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Oak Ridge
Site Specific Advisory Board

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Approved March 9, 2005 Meeting Minutes


The Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board (ORSSAB) held its monthly meeting on Wednesday, March 9, 2005 at the DOE Information Center in Oak Ridge, beginning at 6 p.m. A video of the meeting was made and may be viewed by phoning the Information Center at 865-241-4780.


Members Present

Ben Adams

Rhonda Bogard, Secretary

Donna Campbell

Heather Cothron

Amy DeMint

Steve Dixon

Luther Gibson

Pat Hill

John Kennerly

Bob McLeod, Vice Chair

James Miller

John Million

Norman Mulvenon

Tim Myrick

Kerry Trammell, Chair


Members Absent

Dick Berry

Stephanie Jernigan1

Katie Meersman1

Sandy Reagan

Zach Ludwig1

David Mosby

Christopher Smith


1Student representative


Deputy Designated Federal Official and Ex-Officios Present

Dave Adler, Ex Officio, Department of Energy - Oak Ridge Operations (DOE-ORO)

Martha Berry, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Region 4

Pat Halsey, Federal Coordinator, DOE-ORO

Steve McCracken, Deputy Designated Federal Official, DOE-ORO

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


Others Present

Paul Clay, Bechtel Jacobs Co. (BJC)

Charlie Frye, BJC

Spencer Gross, Spectrum

Fred Heacker, BJC

Pete Osborne, Spectrum


Four members of the public were present



Mr. Adler gave a Power Point presentation (Attachment 1) on Waste Disposition Challenges on the Oak Ridge Reservation (ORR).


The primary waste disposition issue on the ORR is a large quantity of legacy low level wastes (LLW). Legacy wastes are those defined as being generated prior to Sept. 30, 2000. But there are other wastes on the reservation, and the challenges of disposing of newly generated wastes (NGW) are essentially the same as legacy waste.


Mr. Adler said he checked with the Office of Science and Technical Information and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) at the Y-12 National Security Complex and asked if they were aware of any waste streams that would be generated in the next few years that had no pathway for disposal.  NNSA was not aware of any such streams.  The Office of Science said there was one waste stream generated from the High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) that could present a problem of disposition.  He said upkeep of the HFIR generates .11 cubic yards of waste per year that has no path for disposal.  That waste is currently going into storage.


Regarding disposition of transuranic wastes (TRU), work is being done to secure permits to ship remote handled and contact handle TRU waste to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico.  There have been some problems in securing those permits.


Mr. Adler explained that BJC has a contract with DOE to safely manage, treat, and dispose of all legacy LLW currently stored on the ORR by Sept. 30, 2005.  Disposition means accepted by the receiver at the disposal site.


The disposition strategy of legacy LLW includes characterization, treatment, and disposition of 1.2 million cubic feet of LLW.  Each container of waste must be characterized to determine what it contains.  Each container is visually inspected.  In many instances, the containers must have the contents sorted because they contain material that cannot be accepted by a particular receiver.  That material must be removed and sent to a receiver that can accept such waste.


Mr. Adler showed a graph (Attachment 1, page 5) of the disposition status of legacy LLW.  He said disposition of the waste is a little behind schedule, but recovery plans are in place to meet the September 30 deadline.


He also talked about mixed LLW (MLLW), which is radioactive material but also contains some hazardous waste material covered under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). RCRA requires that hazardous waste be treated on site prior to disposal.  While there is the added challenge of treatment and disposal, there is a much smaller amount of MLLW on ORR to be dealt with, about 16,000 cubic feet of material.


Disposition strategy of MLLW is very similar to that of LLW, but includes the additional treatment requirement.  All MLLW is disposed offsite at commercial facilities.


He said the disposition of MLLW is also a little behind schedule, but he still expected the deadline will be met.  He said delays have been related to finding facilities to treat the waste or, because of the nature of the waste, existing treatment facilities are not allowed to accept it. Work is being done to find pathways of disposal for this waste.


Mr. Adler said some of the LLW currently has no pathway to disposal.  He said there are two radioisotope thermo-electric generators that cannot be shipped because there is no approved shipping container to handle them.  There are also 29 vaults of remote handled LLW.  The vaults themselves do not pass the standards set for shipping containers and there are no shipping containers currently available the vaults can be placed in.  He said some of the vaults may be eligible for shipping if it can be demonstrated that the activity within the containers is low enough that another type of shipping container can be used.  Other vaults may be opened and the contents characterized and placed in different shipping containers.  But he said ultimately there will be a few vaults that have no disposal path.


