Many Voices Working for the Community

Oak Ridge
Site Specific Advisory Board

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Approved July 9, 2003, Meeting Minutes

The Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board (ORSSAB) held its monthly meeting on Wednesday, July 9, 2003, at the DOE Information Center 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 ORSSAB support office at 865-576-1590.

Members Present

Jake Alexander
Dick Berry
Donna Campbell, Secretary
Amy DeMint
Luther Gibson
Pat Hill
Colin Loring
Bob McLeod
John Million
David Mosby, Chair,
Norman Mulvenon, Vice Chair
Linda Murawski
George Rimel
Christopher Smith

1Student representative

Members Absent

Ben Adams
Heather Cothron
John Kennerly
Barbara Kosny1
Luis Revilla
Atur Sheth1
Kerry Trammel

Deputy Designated Federal Official and Ex-Officios Present

Dave Adler, Ex Officio, DOE-Oak Ridge Offices (DOE-ORO)
Jeff Crane, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
John Owsley, Ex
Officio, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC)

Others Present

Jay Bassett, EPA
Jeannie Brandstetter, Bechtel Jacobs Company LLC (BJC)
Lori Greening, BJC
Dennis Hill, BJC
Steve Kopp, former ORSSAB member
Jim McBrayer, BJC

Three members of the public attended the meeting.


Prior to the planned discussion of agency topics, retreat facilitator Lori Greening introduced herself and invited each ORSSAB member to fill out a survey contained in the meeting notebooks. (Attachment 1) The ORSSAB self-assessment survey will be used to evaluate committee performance, staff performance, technical support and agency support during FY 03. The results will be compiled by Ms. Greening and supplied to Board members at the retreat.

At the request of the ORSSAB, DOE, U.S. EPA and TDEC presented topics on which each agency would like the Board to focus in its FY 2004 work plan.

Dave Adler presented a set of issues on behalf of the Department of Energy (Attachment 2).

After the presentation, the following questions were asked by members of the Board and the public, and the following responses were given by Mr. Adler.




Response (abridged)

Luther Gibson – One of the things I see here is you want us to be involved in the Lifecycle Baseline changes, but a lot of that information is not available except internally or to Bechtel Jacobs personnel. Can you address that?

I don’t think we’re asking you to track individual subprojects and dollars and schedules as you expect us to. We are looking for general feedback on the over-arching elements – completion dates, schedules, endpoints, things of that sort. The types of things we would request your attention to are types of things for which we could provide information.

Pat Hill – We will be advised of the process as it goes along so we can be better informed?


Jeff Crane presented nine topics on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency (Attachment 3).

After the presentation, the following questions were asked by members of the Board and the public, and the following responses were given by Mr. Crane, except where noted.

In addition to the issues outlined in the EPA’s letter, Mr. Crane endorsed DOE’s preference that the Board address the ongoing Sitewide Groundwater Strategy and an Ecological Risk Evaluation/Risk Assessment strategy, which is in its initial stages.




Response (abridged)

Mr. Gibson – Can you elaborate on how the ecological risk assessment could perhaps be used to drive cleanup levels lower?

The cleanup decisions made to date have focused on current exposure and future exposure to the land uses and human receptors – human land use. Right now there is a plan, as part of the final Record of Decision to find out what, if any, additional cleanup would be required to be protective of the ecosystem. There’s a well-defined process in EPA guidance as to how to do ecological Risk Assessments and we believe that approach needs to be identified and planned out in ongoing assessment activities. We recently received the Melton Valley ecological study baseline which identified and described how they were doing the initial assessment of the baseline conditions and will be a key tool in planning overall strategy as we go forward.

Norman Mulvenon – We are also interested in using innovative information technologies. We’ll go with you on that one. The other thing is the non-process related boundaries property and land use applications. This is tough and we have a lot of trouble because there’s resistance to outside involvement


Jake Alexander – What is non-process related boundary property?

