Many Voices Working for the Community

Oak Ridge
Site Specific Advisory Board

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Approved December 10, 2001, Meeting Minutes

The Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board (ORSSAB) held its regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Monday, December 10, 2001, at the Garden Plaza Hotel in Oak Ridge, beginning at 6:00 p.m. A video tape recording of the meeting was made and may be viewed by calling the SSAB support office at 865-241-3665.

Members Present

Jake Alexander
Jeanne Bonner
Donna Campbell
Heather Cothron
Luther Gibson, Jr., Chair
John Kennerly
Alix King1
Steve Kopp
Steve Lewis
Bob McLeod
John Million
Luis Revilla
Peery Shaffer
Coralie Staley, Secretary
Kerry Trammell
Scott Vowell

1Student representative

Members Absent

Ryan Burton1
Mary Lynn Fletcher2
Pat Hill
David Mosby, Vice Chair
Charles Washington

2Second consecutive absence

Deputy Designated Federal Official and Ex-Officios Present

Rod Nelson, DOE-Oak Ridge Offices (DOE-ORO)
Pat Halsey, DOE-ORO
Connie Jones, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
John Owsley, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC)

Others Present

Sheree Black, Bechtel Jacobs Company LLC
Bobby Davis, DOE-ORO
Pete Osborne, Bechtel Jacobs Company LLC
Bob Sleeman, DOE-ORO
Steve Wyatt, DOE-ORO

Ten members of the public attended the meeting.


Mr. Bobby Davis, Leader of the DOE-ORO Emergency Management Team, and Mr. Steve Wyatt, Director of Public Affairs for DOE-ORO, discussed the emergency management measures and communications plans DOE has put in place at its Oak Ridge facilities.

In his presentation, Mr. Davis explained the purpose of the DOE Oak Ridge Reservation (ORR) Emergency Plan, the types of events it covers, emergency action levels, event categorization, and the use of public warning sirens and the Emergency Alert System. Mr. Wyatt described the goals of and procedures used by the Oak Ridge Emergency Public Communications Program. In addition to warning sirens and the Emergency Alert System, DOE uses the Joint Information Center (JIC) as a primary means to distribute accurate and timely information to the public and the media. Copies of Mr. Davis’ and Mr. Wyatt’s overheads are included as Attachments 1 and 2, respectively.

After the presentations, the following questions were asked by members of the Board and the public, and the following responses were given by Mr. Davis and Mr. Wyatt.


Response (abridged)

Mr. Vowell: A Regional Emergency Management Forum was held on Tuesday, November 27. Can you tell us what took place at the meeting? Mr. Davis: The forum included Emergency Management System directors, first responders, members of the SSAB and the Local Oversight Committee, and participants from the DOE sites. The purpose was to convey ORR information and inform offsite participants about onsite hazards.
Mr. Revilla: On your site map you mention sector population. Does that take into account businesses and the plant populations? Mr. Davis: Yes, it does.
Ms. Staley: How long would it be in an emergency before the public notification sirens are sounded? Mr. Davis: As soon as the Plant Shift Superintendent determines there’s a general emergency.
Ms. Staley: Who is responsible for putting out information to parents about where children are taken during an emergency? Mr. Wyatt: During an emergency, that information is sent out through the state via the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, the JIC, and the Emergency Alert System. Mr. Davis: From a planning standpoint, the state works with the county and the city to determine relocation logistics. The Oak Ridge fire chief is responsible for communicating information to the schools through the city systems.
Mr. Kopp: DOE’s radiological facilities have safety authorization basis documents. How do your hazards assessments relate to this documentation? Mr. Davis: We coordinate with the sites for emergency planning purposes and take advantage of any analysis they’ve done for their safety documents. We’re encouraging the plants to treat the hazard assessments as quasi safety authorization basis documents.
Mr. Kennerly: Can you give an overview of how the emergency system worked during the September 11 crisis? Mr. Wyatt: We learned about it through the television and were immediately inundated with calls from the media wanting to know what the security posture would be in Oak Ridge. Mr. Davis: The decision made by our managers was to staff the emergency operations centers until we understood the situation. Staffing was reduced to a core later on to provide coordination with headquarters and other entities. We did not declare an emergency.
Mr. Kennerly: Does DOE direct the emergency centers at the sites during an emergency like this? Mr. Davis: Direction went out to the contractors, and they were expected to implement it. In a broader sense, there’s an emergency director (at first the Plant Shift Superintendent, then the Crisis Manager at the Emergency Operations Center) who manages the response. DOE is there in an oversight role.
Mr. Trammell: Can you give examples of the three types of emergency classifications? Mr. Davis: We’ve had an "alert" (the lowest level) during the K-1302 fluorine leak but nothing above that.
Ms. Bonner: Do you have an idea of the time line for implementing the new communications initiatives you spoke of? Mr. Wyatt: We’ve already started working with employees and on the web site, and over the next few months we’ll look into doing mailings. Local phone books contain emergency information, but we need to look at their usefulness. Mr. Davis: We’ve examined emergency information distribution by TVA and other agencies, and they’ve determined that calendars are a good method.
Ms. Cothron: Is there an evacuation plan, and how do you communicate it? Mr. Davis: The telephone book shows the evacuation plan developed by the state. The Emergency Alert System and the JIC will notify the public about what areas are to be evacuated and what routes are to be used.
Ms. Staley: Have you included the input of any Oak Ridge residents in determining what would help them better understand emergency communications? Mr. Wyatt: We’ve talked to a lot of people, including experts in emergency preparedness education, the nuclear industry, and other areas. Public education is a real challenge, so we welcome any input.
Ms. Susan Gawarecki: What roles do the Local Emergency Planning Committees play in emergency management planning? Mr. Davis: The committees look at hazardous materials in the county and help come up with emergency plans for that county.

