Many Voices Working for the Community

Oak Ridge
Site Specific Advisory Board

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Approved June 9, 2004, Meeting Minutes


The Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board (ORSSAB) held its regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Wednesday, June 9, 2004, at the DOE Information Center in Oak Ridge, beginning at 6 p.m. A video recording of the meeting was made and may be viewed by phoning the Information Center at 865-241-4780.


Members Present


Ben Adams

Jake Alexander

Heather Cothron

Rhonda Bogard

Donna Campbell

Amy DeMint

Pat Hill

Stephanie Jernigan1

John Kennerly

Bob McLeod

Katie Meersman1

John Million

David Mosby, Chair

Norman Mulvenon, Vice Chair

Luis Revilla, Secretary

Christopher Smith

Kerry Trammel


1Student representative   


Members Absent

Dick Berry

Luther Gibson2

George Rimel


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

Connie Jones, Ex Officio, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

John Owsley, Ex Officio, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC)


Others Present

Jeannie Brandstetter, Spectrum

Pete Osborne, BJC


One member of the public attended the meeting.


A tentatively scheduled presentation on investigations into the May 8 ETTP sodium fire and the May 14 strontium-90 spill on Highway 95 was postponed, but Mr. Adler did provide a brief update on the investigations’ progress, the reports from which have not been completed. Situations at both sites are stable. He asked that the Board consider co-sponsoring a public meeting to “roll out” the findings. Specific time and location have yet to be determined, but he will work with the Executive Committee to set a date and location.


During and after the presentation, the following questions were asked by members of the Board, and the following responses were given.





Response (abridged)

Mr. Kennerly – Only federal employees can be on a Type B investigation?

That’s my understanding. They tap into commercial and private expertise, but they are headed by federal employees.

Ms. DeMint – Are free liquids normally allowed at EMWMF?

No. There are restrictions on how much free liquid can come in a waste to the cell. Hazardous waste has to pass a test where you put the material on a piece of paper and see if water drips through. In the case of low level waste, there’s an allowance for no more than one percent. We don’t go for zero moisture, because a little bit of moisture helps with dust control, but we aren’t disposing of free liquids in any significant volume at the cell.

Mr. Trammell – I’d like to ask when you do have the meeting that you start out with some basic information about what you’re talking about. A lot of us aren’t real familiar with either one of the items that they had the problem with. If you can talk in layman’s terms about it and try to put it in perspective for us, I think that would help the public rather than having a scientist come in and start discussing things that won’t mean any thing to us.

We’ll make sure there’s proper background to set the stage for the more technical discussions involved.

Mr. Mulvenon – (The meeting should) tell us what really happened for both the sodium fire and the strontium spill. What are the issues involved, what happened? How did it happen? The question about free liquids is important – did it meet those requirements.

Those are the questions we’re asking. And we’ll do our best to present it in a way people can understand.

Mr. Mosby – An important question I’ve heard is “Is Accelerated Cleanup putting undue pressure on safety?” How do you ensure you get an independent look at whether these activities are related to Accelerated Cleanup?

I want to be careful not to say anything that would prejudge the efforts of those groups, so I won’t speculate as to what the problem was or how it can be fixed. There’s independence between the groups doing the study and the groups responsible for the activity. They will not just look at technical issues. They will also look at human/institutional issues and attempt to determine what really caused the problems. The report will draw conclusions and make recommendations.

Mr. Smith – We will host a meeting other than the regular SSAB meeting?

I expect the schedule will work out that it will be other than the regular Board meeting. Best estimate is early in the month of July.

Mr. Trammell – Will this investigation look at all aspects of the accidents, including non-DOE personnel’s response? If it’s not going to cover everybody, will there be a follow-up with those involved to debrief what happened?

I strongly suspect that the study looks not at just the cause, but also the nature and appropriateness of response actions.


Mr. Mulvenon – There are two basic things we are interested in – the accidents themselves, and the emergency response. The SSAB is not the only group interested in the emergency response. Make sure that that takes place.



