Many Voices Working for the Community
The Oak Ridge Site Specific
Advisory Board (ORSSAB) held its monthly meeting on
Deputy Designated Federal Official and Ex-Officios Present
Dave Adler, Ex Officio,
Department of Energy -
Pat Halsey, Federal Coordinator, DOE-ORO
Steve McCracken, Deputy Designated Federal Official, DOE-ORO
Paul Clay, Bechtel Jacobs Co. (BJC)
Charlie Frye, BJC
Fred Heacker, BJC
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
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
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
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
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
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
Mr. Owsley commended DOE-ORO
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.
Announcements and Other Board Business
The next Board meeting will
be Wednesday, April 13, at the
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.
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.
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 at the
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
Tim Myrick gave an
interactive presentation to an advanced placement environmental science 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.
Executive – Mr.
Trammell said the committee discussed the annual retreat and turned the
planning of the event over to the
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
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.
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
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.
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
Additions to the Agenda
The meeting adjourned at
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).
Attachments (1) to these minutes are available on request from the ORSSAB support office.