Deputy Designated Federal Official and Ex-Officio Comments

Ms. Jones reported that EPA had submitted comments to DOE on the K-25/K-27 site sampling and analysis plan, the waste characterization plan, the action memorandum, and the work plan.

Mr. Nelson announced that E.W. Seals has resigned from the SSAB. DOE is in the process of checking on the availability of a replacement for Mr. Seals and hopes to have someone in place for the January Board meeting.

Regarding the fluorine leak last December in Building K-1302 at the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP), Mr. Nelson reported that a contract for the removal of approximately 67 pounds of fluorine from the tanks within the building is being negotiated with Integrated Environmental Services. A scrubber system will be used to extract the fluorine from the tanks, and then they will be steam cleaned. The contractor will be held to a no-odor threshold during the performance of this work. Plans will be prepared and a readiness review completed before this work can proceed. Current plans are to have the removal completed this fiscal year. The demolition contractor performing the decontamination and decommissioning activities in this area will then remove the tanks when the facility is demolished.

Mr. Shaffer asked if the contract for fluorine removal is specifically for the facility itself or the piping to other facilities as well. Mr. Nelson responded that the contract is only for materials in the building. Mr. Shaffer remarked that the tanks were supposedly purged years ago, so what assurances does the public have that the other piping outside the facility had been purged? Mr. Nelson responded that he did not have an answer to that question. As decontamination and decommissioning activities are begun, he said, EM will have to look at that issue very carefully.

Mr. Nelson introduced Bob Sleeman, Group Leader for the DOE-ORO Integration Team, who presented an overview of the FY 2002 Oak Ridge Environmental Management (EM) Program budget (Attachment 3). Mr. Sleeman reported that the DOE-Headquarters allocation has been received, and Oak Ridge EM funding has decreased from last year. Major projects at ETTP, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the Y-12 plant will be kept going, but some minor ones may not be funded this year. (Updated budget information was distributed by Mr. Sleeman to the Board via e-mail on December 12 and is included in these minutes as Attachment 4.)

Mr. Kopp asked Mr. Owsley to comment on a recent newspaper article stating that DOE has notified the state that all references to mixed transuranic waste would be removed from the ORR Site Treatment Plan. Mr. Owsley explained that DOE made this determination as a result of a 1996 amendment to a Land Withdrawal Act to allow disposal of the material at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico. In the state’s view, he said, DOE is interpreting that amendment out of context, and in any event, it did not apply to Tennessee state law. The state has primacy in its Resource Conservation and Recovery Act program, and therefore, DOE must comply with all provisions of the Site Treatment Plan, including those that apply to mixed transuranic wastes. Mr. Nelson remarked that DOE intends to treat and ship the waste, but the issue in question is putting a milestone for it in the Site Treatment Plan. The DOE-Headquarters legal office has said DOE-ORO could not milestone this activity in the plan because of the Land Withdrawal Act.

Ms. Halsey distributed an Environmental Restoration Project Update (Attachment 5), and she reported that one or more of the Federal Facility Agreement mid-managers will be at the January Board meeting to give an update on recent watershed remediation decision-making.

Public Comment

Mr. Norman Mulvenon, Chairman of the Citizens Advisory Panel of the Local Oversight Committee, urged members to vote "no" or delay the vote on the draft recommendations on DOE’s "Top-to-Bottom Review" so that the entire Board membership could make more informed comment on the topic.

