridge Offices (DOE-ORO)
Dave Adler, DOE-ORO
Carolyn Davis, DOE-ORO
Connie Jones, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 4
John Owsley, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC)

Others Present

Sheree Black, SSAB support office
Barbara Brower, DOE-ORO
Clayton Gist, DOE-ORO
Chuck Jenkins, Bechtel Jacobs Company LLC
Pete Osborne, SSAB support office
John Rothrock, DOE-ORO
Bill Seay, DOE-ORO
Alan Stokes, DOE-ORO

Five members of the public attended the meeting.


Mr. Nelson gave an overview of the DOE-ORO Environmental Management (EM) Program. Mr. Nelson noted EM Program successes in Fiscal Year (FY) 1999, which include reductions in baseline costs by $1.2B. Part of this reduction is being achieved through subcontracting, which has saved EM $239M to date. Other major successes include the following:

East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP)

• Shipped over 1.4M kilograms of unstabilized pond waste off site for treatment and disposal
• Demolished buildings K-1031, K-1131, and K-1410
• Completed Resource Conservation and Recovery Act closure activities at the K-1417-B Yard

Y-12 Plant

• Completed the proposed plan and Record of Decision (ROD) for the EM Waste Management Facility
• Submitted the ROD and associated design documents for the Bear Creek Burial Grounds

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)

• Implemented surveillance and maintenance efficiencies resulting in annual savings of $500,000
• Completed and received regulatory approval of the Bethel Valley remedial investigation/feasibility study
• Completed and received regulatory approval of the Melton Valley proposed plan
• Completed sludge removal from two Gunite tanks and transferred 84,000 gallons of waste to the Melton Valley Storage Tanks
• Completed the work plan and issued the contract for removal of Tank W1-A (Core Hole 8 plume source)
• Completed Melton Valley Storage Tanks capacity increase—the final phase of a 10-year, $150M upgrade to the ORNL liquid low-level waste system

During the question and answer period, Mr. Srdoc asked what top three factors contributed to DOE cleanup success in Weldon Spring. Mr. Nelson replied that (1) the site was already shut down, so there weren’t many workforce issues or preconceived ideas about how things should be done, (2) good state regulatory support, and (3) a good team. Mr. Srdoc asked if EM cost savings were achieved through subcontracting and privatization, and does this now mean that EM needs less money next year? Mr. Nelson replied that EM still has a lot of work to do, and all cost savings need to be ploughed back into the program. Subcontracting has created efficiencies that save the program a lot of money, but it still needs as much funding as possible.

Mr. Washington asked how many new technologies were invented in Oak Ridge. Mr. Nelson was unsure of the exact number, but he thought about three times more than any other site. He offered to supply an exact answer. Mr. Washington questioned the lack of Afro-American leadership in the DOE-ORO EM organization. Mr. Nelson agreed that while more diversity was possible, there are several female leaders and one Afro-American on his staff.

Mr. Pardue asked if the budget is sufficient to make up past missed regulatory milestones. Mr. Nelson said yes.

Mr. Blaum asked why EM uses the concept of "as low as reasonably achievable" (ALARA) instead of simply meeting standards, which, according to Mr. Blaum, are less stringent and less costly. Mr. Nelson explained that ALARA is an operational protocol, and standards come from regulations specified by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act.

Mr. Cange asked Mr. Nelson to define the management relationship between Oak Ridge, Portsmouth, and Paducah. Mr. Nelson explained that the Portsmouth and Paducah site managers report to the Assistant Manager for Uranium Enrichment because the sites are, historically, Uranium Enrichment sites. In the past DOE-ORO has always had a senior EM manager at the two sites, but that is no longer the case, and DOE-ORO EM is trying to get that reinstated. The sites do have someone on staff who reports to DOE-ORO EM, and DOE-ORO EM provides programmatic direction. "It’s an odd situation," Mr. Nelson said, "because they don’t work for us or report to us, yet they are responsible for implementing the EM program." Because of the controversy at Paducah, a DOE-ORO EM facility representative will be assigned to the site starting November 8, and a second facility representative will be appointed shortly.

Mr. Cange asked about cost savings and efficiencies, relative to Mr. Nelson’s statement that a certain amount has been saved, "is there money that’s actually produced or is it just projected, and how does that translate into rebaselining?" Mr. Nelson explained by way of illustration. After Bechtel Jacobs had laid out their baseline in 1999, DOE-ORO asked them to find $25M worth of work they could do without additional funds. Bechtel Jacobs surpassed that goal by completing $61M in work above that identified in the baseline.

