Many Voices Working for the Community

Oak Ridge
Site Specific Advisory Board

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Approved January 14, 2004, Meeting Minutes

The Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board (ORSSAB) held its regular monthly meeting on Wednesday, January 14, 2004, at the DOE Information Center in Oak Ridge. The business portion of the board meeting was held from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and was followed at 7:00 p.m. by a public meeting on the Oak Ridge Environmental Management (EM) Program. A video tape recording of both the business meeting and the public meeting was made and may be viewed by contacting the Information Center at 865-241-4780. Minutes of the public meeting are not included in this document.

Members Present

Ben Adams
Jake Alexander
Dick Berry
Rhonda Bogard
Donna Campbell
Heather Cothron
Amy DeMint
Luther Gibson
John Kennerly
Barbara Kosny1
Bob McLeod
John Million
David Mosby, Chair
Norman Mulvenon, Vice Chair
Linda Murawski
Luis Revilla, Secretary
George Rimel
Atur Sheth1
Kerry Trammell

1Student representative

Members Absent

Pat Hill2
Christopher Smith

2Second consecutive absence

Deputy Designated Federal Official and Ex-Officios Present

Dave Adler, Ex Officio, DOE-Oak Ridge Offices (DOE-ORO)
Pat Halsey, Federal Coordinator, DOE-ORO
Steve McCracken, Deputy Designated Federal Officer, DOE-ORO 

Others Present

Jeff Crane, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Jim McBrayer, Bechtel Jacobs Company LLC (BJC)
Doug McCoy, TDEC
Pete Osborne, BJC

Three members of the public attended the meeting


Mr. Adler gave an overview of the Federal Facility Agreement (FFA) Core Team concept. A copy of the presentation is included as Attachment 1; background material distributed by EPA is included as Attachment 2. The principal purpose of the teams is to help realize consensus decision-making in development of FFA documents so that Environmental Management (EM) Program activities are achieved expeditiously. The Core Teams are the “front line” troops dedicated to accomplishment of a specific scope of work. The following teams have been established:
         Melton Valley
         East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP) Zone 1 and Zone 2 Removal Action
         ETTP Site-Wide Eco/Groundwater Operable Unit
         ETTP Decontamination and Decommissioning
         Balance of Program
         Upper East Fork Poplar Creek (UEFPC) Soils Record of Decision (ROD)
         UEFPC Building 9201-1 Water Treatment System
         EM Waste Management Facility (EMWMF) Expansion
         Bethel Valley Groundwater Engineering Study

Core Teams include DOE, TDEC, EPA, and contractor personnel. Because key parties are involved early in remediation planning and document preparation, any issues identified between parties are addressed immediately. Issues that the Core Teams cannot resolve are elevated to the Program Manager level at DOE, TDEC, and EPA. Issues they cannot resolve are addressed by the Environmental Program Council.

Mr. McCoy observed that the decision-making process has improved considerably under the Core Team process and that “bumps in the road” have been removed to speed up work. Mr. Crane added that the process for getting issues to the right level of authority has also improved. The dynamics for further improvement are in place, and Core Teams are evolving.

Mr. McCoy asked the Board to note that two new types of post-ROD documents have been created recently: the waste handing plan and the phased construction completion report. The waste handling plan came about because of the need for more specific information on handling of CERCLA wastes intended for EMWMF. The phased construction completion report came about through work on the larger watershed RODs that had several operable units. The FFA parties realized that they didn’t want themselves or the public to wait five years to see what progress was being made on completed projects.

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


Response (abridged)

Mr. Adams: Do you think the public is well informed about the Core Team process?

Mr. Adler: Yes. And the quality of decision-making has improved through involvement of the public.

Mr. McCracken: Public participation has definitely facilitated decision-making by DOE and the regulatory agencies. We don’t want to embarrass ourselves by not making timely decisions. Knowing that the public is looking over our shoulders makes us aware of your expectations.

Mr. Mulvenon: The public is concerned about long-term retention of cleanup decision-making records. Will people 50 years from now know how decisions were made?