He said there also particular challenges with some of the MLLW.  He noted several types of MLLW (Attachment 1, page 10) that currently have no path to disposal.  He said because it is MLLW and requires treatment before disposal, the waste will be treated, but until some pathway for disposal is found the waste will be stored on the ORR.


Mr. Adler concluded his presentation by saying that 99.6 percent of all LLW and MLLW will be disposed of by the September 30, 2005 deadline.  Currently only .4 percent of LLW and MLLW is either legally or physically impossible to remove at this point and has no disposal path.  He said that doesn’t mean that DOE is giving up on it; it just means currently there is no solution to the problem and work is being done to find ways to dispose of that remaining .4 percent of waste.  Even if no way can be found to dispose of the .4 percent of waste by the September 30 deadline, he said it will be safely stored until a solution can be found.


Deputy Designated Federal Official and Ex-Officio Comments

Mr. McCracken said the memorandum of agreement (MOA) for historic preservation at East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP) lacks only one more signature from the State Historic Preservation Office.  He said with all the signatures in place DOE will be free to clean up ETTP.  The north tower of the K-25 building will be preserved.  He said some of the equipment will be preserved for now until it can be determined if the equipment can be decontaminated.  A date of November 2006 has been set to have that decision final.  He said the acceptance of the MOA is “huge” because there will be no more limitations on proceeding with the cleanup of ETTP or on proceeding with historical preservation at the site.

Mr. Trammell asked Mr. McCracken if there would be any independent verification of compliance of cleanup work at ETTP.  Mr. McCracken said BJC will submit a certification package saying it has met cleanup objectives.  DOE, the state of Tennessee, and EPA would determine if those cleanup standards have been met.  He said no independent verification of the work is planned nor has it ever been part of the plan.

Mr. Mulvenon asked Mr. McCracken to provide an update on A-76 activities currently underway within DOE offices in the Oak Ridge Operation.  A-76 refers to Office of Management and Budget Circular A-76 that establishes Federal policy regarding the performance of commercial activities. The circular establishes procedures (cost comparisons) for determining whether commercial-type activities should be performed under contract from commercial sources or in-house using government personnel. Mr. McCracken said A-76 involves looking at the work Federal employees do and determining if the work is inherently governmental; if it’s commercial in nature but can’t be put out to bid, meaning it only makes sense for governmental employees to do the work; or if it’s commercial in nature and can be put out for bid. A study is being done at DOE-ORO to determine if environmental engineering services, primarily the environmental management program, could be put out for bid. He said it will be May before anything is known about the results of the study.

Mr. Trammell asked about the status of the transfer of ownership of Buildings K-1007, K-1580, K-1330, and K-1225 at ETTP to the Community Reuse Organization of East Tennessee.  Mr. McCracken said the transfer package has been signed by the Secretary of Energy and has been sent to Congress for approval.  There is a 60-day waiting period, unless action is taken by Congress to shorten the waiting period and move forward with the transfer.

Mr. Adler talked about some of the adjustments that had been made on the Haul Road to accommodate interested parties such as environmental management and research.  He said about two miles have been realigned.  Most of those adjustments were 10 to 20 feet off the center line.  About 1500 feet have been realigned in response to a request by Natural and Accelerated Bioremediation Research.  He said a $250,000 bridge is being built to accommodate the Tennessee dace, a small fish that is on the endangered and protected list.  He said there will be a final walk down with regulators on Thursday, March 17, 2005. He said Paul Clay of BJC has offered to take some ORSSAB members on a tour of the road.  Interested members can work with staff and Pat Halsey to set a tour date.

Ms. Berry reported that EPA upper management had been briefed on the ETTP Zone 2 record of decision (ROD) and “that everything looks good for that.”  She announced that Patsy Goldberg will be taking over EPA work at Y-12.  She said Harold Taylor, the new section chief at EPA, will coming to the Stewardship Committee meeting on March 15 and the Environmental Management Committee on March 16.

Mr. Owsley commended DOE-ORO Environmental Management and BJC for the work being done on waste disposition that Mr. Adler discussed in his presentation.  He was also grateful that the work is being safely as well as timely. He noted there still remains some additional waste that beyond what Mr. Adler discussed that will require disposition.  A category of waste known as excess nuclear material will either be recycled for reclamation of enriched uranium, which will create a waste stream, or it will be treated as waste itself if no commercial or weapons value can be found.  In effect, he said there will be a significant amount of waste still in place on the reservation after 2005 that DOE will have to characterize, treat, and dispose.

