Many Voices Working for the Community
Approved May 3, 2000, Meeting Minutes
The Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board (ORSSAB) held its regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Wednesday, May 3, 2000, at the Garden Plaza Hotel in Oak Ridge, beginning at 6:00 p.m. A video tape record of the meeting was made and may be viewed by calling the SSAB support office at 865-241-3665.
Luther Gibson, Jr.
Steve Kopp, Chair
Rikki Traylor, Secretary
Anne-Marie Wiest, Student Representative
Demetra Nelson, Vice Chair
Deputy Designated Federal Official and Ex-Officios Present
Rod Nelson, DOE-Oak Ridge Offices (DOE-ORO)
Connie Jones, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
John Owsley, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC)
Teresa Perry, DOE-ORO
Sheree Black, SSAB support office
George Chandler, Northern New Mexico Citizens Advisory Board
Audrey Eidlemen, Assistant Project Manager for the Energy Communities Alliance
Chuck Jenkins, Bechtel Jacobs Company LLC
Seth Kirshenberg, Executive Director for the Energy Communities Alliance
Pete Osborne, SSAB support office
Bob Peelle, former ORSSAB member
John Pendergrass, Director of the Center for State, Local, and Regional Environmental Programs for the Environmental Law Institute
Nine members of the public attended the meeting.
Mr. Alexander opened the presentation with an overview of the Tennessee Department of Healths Oak Ridge Reservation Health Agreement Studies and a brief explanation of how the Oak Ridge Health Agreement Steering Panel (ORHASP) came into being. (Mr. Alexander and Mr. Peelle were ORHASP members.) Copies of the presentation overheads are included as Attachment 1 to these minutes.
The studies were begun in 1992 and cost roughly $14 million by their end in 2000. ORHASP members were selected from the general public, and activities proceeded in two phases: Phase Ia feasibility study for a dose reconstruction, and Phase IIthe dose reconstruction. The 12-member panel met every other month and directed the efforts of the contract firms hired to do the records search and perform the extensive analyses necessary to obtain information on releases. The panels final report, Releases of Contaminants from Oak Ridge Facilities and Risks to Public Health, was published in December.
Mr. Peelle described the scope of Phase II activities, which comprised a search for important release data, an examination of the four most important release categories and their public health consequences, and a screening of other releases.
Two of four categories of releases studied in detail indicate that public health was likely affected: iodine-131 from processing at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) during the period 1944 to 1956, and mercury releases from work at the Y-12 Plant during the period (principally) from 1953 to 1960.
Besides mercury and radioactive iodine, the panel studied many other chemical and radioactive releases from the Oak Ridge Reservation (ORR). Uranium and PCBs received the most attention. Detailed studies of releases of radioactive materials from 1944 to 1991 via White Oak Creek to the Clinch River suggest a small effect on public health: less than one excess cancer is due to radiation exposure from this source. Fewer than three excess cancer cases are attributed to Oak Ridge PCB releases.
Study results are uncertain, Mr. Peelle acknowledged, given that there could be uncharted health effects and that uncertainties abound concerning how much of each pollutant was actually released from the ORR and how many persons were actually exposed and to what level. Furthermore, very little information is available on the health effects of some pollutants.
After Mr. Peelle concluded his portion of the presentation, the following questions were asked by SSAB members and the public.
Mr. Peelles Response (abridged)
|Bill Pardue||Who were the recommendations made to, and are there any follow-on plans?||Our audience for the report is whoever will read it.|
|Steve Kopp||What is the basis for recommendation 2 (that epidemiologic studies not be performed)?||Even if you could study the health histories of all the people who lived here, its very difficult to relate health effects to specific releases.|
|Randy Gordon||Given the inconclusive nature of the panels conclusions, can you give me two or three concrete results?||We didnt have any answers before we did the study, and the results might have been much different. If I were a woman raised in Gallagher Bend, I would have my thyroid checked more often. Its also important to know how much local fish to eat.|
|Rikki Traylor||Is the state birth defects registry now defunct? What about the cancer incidence registry?||The birth defects registry was funded for a 3 year period; after that the State said it didnt have the money for it. The cancer incidence registry is still active.|
|Janet Michel||What happens next? Will the uncertainties addressed?||ORHASP has made recommendations, and those are listed in the report.|
|Mike Knapp||Why wasnt there a recommendation made that people who were harmed be helped?||To the extent it was covered, its in recommendation 1.|
|Jim Phelps||How did you account for releases from the coal-fired plants used to power K-25 and releases of fluorine from the facility?||Fluorine was screened, based on available data.|
Deputy Designated Federal Official and Ex-Officio Comments
Mr. Nelson made several reports:
Work on the "bridge document" for the Bear Creek Valley Record of Decision is near completion, and the Record of Decision should be signed by the end of May.
Five waste monoliths have been shipped to the Nevada Test Site. A total of sixty monoliths will be shipped at a rate of four per week.
The DOE-Headquarters Environment and Health Investigation Team was at the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP) last week to conduct scoping for environmental sampling. Interviews with current and former workers will be conducted this week.