Deputy Designated Federal Official and Ex-Officio Comments

Mr. Adler announced that the public meeting for the Proposed Plan for the Amendment of the Record of Decision for Interim Actions for the Melton Valley Watershed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee: Revised Remedial Action for Seepage Trenches 5 and 7 is 7 p.m., Wednesday, June 16. The document addresses the change from in situ vitrification to in situ grouting as a treatment method for the trenches.


The Proposed Plan for Remedial Actions in Zone 2 at ETTP has been submitted to regulators. Expectations are that a comment period will be set and a public meeting scheduled sometime in July. Zone 2 includes about 800 acres inside the ETTP that are intended for eventual private industrial use.


Ms. Jones had no announcements, but offered to respond to questions.


Mr. Owsley had no announcements, but offered to respond to Board member questions. Mr. Trammell inquired about the state’s involvement in the investigations. Mr. Owsley said the state had submitted to DOE a list of questions to be answered, most of which have already been addressed. He said the emergency response to both incidents and transportation requirements are among two topics in which the state is very much interested. Questions not answered by DOE will be followed up on.


Mr. Adams asked about municipal emergency responders and if they would be involved in any debriefing. Mr. Owsley pointed out that TEMA has (through DOE support) developed a multi-jurisdictional plan that identifies the roles and responsibilities of all parties involved, including local governments and county responders. The plan will be reviewed following the investigation and necessary improvements made.


Mr. Kennerly asked Mr. Owsley and Ms. Jones if their agencies were informed of the events in a timely fashion. Both said their agencies were notified in a timely manner.


Public Comment

Daniel M. Axelrod, retired nuclear engineer and Presidential candidate of the Constructive Action Party, asked when the advertised topic of the Stewardship Education Kit would be discussed. A former member of the End Use Working Group and the Stewardship Committee, he proffered a copy of his political platform advertised in the May 31, 2004 Oak Ridger. (Attachment 1)


Announcements and Other Board Business

Minutes of the April 14, 2004 (Attachment 2) and the May 12, 2004 (Attachment 3) Board meetings were unanimously approved with changes.


The Board approved “Comments on the DOE Public Involvement Plan” (Attachment 3).


The Board approved “ORSSAB Response to Oak Ridge Reservation Chemical Fire, RAD Spill” (Attachment 4) with amendments. Ms. Bogard asked that a reference to DOE’s past safety record be removed because it isn’t clear if the reference is to Oak Ridge Offices or all of DOE. Mr. Smith suggested removing a reference to “municipalities” since none have been identified as speaking out against DOE.


The Board approved the election of Mr. Adams, Mr. Berry and Mr. McLeod as members of the nominating committee.


Mr. Adler welcomed Oak Ridge High School student Stephanie Jernigan as a student representative.


A presentation due to be made to outgoing member Mr. Rimel was postponed. Ms. Halsey said she would check his availability to attend the July Board meeting to accept his service plaque.


The agenda was approved with the addition of Mr. Mulvenon’s request to seek an extension of the comment period for the Proposed Plan for the Amendment of the Record of Decision for Interim Actions for the Melton Valley Watershed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee: Revised Remedial Action for Seepage Trenches 5 and 7 under Item XI. Mr. Mosby sought to remove Item VII.F – consecutive absences of Pat Hill, Linda Murawski and Heather Cothron – from the agenda.


Committee Reports

Board Finance - Mr. Trammell referred members to the report supplied in the notebook. He said early indications are that the Spectrum contract will have quite an impact on the budget. Members are also studying the future role of a committee facilitator and expected impacts on spending. An Executive Committee meeting to discuss the issue will be held Thursday, June 17 at the DOE Information Center. All members are invited to attend. The next Board Finance Committee meeting is June 24 immediately prior to the regularly scheduled Executive Committee.


Ms. Halsey said she has received the format for the Board’s 2005 budget request to prepare for submission to headquarters. Mr. Mosby asked if the Board would be granted an increase in budget, and if there is anything the Board can do to improve potential for a fully-funded budget. She expects headquarters will make it as difficult as possible, but has a definitive need for that increase due to DOE-HQ prescribed changes to staffing support. She further noted that ORSSAB has one of the lowest levels of funding complex-wide and one of the largest reservations to watch over.