Announcements and Other Board Business

In recognition of Mr. Nelson’s announced plans to retire from DOE at the end of December, the Board presented Mr. Nelson with a plaque in appreciation for his service as the ORSSAB Deputy Designated Federal Official since 1995. A cake was served in his honor during the meeting break.

The next Board meeting will be Wednesday, January 9, at the Garden Plaza Hotel in Oak Ridge.

Minutes of the November 14, 2001, Board meeting were approved without change.

The Board reviewed draft recommendations on the DOE EM Top-to-Bottom Review. A motion was approved to amend Suggestion 1 of the recommendation to read: "We would consider for all future EM projects the route of the non-time-critical removal action, as apposed to the full-blown Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act remedial action project decision-making process, and involve the public in this decision process." Following additional discussion, a motion was approved to send the recommendations back to the Environmental Restoration Committee for additional work. Mr. Alexander asked Ms. Halsey to report to the Board at its next meeting on the status of the DOE Top-to-Bottom Review.

Mr. Alexander, Mr. Peery, and Mr. Kopp gave reports on recent activities of the Environmental Restoration, Stewardship, and Waste Management committees, respectively. Mr. Kopp also reported on the "Oak Ridge Success Story" Ad Hoc Committee, and he distributed a copy of the latest draft document, titled Cleanup Success in Oak Ridge, Tennessee: A Citizens Guide (Attachment 6).

Mr. Osborne gave a report on public outreach, and he distributed copies of the ORSSAB FY 2001 Annual Report (Attachment 7).

Mr. Gibson gave a report on Executive Committee activities:

• The EM Advisory Board Alternative Technologies to Incineration Committee (of which Mr. Gibson is a member) will meet February 20–21 in Washington, D.C.

• The next SSAB chairs conference call has been set for December 17 at 3:30 p.m.

• Norman Mulvenon has been selected as the stakeholder participant for the SSAB Groundwater Workshop panel discussion.

• Mr. Gibson, as a member of the Community Input Team of the ETTP Phase II Drinking Water Project, recently received a copy of a letter from Parallax, Inc., the project contractor, stating that DOE has directed Parallax to bring the project to conclusion.

• The Executive Committee declined to make further comment on DOE’s denial of the Board’s request for a seat on the ORR Land Use Focus Group. The committee has asked for a copy of the focus group’s mission statement, however.

• The Executive Committee voted to approve sending "thank you" letters to committee presenters. Staff and committee chairs will produce the letters for the Mr. Gibson’s signature.

The meeting adjourned at 8:59 p.m.



Ms. Staley moved to approve the minutes of the November 14, 2001, Board meeting. Mr. Shaffer seconded the motion, and the motion was unanimously approved (Mr. Kopp was absent for the vote).


Mr. Alexander moved to approve the draft recommendations on the DOE EM Top-to-Bottom Review. No second was required on the motion.

Mr. Kennerly moved to amended Suggestion 1 of the recommendation to read: "We would consider for all future EM projects the route of the non-time-critical removal action, as apposed to the full-blown Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act remedial action project decision-making process." Mr. Million seconded the motion to amend, and the motion was approved, 13 in favor, 1 opposed (Ms. Bonner), and 1 abstention (Mr. Revilla).

Mr. Shafer moved to send the recommendations back to the Environmental Restoration Committee for additional work. Mr. Revilla seconded the motion, and the motion was approved, 11 in favor, 3 opposed (Ms. Bonner, Mr. Kopp, Mr. McLeod), and 1 abstention (Mr. Alexander).


Mr. Alexander moved that the Board create an ad hoc committee to revise the ORSSAB bylaws to reflect the fact that the ORSSAB Stewardship Committee will serve as the Citizens Board for Stewardship. No second was made on the motion. (Mr. Shaffer agreed to update the Board as this activity is implemented as a task in the Stewardship Committee work plan.)

Respectfully submitted,

Coralie A. Staley, Secretary


Attachments (7) to these minutes are available upon request from the SSAB support office.

Action Items

1. Ms. Halsey will report on the status of the DOE Top-to-Bottom Review. Completed via report at the January 9 Board meeting

2. Mr. Cahill will supply an answer to Mr. Trammell’s question about determining EMWMF leachate capacity. Carryover item from 11/14/01

3. Mr. Kennerly will supply Mr. Cahill with references to French waste cell documents. Carryover item from 11/14/01 Completed 1/9/02 via correspondence to Mr. Cahill (copy in ORSSAB files)

4. Mr. Cahill will supply Mr. Kennerly with copies of the French waste cell documents. Carryover item from 11/14/01

1 Motion

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