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
Connie Jones, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Region 4
Steve McCracken, Deputy Designated Federal Official, DOE-ORO
Pete Osborne, Spectrum
Seven members of the public were present.
Mr. Adler gave an overview of Comprehensive Environmental, Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) documentation (Attachment 1).
Mr. Adler began his discussion by saying the presentation had been built around specific requests by Board members concerning CERCLA documentation. He discussed several topics:
· The key aspects of CERCLA documentation
· How the documentation strategies are used at the various sites on the Oak Ridge Reservation (ORR)
· Key documents prepared in the decision-making process
· How documents move among DOE, EPA, TDEC, and the public
· How modifications are made to documents
When a site is first identified as a problem area, the first step is to develop data on the site and understand the contamination and how if affects the environment. The document that gathers that information is called the Remedial Investigation Report. After the information is gathered a feasibility study is done to identify possible solutions to the problem. Typically both documents are submitted at the same time to the regulators (TDEC and EPA).
The next key document is the Proposed Plan, which describes the problem and the proposed solution. After the Proposed Plan has been approved by the regulators it is put out for public comment. Mr. Adler said public comment can be made at essentially any step in the process, but the law requires availability of public input at the Proposed Plan stage.
When public hearings are complete on the Proposed Plan, the Record of Decision (ROD) is written, which codifies the approach for cleaning up the site. After the ROD is written a series of documents are produced related to the implementation of the ROD. Mr. Adler said the two key documents are the Waste Handling Plan and the Remedial Design Report.
Mr. Adler said another important document that follows the ROD is the Land Use Control Implementation Plan (LUCIP). It provides details on any aspect of a remedy related to institutional controls. It is used when contamination is left in place and steps must be taken to restrict access to the area.
Certain documents are also used to establish that a job has been completed. There are various names of the documents, but they are most often known as Remedial Action Reports or Phased Construction Completion Reports (PCCR).
Mr. Adler then led the Board through the stages of the documentation process for cleanup operations on the ORR, specifically at East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), and Y-12 National Security Complex (Attachment 1, pp 5-8).
Mr. Adler said in some cases an interim ROD may be written. This deals with areas for which a ROD has been developed, but the ROD doesn’t deal with all aspects of the cleanup problem. In those cases an interim ROD is written to ensure that those problems not dealt with in the first ROD are addressed at a later date.
Mr. Adler touched on some other important documents. One is the Federal Facility Agreement, which determines how DOE, EPA, and TDEC work together to ensure proper cleanup of the ORR. Another is the annual Cleanup Report that documents the previous year’s work.
Mr. Adler said the annual Remediation Effectiveness Report is one that DOE has always encouraged the ORSSAB to be interested in because it evaluates how well the implemented remedies are performing. He said the law requires such a report to be developed every five years, but ORO produces one every year because of the size of the program.
The Capacity Assurance Remedial Action Report defines if disposal capacity is in line with disposal needs. It is developed to make sure that digging and generating of waste is not proceeding faster than the waste can be disposed.
The Public Involvement Plan, which is updated every three years, describes how the public will be involved in the decision-making process. The Public Involvement Plan also goes out for public comment.
Mr. Adler said while it’s important that changes in work plans be documented, it’s not feasible to allow passing back and forth of documents to set the pace of the clean up program. To make sure work continues on a project, a group called the Federal Facility Agreement Environmental Program Council meets about every two months to work out any problems that may arise during the work process. This group is composed of senior management officials with DOE, TDEC, and EPA.
The actual work of implementing the ROD is done by core teams, which are composed of regulators, DOE personnel, and contractors hired to do the work. The core teams plan the work to be done, design the process for how the work is to be carried out, execute the work, and document the completion of the work through Remedial Action Reports or PCCRs. Mr. Adler said that at each step in this process there is opportunity for public involvement, but it has not been the practice to encourage input. However, he pointed out that anytime anyone wants information about what was going on with a project that the information is readily available. Correspondence among core team members is also available on file at the ORSSAB offices, and core team members can make reports on their work at public meetings.
Mr. Adler referenced a table of all decision documents that have been produced since 1991 (Attachment 2). Documents of particular importance are highlighted in green.
Mr. Adler said even after a ROD is signed there are still opportunities for revision. Minor revisions can be addressed through a Non Significant Change. More important changes are done through Explanations of Significant Difference or a ROD amendment.
DOE, EPA, or TDEC may reopen a ROD if they feel there is a significant reason to do so, either as a result of remediation failure, the availability of new technology that may be more effective, if a remedy is too costly, if site conditions are too dangerous, or if the scope of the work should be increased or reduced.