He said the ETTP Zone 2 ROD is ready for signature by the state.  He the state has asked DOE not to proceed with decontamination and decommissioning of the buildings K-25 and K-27 until it has complied with the State Historical Preservation Act.

Mr. Owsley said a change had been requested in release criteria set forth in the End State Vision at ETTP for buildings K-31 and K-33.  That request is under review; however, he said the state expects the buildings to be sold and the new owner would be responsible for the contamination that remains.  If the buildings are not sold the state would expect that the buildings be demolished prior to the final closure of ETTP.  Mr. Gibson asked if new owners would have to be licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the concern being unlicensed owners would undertake decontamination without proper controls.  Mr. Owsley didn’t think the level of contamination was such to require licensure.  He said controls through the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) would address that concern.

Public Comment



Announcements and Other Board Business

The next Board meeting will be Wednesday, April 13, at the DOE Information Center.  Presentation topic will be Overview of CERCLA Documentation.


The minutes of the February 9 minutes were approved with two editorial changes.  Two members of the Board voted not to approve the minutes because they did not contain a question and answer table.  Mr. Trammell said that issue had been discussed at the Executive Committee, but no decision had been made to reinstate the question and answer table to the minutes.


Committee Reports


Board Finance – Mr. Trammell reported in Mr. Mosby’s absence.  He said the committee discussed the allocation of the travel budget among the standing committees.  He expected no problems with the current budget.


Environmental Management – Mr. Gibson reported that at the last meeting Tim Forrester, BJC, gave an update on the status of shipping TRU waste to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in New Mexico.  To date TRU waste from ORO has not been cleared for shipment to WIPP because a certification process has not been established.  Mr. Forrester reported the milestone for receiving remote-handled TRU waste at WIPP is February 2006, but he said more likely it will be some time in 2007. Mr. Trammell said he had heard at the Waste Management Conference earlier in the month that a number of people had been pulled off the permitting process to work on another project in Los Alamos.  He said those people were now back at work on the permitting process for WIPP.


At the committee meeting, Mr. Forrester noted that WIPP is preparing to receive newly generated waste but current regulations prevent WIPP from accepting compacted wastes.  So he said ORO should not compact any more newly generated waste until regulations are modified.


The main topic of the February meeting was an update on the Toxic Substance Control Act Incinerator (TSCAI).  Joy Sager, DOE-ORO, gave the presentation. She talked about some of the permits regulating TSCAI, the upcoming Maximum Achievable Control Technology Comprehensive Performance Test, and risk assessments.  She also talked about the extended operation of the incinerator past the original closure date of 2006.

Mr. Gibson said the presentation for the March meeting will be a preview of the public presentation on the Proposed Plan for the Upper East Fork Poplar Creek.  A public meeting on the plan will be held March 29 at 6 p.m. at the DOE Information Center.  Mr. Gibson suggested that if the Board wanted to make any comments on the plan those comments would need to be developed before the next Board meeting. 

Mr. Gibson asked for clarification on some issues related to the Remedial Action Work Plan dynamic verification strategy on Zone 1 at ETTP, specifically related to the hazard index for Zone 1.  Mr. McCracken explained that a hazard index of 1 is generally considered "safe," but that a hazard index of 3 had been established in the ROD for Zone 1.  Now, he said, EPA is concerned that is not consistent with what had been established in the ROD for Zone 2 and elsewhere.  He said the discussion is whether to go back and change the Zone 1 ROD hazard index from 3 to 1.  He said it probably won't make much difference because when all the work is finished the hazard index will likely be below 1. 

Public Outreach – While the Public Outreach Committee did not meet in February, Mr. Mulvenon provided a report of activities.  He began by commending DOE-ORO and Ms. Halsey for the publication of the Cleanup Progress Annual Report.  He said it is well done and encouraged Board members to read it and share it with others. 


He called attention to the new coffee mugs and coasters that were in place for all the Board members.  The mugs and coasters have the ORSSAB logo and commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Board.  He said there will be other activities coming up later in the year related to the anniversary and encouraged members to participate.


Mr. Mulvenon reported on the grand opening activities of the new ORSSAB exhibit at the American Museum of Science and Energy.  The ribbon cutting for the exhibit was held February 17 and featured a number of local dignitaries and DOE officials.