Essentially there are large portions of the NPL (National Priorities List) site identified from boundary to boundary that have been unimpacted over the years, so DOE has identified areas that they believe would be appropriate for pulling in that boundary, and we’re trying to explore mechanisms for how that can appropriately be done under CERCLA.

Mr. Alexander – So then that would be government surplus land?

That land would not be part of CERCLA NPL facility.

Mr. Alexander – But DOE may need to hold onto it for future use.

It would have no Superfund or CERCLA activity. It would be deemed outside the CERCLA universe.

Mr. Alexander – Why were such areas included in the NPL in the first place?

For large federal facilities, the policy and approach to designating them beyond the NPL was to begin to assess the degree of problems and do the hazard ranking and see if it will reach that threshold level that will call it an NPL facility. Due to the sheer size of the areas, it was recognized that the Preliminary Assessment/Site Inspection would not be complete and did not need to be complete for listing as an NPL. The policy was to simply list the entire federal facility and then set forth a mechanism and process to define the scope of the cleanup and how to reach a delisting from the NPL.

Dick Berry – On the technological side, with reference to the Corehole 8 soil contamination, our soils here are very reactive to lime, and they cement with lime given time – a year, but it happens. I don’t think you should neglect looking at pouring lime down the hole. It’s that easy. Just keep it going and it will lock on. It’s a lot cheaper.

In-situ stabilization type technology. It’s my understanding that it is proposed for a removal action, so I would guess that’s going to be an excavation (Corehole 8) but I don’t know if they’re doing an EE/CA

Mr. Adler – We need to do treatability studies on this just like everything else. That would need to be an alternative looked at.

Lorene Sigal, Stewardship Committee member – At the time of the End Use Working Group, we were presented with not only human risk assessments but ecological risk assessments for the various end uses of the contaminated areas on the reservation. The presentations were very good and we understood what went into an ecological risk assessment. I see new faces on the Board and I would suggest that the Board have maybe one evening to have a good discussion about ecological risk assessments since it’s come to the forefront again.

I’m sure we could provide support to that type of meeting and bring an ecological risk assessor.

Chris Smith – Regarding DOE’s OUO document determination, are there barriers?

The concern we have is that information fundamental to understanding the scope of the response action – be it a removal or a remedial action – be redacted because of sensitive classification under the OUO policy. At this point, we haven’t seen a clear indication of what that might be. We’re basically on guard to watch for what kind of restrictions there could be and challenge, if necessary, the constraint of information flow to the public and as part of the Administrative Record.

Mr. Smith – By OUO do you mean the lowest level classification, or do you include all classifications?

It is the lowest level in Homeland Security.

Jay Bassett – One of the issues is we’ve got records out there that have all this information in them already. It’s already there. Just like DOE, we have responsibilities under FOIA (Freedom of Information Act), and I know DOE has their guidance. But we’re not sure if we can say to withhold that information. At the same time, we’ve got a fairly aggressive cleanup plan and it’s not feasible for us to come up from Atlanta each time to review documents on site.

John Owsley presented topics on behalf of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. (Attachment 4).

After the presentation, the following questions were asked by members of the Board and the public, and the following responses were given by Mr. Owsley, except as noted.




Response (abridged)

Mr. Alexander – Is someone proposing we leave transuranic waste in the ground? On purpose?

We think that’s what DOE is going to come to you with on Corehole 8. Our insistence is that it be excavated. We may be wrong, but that is an issue we would ask to be considered because of the duration of the risk.

Pat Hill – We’re almost at the same place we were a year ago. Do you have any suggestions for what we might do? It’s not that you’re not doing your jobs and it’s not that we’re not doing ours, but I think there’s a breakdown somewhere. The things you asked us to look at last year are some of the same things you’re asking us to look at in the next year.