Following the presentation, questions were asked by members of the Board and public. Below are questions and abridged answers from Mr. Adler (except where noted).
Mr. Gibson – I notice the Action Memorandum for the decontamination and decommissioning of the three buildings at ETTP (K-29- K-31, and K-33) doesn’t have a document number. Is that because it’s a classified document?
I don’t think it’s because it’s classified; it is a publicly available document. I don’t know the answer to that. It probably has a document number and it’s just not on there. We’ll find out.
Mr. Gibson – I looked at one completion report for a removal action. It really doesn’t explain the problems that were encountered. Is there a place where the work instructions or field work packages are archived so that issues encountered in completing the work can be further investigated?
Ms. Halsey – The field notes, changes, and the modifications to the work plans are not necessarily captured and put into the post-decision document record file.
Mr. Adler – The document that is produced does describe the remedy as ultimately being implemented. It may not catch all the changes we made getting there, but it does describe what we ultimately did.
Mr. Gibson – A lot of documents are put in the administrative record and never looked at. Do you have any thoughts about how they can be made more available to the public and have more interest generated in them?
We should always strive to make them more user friendly. One thing I think we could do to make them more accessible and useful body of information for the public is to focus the public on those documents we believe to be the key documents. I don’t think the public benefits a lot by going into the less significant, tertiary documents.
Mr. Gibson – Are we making them electronically available for access to the Internet?
Ms. Halsey – There are more and more of our documents that are being captured electronically. Making them available on the web is still complicated because of the ‘official use only’ situation. We do still have maps in some of those documents that really impede that process. We haven’t taken that step of making the documents as they are generated available on the web.
Ms. Hill – On the last page where you have ROD changes, if for any reason, especially where you have new technology that may come available, is that ROD modified with an addendum or is a completely new ROD brought up?
We typically produce a document that focuses on that aspect of the ROD being changed.
Ms. Hill – Are there any other reasons beyond the ones given that you might think of, or is that in the future, because 10 years ago we didn’t have the technology we do now.
I think that list pretty well captures the general types of things that might cause a ROD to be changed.
Mr. Mulvenon – You might explain why we have PCCRs.
Some of the RODs represent such a large scope of work that it takes multiple years to implement them. Rather than wait till all the work has been done and then at the end hand it off to the regulators and say “we hope you agree this has been done,” we’ve elected to gain their partial concurrence on an incremental basis.
Mr. Mulvenon – Do we still do a Remedial Action Report at the end and roll it all up?
Mr. Mulvenon –Where are you going to put the LUCIP? It’s not a stand-alone document.
It will go to the same place all remedial design documents go. It will be, I assume, part of the information repository. It’s basically a new name for the aspect of the design document. It’s a design document that deals with all the institutional controls as opposed to the engineering measures that are typically captured in a remedial design report.
Ms. Halsey – Leading up to the LUCIP process there was a Memorandum of Agreement signed for the land use control assurance plan (LUCAP). That document is mentioned in every ROD that we sign. Within that LUCAP it requires that the LUCIP be appended to it. And then all the land use controls as they are developed will be appended to the LUCIP. So everything gets compressed and pulled together and is attached to the LUCAP. It will be easy to find at the end of the process.
– I would think the core teams would take care of issues that go in the
correspondence. For instance, there is a remedial action work plan for
dynamic verification strategy at ETTP. There is a letter dated
We try to minimize these instances, but in some cases, the core teams can’t resolve issues. Also, it’s not at all unusual to think you’re almost there and new problems pop in. It’s not necessarily the staff of the regulatory agency’s fault. It could be their headquarters could come in and say “we haven’t asked for this before but deal with it now.” So there are some inefficiencies in the process.
Mr. Kennerly – Have we ever had a situation where the selected remedy costs too much?
Yes, but it’s not common because we work so hard to try to price it out before we pick it. But there have been instances where we pick one out and then we have to go back because it wasn’t a workable approach and we have to rethink it.
Mr. Adams – About three months ago, we had a meeting with Jason Darby, Steve McCracken, and you. The suggestion was made to develop a three-point position tag to indicate where documents are located. Has there been any action on that?
I’ll check with Jason.
Ms. Sigal – I didn’t see much here about what will happen after sites are ‘closed.’ I would ask if you could prepare for the public and the Board a schedule of final RODs, including when you expect to initiate work and when you expect completion. And for each of these could you outline the issues you think you’re going to have addressed in these RODs? Please address stewardship issues such as responsibility, funding, and public involvement for the future.
We’ll do that and give it to the Board.