Tim Myrick gave an interactive presentation to an advanced placement environmental science class at Oak Ridge High School.  The presentation was so successful he will likely be asked to make another presentation to a second advanced placement class.


On Monday, March 14 Mr. Mulvenon will meet with Anderson County Mayor Rex Lynch to discuss cleanup operations at ORR and how it relates to the various jurisdictions in which the ORR resides.


On Thursday, March 17 members of the Board will participate in East Tennessee Public Television’s telethon.


Stewardship – Mr. Adams reported that the paper “Two Counties – One City” had been accepted by the American Nuclear Society for presentation at the Decontamination, Decommissioning, and Reutilization Conference in Denver in August.  Mr. Adams, Mr. Mulvenon, and Ms. Campbell will attend.  The Stewardship Education Resource Kit will also be taken for display at the conference.


Jeff Crane, EPA Region 4, will attend the next Stewardship meeting on March 15.  The discussion will be about Land Use Control Implementation Plans.  Mr. Adler will also be in attendance as well as a representative from TDEC.


ExecutiveMr. Trammell said the committee discussed the annual retreat and turned the planning of the event over to the Board Process Committee. The committee also discussed restoring the question and answer table to the Board monthly meeting minutes.  The committee did not make a final decision on the restoration.  Mr. Trammell wanted to discuss it further with Ms. Bogard who was not in attendance at the committee meeting.  He said a decision on restoring the table to the minutes will likely be made at the next committee meeting.


Board Process – Ms. Bogard discussed her understanding of how the Bylaws changes should be passed as set forth by Robert’s Rules of Order.  Robert’s Rules state that a small number of changes would be adopted as separate amendments.  A large number of changes of would be considered a revision and the entire set of bylaws would be voted on by the Board as a package.


She suggested taking two Board meetings, May and June, to go over all the changes made in the bylaws and work out any contentious portions.  Her hope is to be able to vote on the bylaws as a package at the July meeting.  She noted that only three Board members attend the Board Process Committee meetings.  She encouraged other Board members to attend if they would like to provide input to the Bylaws review.


Mr. Gibson said that the Board had revised the bylaws on several occasions and never before had proposed changes been put before the Board without taking amendments from the floor.  Mr. Trammell said that would be the purpose of the May and June meetings.


Concerning Article V.G, Quorum for Meetings, Ms. Bogard said the committee deleted the word “committee” from the sentence describing a quorum.  If adopted, a quorum would not be needed to conduct business at the committee level.


She said the committee also reviewed the checklist for recommendations from the Board.  The committee determined the checklist was adequate, but probably has not been used properly for previous recommendations.  She said sections III, VII, and VIII were particularly important and should be properly addressed before sending a recommendation to the Board for consideration.


Federal Coordinator Report - Ms. Halsey reported that DOE-ORO will be able to furnish T-shirts to members of the Board.  She will have staff contact members for size information.


She said she has worked with Spectrum, Inc. to secure a facilitator for the standing committees.  She and the committee chairs will meet with the facilitator prior to the next Stewardship and Environmental committee meetings and brief that person in preparation for the meetings.


She reported that six members of the Board are eligible for reappointment and have been asked if they desire reappointment.  Two members thus far have indicated they will not seek reappointment.  Four more members have gone through their second reappointment process and, under the current bylaws, will be leaving the Board at the end of June.  She said she has enough applicants to fill the positions, but the problem is how soon DOE Headquarters will move to get the appointments in place.  Mr. McCracken noted that new appointments for Federal Advisory Committee Act groups go to the White House for approval. He said one application for the Board has been in the works for over a year.  But he said he talked to DOE Headquarters and was assured that with the new Secretary of Energy in place things will start moving again. He urged that applications for new appointments be sent to DOE Headquarters as soon as possible.


Ms. Halsey said within the next week DOE will submit to EPA and TDEC its proposed Appendix J, which are non-enforceable milestones.  Appendix J looks at the fiscal year plus three and beyond for the conclusion of work by Environmental Management.  It does not have to be approved by EPA or TDEC. 


Additions to the Agenda



The meeting adjourned at 9:30 p.m.




Ms. DeMint was absent for the votes on all motions.




Mr. Dixon moved to approve the February 9 minutes with two corrections.  Ms. Hill seconded and the motion was approved by a vote of 12 in favor and 2 opposed (Mr. Gibson and Mr. Kennerly).



Respectfully submitted,


Rhonda Bogard, Secretary




Attachments (1) to these minutes are available on request from the ORSSAB support office.