Mr. Adler: The best way is to make sure the Administrative Record is complete. Mr. Crane: Four key principles for effective Core Teams were developed by DOE-Headquarters (DOE-HQ) with EPA-HQ support and were used at effectively at the Savannah River Site (Core Team 4 Principles Handout provided [Core Teams; Problem Definition; Early Focus on Cleanup; and, Managing Uncertainty]). Use of these principles focuses on a clear description of the problem and basis for cleanup, for the benefit of the Core Team and stakeholders.

Mr. Gibson: Please explain how the contractor and subcontractors participate in the teams.

Mr. Adler: We pull the contractor and/or subcontractor into the teams principally through the document preparation process. Mr. Crane: A key element is to bring in all affected parties early (including EPA contractors) so that no one’s working in a vacuum and document review/approval can be accelerated.

Mr. Adams: I agree with Norman that a retrievable system for archiving information is crucial if new technologies must be applied to cleanup remedies at a later date.

Mr. McCoy: If you’re seeing gaps in the Administrative Record regarding how we’re making decisions, please tell us. We need to know about them.

Deputy Designated Federal Official and Ex-Officio Comments

Mr. McCracken made four announcements:

         Defueling of the Tower Shielding Reactor Facility was completed in December. This will greatly reduce the surveillance and maintenance costs that were necessary while the fuel was in place. The removal of the towers and infrastructure is planned for sometime after 2009.

         Processing at the Foster Wheeler Transuranic (TRU) Waste Processing Facility is slated to begin very soon.

         Mike Hughes has been named President of BJC.

         A general reduction in Fiscal Year 2004 funding by Congress and a rescission of EM funding has resulted in a $34.1 million shortfall this year. About $5 million of this is in salaries and other administrative costs, so the result is that the Oak Ridge EM Program has about $29 million less to work with this year. There has been a $500,000 reduction in the TDEC/SSAB account. DOE-ORO is still sorting out the impacts of the cuts.

Mr. McCracken was asked how DOE-ORO’s cut fared compared to other sites percentage-wise. He said he did not know but that DOE-ORO had about eight percent of the total DOE EM budget and that the percentage is about the same now.

Mr. Trammell asked Mr. McCracken to comment on the status of the Draft Risk-Based End State Vision document for the Oak Ridge Reservation. Mr. McCracken said that he had reminded his staff of their commitment to supply ORSSAB with DOE-HQ comments on the document. DOE-ORO is reworking the document now to incorporate HQ comments. His plan is to send the revised document to the public and HQ by January 31. He offered to have Ralph Skinner walk the Board through the rewrite.

Mr. Adler announced that EM Program staff are in the process of moving to Building 2417, behind the Federal Building. SSAB staff will be relocated to the DOE Information Center.

Mr. Crane reported that the annual process for updating FFA Appendix E milestones is almost complete, and a final set of milestones should be available soon.

Public Comment

Ms. Gawarecki announced that the TDEC 2003 Status Report to the Public is now available at the TDEC offices and the DOE Information Center.

Mr. Walter Perry, DOE-ORO, informed the Board that a Covenant Deferral Request is being submitted to EPA and TDEC for transfer of five office buildings at ETTP to the Community Reuse Organization of East Tennessee. The request will be available to the public at the DOE Information Center, and a notice will be placed in newspapers later this week.

Announcements and Other Board Business

The next Board meeting will be Wednesday, February 11, at the DOE Information Center. The presentation topic will be the Focused Feasibility Study and Proposed Plan for ETTP Zone 2 Soils.

Minutes of the December 10, 2003, Board meeting were approved with one editorial change.

The Board endorsed a letter from the EM SSAB Chairs to Robert Card at DOE-HQ, “Funding of SSABs and the Transition of Sites from EM to Legacy Management” (Attachment 3).

The Board approved “Comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statements for Depleted Uranium Hexafluoride Conversion Facilities” (Attachment 4).

The Board approved “Recommendations on Oak Ridge Reservation Groundwater Strategy” (Attachment 5).

Committee Reports

Board Finance Committee - Mr. Trammell reported that the committee discussed options for Board financing and support at its December 18 meeting. He said that DOE is now considering use of an 8(a) company as a mechanism to support the Board since this option is now available to SSABs, according to a recent letter from DOE-HQ to the Savannah River Site Board. Ms. Halsey added that her recommendation will be to move away from a grant option to an 8(a) because it engenders no liabilities for Board members. Mr. Kennerly asked her if the Federal Advisory Committee Act says anything about funding SSABs, and Ms. Halsey replied that the act specifies that SSAB activities must be funded.