Mr. Nelson presented Anne-Marie Wiest, whose term of service as student representative to the Board has expired, with a plaque recognizing her service on the Board. Mr. Kopp presented Ms. Wiest with a commemorative paperweight from the SSAB. Staff was directed to prepare a letter from the Board commending Ms. Wiest for her service.
Mr. Jim Phelps said that while ORHASP should be commended on its recommendations, it failed to look into chronic illnesses and releases of PCBs and other substances via incineration. The report failed to focus on the issues that could help workers receive compensation for illnesses. Mr. Phelps urged the SSAB to do more in this arena.
Mr. Mike Knapp of Save Our Cumberland Mountains took exception with Mr. Alexanders statement that DOE has been forthcoming with all pertinent information on releases. According to Mr. Knapp, tests performed on ETTP workers showing elevated levels of cyanide were kept from the public for many years.
Ms. Janet Michel gave an account of her parents illnesses as anecdotal evidence of the health effects of DOE activities on the ORR, and she remarked that reports from area physicians on the incidence of thyroid cancer are far above DOE-reported levels. She questioned if the water from ETTP cooling towers emptying into Poplar Creek had been considered as a pathway for contaminants.
Ms. Sandra Reid discussed why the States birth defects registry had been discontinued, and she recommended that the Board encourage DOE to fund the effort. Ms. Reid questioned the qualifications of ORHASP members to make health recommendations, and she recommended that DOE fund a biology division to study health effects.
Announcements and Other Board Business
The next Board meeting will be Wednesday, June 7, 6:00 p.m., at the Garden Plaza Hotel in Oak Ridge. An overview of ORR watersheds will be presented by representatives from the DOE Environmental Management Program.
In discussion of the March 8, 2000, Board meeting minutes, Mr. Gibson questioned the accuracy of reporting on the Recommendations and Comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Treating Transuranic/Alpha Low-Level Waste at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Ms. Traylor moved that the minutes be approved conditionally, pending resolution of Mr. Gibsons concerns. Staff will review the meeting tape and work with Mr. Gibson to clarify the wording.
Mr. Gibson presented a motion to approve the Recommendations and Comments on the Draft Environmental Assessment for the Sale of Zinc Bromide Solutions for Commercial Recycling and Reuse, DOE/EA-1324 (Attachment 2). Ms. Rush moved that the third paragraph of the document be used as the recommendation, with everything else attached as comments. The amended motion was unanimously approved.
Mr. Gibson presented a motion to approve the Recommendation on Formation of a Panel to Examine New Technology Alternatives to Incineration (Attachment 3). The motion was unanimously approved.
Ms. Sigal presented a motion to endorse a proposal by the City of Oak Ridge for a pilot project with DOE designed to integrate long-term stewardship needs into the citys geographic information and records management systems. Mr. Gordon offered an amendment to the motion that a letter be sent supporting the concept of a pilot project but not endorsing the project until more details are supplied to the Board. Revised wording to the letter was made at the meeting (Attachment 4), and the amended motion was unanimously approved.
Ms. Traylor presented a motion to seat two student members on the Board for the coming year. The motion was unanimously approved.
Ms. Rush asked for additional details (including a list of companies involved) in DOE payroll and procurement figures reported in an April17, 2000, DOE new release titled "DOE Payrolls Over $695 Million for 1999."
The meeting adjourned at 9:45 p.m.
Attachments to these minutes are available upon request from the SSAB support office.
Motions and Recommendations
Ms. Traylor moved that the minutes of the April 5, 2000, Board meeting be approved conditionally, pending resolution of wording on the Recommendations and Comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Treating Transuranic/Alpha Low-Level Waste. Mr. Alexander seconded the motion, and the motion was unanimously approved.
Mr. Gibson moved to approve the amended Recommendations and Comments on the Draft Environmental Assessment for the Sale of Zinc Bromide Solutions for Commercial Recycling and Reuse. Ms. Rush seconded the motion, and the motion was unanimously approved.
Mr. Gibson moved to approve the Recommendation on Formation of a Panel to Examine New Technology Alternatives to Incineration. Ms. Rush seconded the motion, and the motion was unanimously approved.
Ms. Sigal moved to approve the amended endorsement of a proposal by the City of Oak Ridge for a pilot project with DOE designed to integrate long-term stewardship needs into the citys geographic information and records management systems. Mr. Mosby seconded the motion, and the amended motion was unanimously approved.
Rikki Traylor, Secretary
1. Staff will prepare a letter to Ms. Wiest commending her for her service on the Board. Completed 6/1/00
2. Staff will review the April 5, 2000, meeting tape and work with Mr. Gibson to clarify the wording of discussion on the Recommendations and Comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Treating Transuranic/Alpha Low-Level Waste at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Completed 5/16/00
3. Mr. Nelson will supply Ms. Rush with details (including a list of companies involved) in DOE payroll and procurement figures reported in an April17, 2000, DOE new release titled "DOE Payrolls Over $695 Million for 1999." Completed 6/7/00 by Ms. Perry
4. Ms. Martha Berry (EPA) will supply the Board with EPA data on contamination in the flood plain near the Boeing Property. (Carryover item from 4/5/00) Completed 6/1/00. Ms. Jones reported via e-mail that EPA has no data