Because Mr. McCracken as yet is unaware of the budget increase due to the change in staffing structure, but he will be responsible for defending the increase to headquarters, Mr. Mosby suggested the Board Finance or Executive Committee send him a letter or meet with him to impress the importance of the Board’s financial needs. Ms. Halsey said a meeting in person might be more effective and said she could work to help set up a meeting between Mr. McCracken and the Board Finance Committee.

Mr. Trammell noted that judging from the Rocky Flats advisory board’s budget being cut almost in half, the ORSSAB might be in trouble. Mr. Mosby said that made it more important to educate Mr. McCracken about the Board’s needs prior to his having to defend the increase in funding.


Environmental Management – Mr. Mulvenon reported the committee had been briefed by DOE on the ETTP Sitewide Work Plan, the ETTP Zone 2 Proposed Plan and the Proposed Plan for changes to the treatment of Trenches 5 and 7 in Melton Valley.


He said a letter requesting an extension of the Public Comment Period for the Proposed Plan for the Amendment of the Record of Decision for Interim Actions for the Melton Valley Watershed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee: Revised Remedial Action for Seepage Trenches 5 and 7 would be written and sent to allow the committee to write comments on the plan. The next meeting is June 16 at 5:30 p.m., when the committee is expected to formulate those comments.


Mr. Trammell noted his appreciation for the DOE-EPA-TDEC core team approach to project management. He said the apparent willingness of the agencies to work together in real time to accomplish accelerated cleanup goals seems to be having a positive impact.


Public Outreach – Mr. Mulvenon reported that the committee had formulated the comments on the Public Involvement Plan and members continue to work on the display about the ORSSAB at the American Museum of Science and Energy.


There are plans for Board members to participate in Oak Ridge’s Secret City Festival June 25 & 26 by manning an information booth. In addition to Mr. Mulvenon, Ms. Cothron, Mr. Adams, Mr. Trammell and Mr. McLeod volunteered to participate.


Stewardship – Mr. Adams said the committee had continued discussing the quest for a reservation map. The June 15 meeting will address the land use information currently available in Anderson County and Oak Ridge, focusing on land currently held or recently transferred by DOE.


Ms. Campbell, Ms. Cothron and Ms. Murawski provided to the Board an extensive update (Attachment 5) on the Stewardship Resource Kit being compiled by the Stewardship Education Subcommittee with the intended audience of advanced high school science students. Ms. Campbell noted that the educational component has always been one of the objectives of long-term stewardship because decision-making responsibility will ultimately rest with generations to come. The kit is being formulated to communicate and identify to new generations background and historical information on Oak Ridge. One of the subcommittee’s first efforts was the Educational Resource Guide, which essentially listed which resources are available to middle and high school teachers.


Ms. Campbell said the ultimate goal is to help students understand issues and activities relating to long-term stewardship, in addition to dispelling misinformation regarding the reservation. If those education goals are not developed, met and maintained, there is the potential for lost funding, unnecessary exposure and inappropriate use of land.


Ms. Murawski has been compiling the notebook, which is in draft form. It includes lesson plans (five stand-alone units) on topics such as Environmental Management, Legacy Waste and Stewardship. Each plan outlines course goals and objectives and contains references to additional resources. She said the finished product can also be used by any number of groups across the DOE complex. The bulk of the information in the kit will be compiled on CD for easy distribution and access, and will be available to any teacher who requests it beyond the region.


Ms. Cothron researched case studies for the kit, noting the difficulty she had locating information beyond cleanup. Information contained in the draft uses a fictional site; the final product will feature a study more tailored to Oak Ridge. A role-playing project based on the finished case study will allow students to break into groups representing real-life stakeholders (DOE, regulators, citizens) then attempt to reach resolution. She said the intent is to eventually marry Stewardship and Public Outreach efforts and broaden them in scope. She said the most important goal for the entire committee is to communicate to future generations the importance of Stewardship.