Ms. Susan Gawarecki, Executive Director of the Oak Ridge Local Oversight Committee (LOC), asked if Mr. Nelson had begun considering how DOE’s new Office of Defense Programs will affect waste management, environmental management, and decontamination and decommissioning work on the reservation. Mr. Nelson replied that DOE-ORO EM has not looked at that issue yet; there could be a big impact, though.

Mr. Norman Mulvenon, Chair of the Citizens’ Advisory Panel of the LOC, questioned whether this year’s budget would be sufficient to allow DOE-ORO to meet all regulatory milestones. Mr. Nelson deferred to Ms. Brower, who replied that "we’re right on the border, but we’re meeting all milestones." One thing that helped, she added, was that last year DOE-ORO was able to reprogram about $8–$9 million in non-Defense line items into program funds. This kept DOE from carrying over any of last year’s milestones into the current year—a situation which would have jeopardized its ability to meet this year’s regulatory obligations. Mr. Mulvenon asked if the $16 million shortfall in the non-Defense fund request for remediation work at Weldon Spring would put milestones there at risk. Weldon Spring does not have any "hard regulatory milestones," Mr. Nelson replied. Mr. Mulvenon asked if the Congressional investigation at Paducah would cause any budgetary problems for DOE-ORO. Mr. Nelson replied that Paducah had received a "plus up," which did not come from ORO funding, and he did not anticipate having to shift funds from Oak Ridge to Paducah.

Ms. Rush asked Mr. Nelson to comment on the rumor that the Community Reuse Organization of East Tennessee (CROET) had no funding this year. Mr. Nelson did not know but offered to find out.

Deputy Designated Federal Official and Ex-Officio Comments

Ms. Jones distributed to support office staff a copy of memos concerning drivers for EPA sampling in the Scarboro Community and a summary of EPA questions on DOE’s Scarboro sampling results. (Copies of the documents are available from the SSAB support office upon request.)

Public Comment

Ms. Gawarecki offered a preliminary answer to Ms. Rush’s question about CROET funding by reporting that DOE’s Office of Community and Worker Transition has earmarked about $8 million for CROET this year. Ms. Gawarecki also invited members of the SSAB to the Citizens’ Advisory Panel meeting on November 9 to hear TDEC’s Jo Elle Key discuss metals recycling at ETTP.

Announcements and Other Board Business

The next Board meeting will be Wednesday, December 1, 6:00 p.m., at the Garden Plaza Hotel. Dick Green has been invited to give EPA’s perspective on reservation cleanup issues.

Additions to the agenda: Mr. Srdoc requested discussion of the FBI presence at American Ecology.

No additions or corrections were offered to October 6, 1999, Board meeting minutes.

The Board voted to discharge FY 1999 project teams and constitute new teams. Major project teams will be Environmental Restoration, Project Baseline, and Waste Management. Special project teams will be Board Process, Public Outreach, and Stewardship. Mr. Srdoc called for members to join the Public Outreach Special Project Team. Mr. Kopp, Mr. Pardue, Mr. Washington, and Ms. Wiest volunteered.

Ms. Rush suggested the Board get a copy of the Oak Ridger’s list of 400 Oak Ridge organizations as a starting point for future presentations. She also suggested the Public Outreach Team make a presentation to Oak Ridge City Council.

The Waste Management Team had requested to make a presentation this evening on a joint resolution it was developing with the Nevada Test Site Community Advisory Board on reciprocal exchange of waste streams. Because of Mr. Gordon’s absence, however, the presentation was deferred to the December Board meeting.

Motions and Recommendations

Ms. Rush moved to approve the amended meeting agenda. Mr. Washington seconded the motion, and the motion was unanimously approved.

Ms. Rush moved to approve the revised minutes of the October 6, 1999, Board meeting. Mr. Washington seconded the motion, and the motion was unanimously approved


Mr. Kopp moved to discharge the FY 1999 project teams. No second was required for the motion, and the motion was unanimously approved.

Mr. Kopp moved to approve formation of the following major project teams: Environmental Restoration, Project Baseline, and Waste Management; and the following special project teams: Board Process, Public Outreach, and Stewardship. No second was required for the motion, and the motion was unanimously approved.

Respectfully submitted,
Rikki Traylor, Secretary


1 Motion

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