Mr. Gibson expressed concern about publishing in Board minutes the names of entities the Board might enter into contracts with. Ms. Halsey said that she would not have divulged the names were it inappropriate. She also remarked that DOE will be using a sole-source method to procure Board services to ensure staffing continuity.

EM Committee - Mr. Gibson reported that at its December 17 meeting the committee discussed the Draft Environmental Impact Statements on the Depleted Uranium Hexafluoride Conversion Facilities to be constructed at Paducah, Kentucky, and Portsmouth, Ohio. The committee also discussed EMWMF issues, including the capacity assurance plan. The next meeting will be January 21 and will focus on Corehole 8. Disposition of ORO remote-handled TRU waste remains an open item and will be discussed at the meeting as well. TDEC was asked to send a representative to the meeting.

Public Outreach Committee - Mr. Rimel reported that the committee met January 6 to discuss outreach expenditures and a potential ORSSAB exhibit at the American Museum of Science and Energy. [Minutes of the meeting were distributed (Attachment 6).] Mr. Rimel said that the committee discussed having shirts printed with the ORSSAB logo on them. He requested that members who are interested in buying shirts contact him.

Stewardship Committee - Ms. Campbell reported that at its December 16 meeting the committee heard a presentation from Ralph Skinner related to development of a stewardship map. The purpose of the map is (1) identify contaminated property on the Oak Ridge Reservation, including what it is contaminated now and what remain contaminated following EM Program activities, and (2) get this information into an understandable matrix. The next meeting is set for January 20 and will focus on ongoing committee activities.

Executive Committee - Mr. Mosby reported that the Executive Committee met December 17 and 23. The December 17 meeting focused on how to engage members more effectively in ORSSAB activities. The December 23 meeting dealt with regular committee business.

Federal Coordinator Report

Ms. Halsey reported that the National Academy of Science Board on Radioactive Waste Management will hold a meeting at the Double Tree Hotel in Oak Ridge on January 20. The public is invited, and several stakeholders (including Norman Mulvenon) will participate by giving a presentation in the afternoon. Members who wish to attend and participate in the luncheon should notify Ms. Halsey by noon on January 15. Copies of the meeting agenda were made available (Attachment 7).

Mr. Gibson asked if the Data Quality Objectives Workshop for the ETTP Groundwater ROD had been held. Ms. Halsey said that an initial meeting had taken place in December and that two more meetings are planned. She offered to find out when they will be held and if members of the public may attend.

The meeting adjourned at 8:50 p.m.


Mr. Adams and Ms. Cothron were absent for votes on all motions.

Mr. Revilla moved to approve the minutes of the December 10, 2003, Board meeting. Mr. Million seconded the motion, and the motion was unanimously approved..

Mr. Mulvenon moved to endorse the EM SSAB Chairs letter to Robert Card “Funding of SSABs and the Transition of Sites from EM to Legacy Management.” Mr. Revilla seconded the motion, and the motion was approved by a vote of 14 in favor, 1 opposed (Mr. Berry). Mr. Kennerly was absent for the vote.

Mr. Gibson moved to approve “Comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statements for Depleted Uranium Hexafluoride Conversion Facilities.” Mr. Trammell seconded the motion, and the motion was unanimously approved.

Mr. Gibson moved to approve “Recommendations on Oak Ridge Reservation Groundwater Strategy.” Mr. Kennerly seconded the motion, and the motion was unanimously approved.

Respectfully submitted,

Luis Revilla, Secretary


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

Action Items

1.   Mr. McCracken will provide the Board with the revised Draft Risk-Based End State Vision document for the Oak Ridge Reservation and ask Ralph Skinner to discuss the document with the Board.

2.   Ms. Halsey will find out when the next meetings of the Data Quality Objectives Workshop for the ETTP Groundwater ROD will be held and if members of the public may attend. Completed 1/29/04.  The ETTP Groundwater Core Team  determined that they need to be able to meet for these initial DQO discussions without the public involved.

3.    Mr. Skinner will relay to the Board DOE-HQ comments on the Draft Risk-Based End State Vision document. Carryover item from November 12, 2003