Mr. Smith said the kit is exactly the kind of product the Board should be producing. Mr. Trammell noted that Boards across the complex are dealing with the same kinds of Stewardship issues, and there appears to be a dichotomy between Board member expectations and DOE’s understanding of them.


Mr. McCracken said the committee’s efforts to educate future generations are invaluable. He suggested that to present the material in a way that is durable and memorable could eventually result in its becoming a part of the education of local students.


Ms. Hill said as a former teacher she appreciated the effort of the subcommittee, noting that knowledge about any topic can sometimes alleviate uncertainty and fear.


The Stewardship Committee has also prepared an Annotated Outline for a Long-Term Stewardship Implementation Plan. It is being revised and will be presented to the Executive Committee before it’s submitted to the full Board in July.


Executive Committee - Mr. Mosby said the committee has agreed in principle to host the next joint national EM SSAB workshop with the caveat that its focus be on Stewardship, with a presentation by Stewardship Education Committee.


He noted that all members are invited to attend the Thursday, June 17 meeting at 5:30 p.m. to discuss the pros and cons of facilitation. Mr. Trammell suggested that anyone who could not attend but had comments or suggestions about facilitation contact Mr. Mosby or Mr. Mulvenon before the meeting. Ms. Halsey reported that she has procured a DOE facilitator for the June 17 meeting.


Board Process Committee – Mr. Revilla said procurement of a retreat facilitator and location of the Board’s annual retreat, in addition to agenda and menu planning are priorities for the committee. The Work Plan topics are due June 30 from the three agencies. No future meeting has been set.


Nominating Committee – Mr. Adams, Mr. McLeod and Mr. Berry volunteered to serve. Their job will be to present a slate of officers at the July Board meeting. The Board will then vote on a final slate at the business meeting portion of the retreat in August.


Federal Coordinator Report

Ms. Halsey made three announcements:

·         Several promising individuals had applied for Board membership since the recruitment drive had begun. Roane State Community College is set to do a blind review of the applications and return a ranking to DOE in July.

·         A draft fact sheet on an Explanation of Significant difference for the Melton Valley area will be reviewed by the EM Committee at its next meeting.

·         DOE is already working to reconcile the Public Involvement Plan comments, based on the draft supplied following the May Board meeting. Another meeting to discuss comment response will be scheduled soon after formal comments are received by DOE.


Additions to Agenda

Mr. Mulvenon requested an extension to July 15 of the Public Comment Period for the Proposed Plan for the Amendment of the Record of Decision for Interim Actions for the Melton Valley Watershed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee: Revised Remedial Action for Seepage Trenches 5 and 7  because the Board can’t vote on any recommendation until its July meeting.


The meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.



Mr. Mulvenon moved to approve the minutes of the April 14, 2004, Board meeting, as edited. Mr. Adams seconded the motion, and it was unanimously approved.



Mr. Mulvenon moved to approve the minutes of the May 12, 2004, Board meeting, as edited. The motion was unanimously approved.



Mr. Mulvenon moved to approve the Comments on the DOE Public Involvement Plan. Mr. Million seconded, and the motion was unanimously approved.



Ms. Cothron moved to approve the ORSSAB Response to Oak Ridge Reservation Chemical Fire and RAD Spill to Steve McCracken. Mr. Trammell seconded the motion, and it was unanimously approved as amended.



Mr. Adams moved to approve the selection of a nominating committee. Mr. Million seconded the motion, and it was unanimously approved.



Mr. Mulvenon moved to approve a request that DOE extend the public comment period on the Proposed Plan for the Amendment of the Record of Decision for Interim Actions for the Melton Valley Watershed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Ms. Hill seconded the motion, and it was unanimously approved.


Action Item

1. Ms. Halsey will set up a meeting between Steve McCracken and Board members to discuss the Board’s FY 2005 budgetary needs.


Respectfully submitted,


Luis Revilla, Secretary




Attachments (5) to these minutes are available on request from the ORSSAB support office.