The only thing I can say is those are still issues that we find significant and need assistance with. We are making decisions that will impact generations forever and we want you to understand that we want your help in making the public at large understand. We’re bound by CERCLA to use the most cost-effective remedy with risks that you are willing to accept.

Ms. Hill – Do you think some of this necessarily comes down to being cost-effective, or do you just think there’s a timeline, and some of these things just keep on keeping on? There’s new waste generated every day and you have a stockpile. I certainly don’t think it’s things that people don’t care about because it’s four billion years down the road. But four billions years is now, also. I think the people on this Board are quite well aware of that. I’m wondering what I as a Board member can do to help the agencies and the Board to get some of these concerns taken care of.

That I can’t answer, but I do ask you to try. As indicated in our list of topics, for long term stewardship records, there needs to be something in place that identifies how these records will be kept. We’re asking for recommendation from this Board – either local policy or state and federal law – that requires the federal government to provide and maintain records in a meaningful way. It’s a difficult task and we’re here asking for help.

Dick Berry – I attended a civil engineers’ conference which happened to have an eight-paper track on disposal of nuclear waste. The speakers were all from overseas. They are disposing of stuff all the time that we run away from and talk about 10,000 years of hurt from. They put it in rock caverns next to the ocean side and let it seep into the ocean at great depths in Sweden. In Norway, they are experts at underground storage in the rock of everything. China is going underground in salt mines with all their stuff. What it brought back to me was, realistically looking at that 12,000 foot diameter crater out in the flats area – about 350 feet deep I believe with a nice little berm around the outside – if untreated we put all the nuclear waste in this country, there’s no where for it to go and there’s no one for it to harm. Put a ribbon around it and say ‘don’t go in there for 10,000 years’ and date it, we’ve got all our problems solved. So when you bring up some of these gigantic issues, they’re fabricated issues by the anti-nuclear forces of the United States. They got their start at Three-Mile Island and they don’t want anything nuclear, no matter what. Of course we’d all die if we weren’t bombarded with some nuclear things, you require a certain amount. You start to deal with insanity and you just might as well let them go their way and chip away at the edges. Do something sane once in a while.

You can put a little bit more money into it and change it a little bit, but it won’t change the results.


Deputy Designated Federal Officer (DDFO) and Ex-Officio Comments


Public Comment


Announcements and Other Board Business

Mr. Mosby presented outgoing Board member Steve Kopp with an award for six years of service to the ORSSAB. He then welcomed two new members, Linda Murawski of Knoxville and Chris Smith of Decatur.

Mr. Mosby announced that the next Board meeting is the annual retreat, which is scheduled for Aug. 2, 2003 at the DOE Information Center from 7:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. The issues presented by DOE, EPA and TDEC at the July 9 Board meeting will provide a platform from which members can build a FY 2004 work plan.

The July 9 Board meeting agenda was approved unanimously.

Minutes of the June 11, 2003, Board meeting were unanimously approved.

The Board unanimously approved agenda items VII.B and VII.C, “Recommendation Concerning the Depleted UF6 Program at ETTP” (Attachment 5) and “Recommendation to Accelerate Removal of Remote-Handled TRU Waste from the Oak Ridge Reservation.” (Attachment 6)

In relation to item VII.D, the Board voted, with one abstention, to write a letter to DOE endorsing its preferred alternative of installing an underdrain in Cell 3 at the Environmental Management Waste Management Facility to address elevated groundwater at the CERCLA waste facility. John Michael Japp of DOE gave presentations at the June Board meeting and a follow-up with the Waste Management Committee outlining several methods being studied by DOE, EPA and the state to remedy the diminished geobuffer zone between groundwater and the bottom of the waste cell. Mr. Alexander moved to table the issue until the Board is presented with a draft letter and background information on the issue. He later abstained from the vote.

No report was given from the Environmental Restoration Committee, but Mr. Mosby referred members to the meeting notebook’s committee minutes, which detail a briefing during which Dick Ketelle of Bechtel Jacobs Company discussed the “Scope of Bethel Valley Groundwater Engineering Study.”  The next meeting of the committee is July 17, 2003.

Mr. Million reported that the Stewardship Committee is reviewing and revising two letters to DOE for eventual consideration by the full Board. One, “Comments on Long-Term Stewardship of DOE Waste Sites – A Status Report,” is proposed for sending to Jessie Roberson, and applauds work done thus far on the National Research Council’s report. The committee agrees that the work on the document, which has been issued as final, ended prematurely when it was discontinued by DOE. The other letter, “ORSSAB Seeks Response from DOE on Recommendations regarding Long-Term Stewardship.” is proposed to be sent to Steve McCracken requesting an official response on outlying stewardship issues on which the SSAB has sought, but not received, response from DOE. The committee’s next meeting is July 15, 2003.

Mr. Gibson reported that the Waste Management Committee met on June 18 to hear a follow-up presentation by John Michael Japp on the groundwater issues at EMWMF. About 30 members of the public attended that meeting. The committee’s next meeting is July 16.

Mr. Mosby reported that the Executive Committee met on June 26. He told Board members that Bill Pardue of ORNL had attended the Executive Committee meeting to again extend an invitation for a tour. The preferred time frame is mid-August, when new Board members are settled, and when buildings at ORNL have been completed. This task is being worked by Pete Osborne of the ORSSAB staff. Mr. Mosby referred members to a Public Outreach Report attached to the Executive Committee meeting minutes.

Mr. Mulvenon reported that the Board Process Committee met on June 19 and July 9 to continue planning for the retreat. An agenda will be revised following discussions in the July 9 Board Process meeting. Mr. Mosby told Board members that the retreat is a very valuable tool for the Board, and he hopes for 100 percent attendance by members at the retreat.

Mr. Rimel of the nominating committee reported that a slate of officers for FY 04 had been selected. They are Dave Mosby, chair; Norman Mulvenon, vice-chair; and Luis Revilla, secretary. Mr. Mosby sought further nominations, then, hearing none, closed the nominations. The election will take place during the Board meeting immediately following the retreat on Aug. 2.

Mr. Mosby pointed members’ attention to the inclusion of the Board roster in the notebook. Mr. Alexander requested the roster be e-mailed to all members. Mr. Alexander also suggested the Board consider the formation of an ORSSAB chat room for members. Mr. Mosby said the Executive Committee could take it under consideration to see if there is a viable way to accomplish this.

The meeting adjourned at 8:45 p.m.


July 9, 2003 meeting agenda passed unanimously.

Ms. Campbell moved to approve the
June 11, 2003, meeting minutes. Ms. Hill seconded, and the motion passed unanimously.

Mr. Gibson moved to approve a “Recommendation Concerning the Depleted UF6 Program at ETTP.” The motion was unanimously approved by those present and voting.

Mr. Gibson moved to approve a “Recommendation to Accelerate Removal of Remote-Handled TRU Waste from the Oak Ridge Reservation. The motion was unanimously approved by those present and voting.

Mr. Million moved to write a letter of endorsement regarding “Groundwater Issues at the Environmental Management Waste Management Facility.” Save an abstention by Mr. Alexander, the motion was passed by those present and voting.

Action Items

1.       Mr. Million will author a letter to DOE detailing the Board’s endorsement of for the installation of an underdrain at Cell 3 of EMWMF to address excess groundwater. Complete, 7/15/03, forwarded to Mr. Mosby for consideration.

2.       Staff will send the Board membership roster via e-mail to all members. Complete, 7/15/03

3.       Staff will continue to assist with planning for a Board tour of ORNL.

4.       Staff will add potential development of a chat room to the Executive Committee Agenda for 7/24/03.

Respectfully submitted,

Donna L. Campbell, Secretary


Attachments (6) to these minutes are available on request from the ORSSAB support office.