Deputy Designated Federal Official and Ex-Officio Comments
Mr. McCracken reported that the plan for contaminated soil of Corehole 8 at ORNL is to dig it up and put it in storage. He said much of what is dug out of Corehole 8 will be transuranic waste (TRU) and relates to the TRU waste storage facility. He said treatment of low-level supernate waste was completed last November, and DOE is well on the way to begin treating contact handled TRU waste in fall 2005.
Mr. Trammell asked where the ETTP Zone 2 ROD was in the signature process. Mr. McCracken said he was to meet on April 14 with Gerald Boyd, Manager of DOE-ORO, to sign the ROD. From there it will go to EPA and TDEC for signature.
Mr. Trammell asked both Mr.
McCracken and Mr. Owsley their opinions on the proposed ‘tipping fee’ to the
Mr. Owsley said TDEC has been asked analyze the legislation for the impact it would have on the various TDEC divisions. He said TDEC would not be involved in the collection of the fee. TDEC has also been asked to have its divisions take a position on the legislation. Mr. Owsley said the TDEC DOE Oversight Division will take no position on the legislation. He said if it is passed it will take dollars away from the cleanup operations. But he said another way to look at it is the DOE might rethink its plans to leave some waste on site and try to ship more waste off the reservation because the tipping fee would not apply to waste transported to other areas for disposal.
Responding to a question from Mr. Trammell, Mr. Owsley said the TDEC solid waste division would be involved in determining what would be considered mixed waste.
Mr. Gibson asked Mr. McCracken if there was an ongoing problem with corrosive gases, specifically fluorine, in piping at ETTP. Mr. McCracken said at one time a process involving fluorine was used in the basement of K-1401. He said preparations are being made to demolish that building, but prior to demolition the piping that carried fluorine must be removed. He said a contract has been awarded to remove the piping to ensure there are no problems associated with fluorine that may or may not still be in the piping. He went on to say that U-233 is currently being extracted from the Molten Salt Reactor. That process involves introducing fluorine to the molten salt to create uranium hexafluoride (UF6).
Mr. Adler, in his report, said a conservation easement of about 3,000 acres on Black Oak Ridge near ETTP had been set aside for public use. This is related to a requirement in CERCLA that says whenever land has contamination left in place that has long-term consequences, land trustees must be compensated for that loss of land.
Ms. Jones reported that EPA
has approved some additions to the
Progress on the haul road design continues and some interim remedial designs have been reviewed. She said EPA believes the project is on track for an early May submittal.
DOE, EPA, and TDEC have discussed final revisions to the Melton Valley LUCIP, which should be submitted the week of April 18. After that all the LUCIPS regarding ETTP and others should follow suit.
In his report, Mr. Owsley began by responding to a question Mr. Adams asked at a previous ORSSAB meeting. Mr. Owsley said he had not been able to determine if a new radiological license would be required of new owners of the K-31 and K-33 buildings at ETTP. Mr. Owsley said it was his impression a new license would not be required, but he was committed to finding out for certain and reporting to the Board.
Regarding Buildings K-29, K-31, and K-33, Mr. Owsley said 99 percent of the remaining waste has been treated, packaged, and disposed. He said the super compactor British Nuclear Fuels purchased and installed at the site had been dismantled and sent to Envirocare for disposal. Nickel recovered from the buildings has been stored in K-33, but DOE has not yet decided what to do with it. He said DOE would have to decide about its disposition prior to selling or demolishing the building. Those decisions are expected to be made by 2008.
Mr. Kennerly asked Mr. McCracken what the nickel was stored in. Mr. McCracken said it’s stored in metal boxes. He said that is not a good long-term solution because of the corrosive nature of other chemicals in the nickel. He said DOE-ORO very much wants to dispose of the nickel and possibly sell it because of its value. However, that DOE policy does not currently allow selling of the nickel if it contains any radioactivity. The nickel needs disposal in a timely manner or else it will have to be repackaged.
Mr. Kennerly noted that a proposal had been made several years ago to smelt the nickel with scrap metal from the gaseous diffusion plant and add chromium to make stainless steel for waste containers. He said it was rejected by DOE, but had it been accepted it probably would have save $400-$600 million. Mr. McCracken said that the proposal had been caught up in a programmatic environmental impact statement. He said DOE Headquarters had been informed that perhaps it was time look at that again.
Mr. Owsley continued his report by confirming that he expects TDEC will receive the signed Zone 2 ROD from DOE that Mr. McCracken referenced earlier. He said TDEC will sign it and forward to EPA for signing.
Owsley said TDEC participates in a tri-state working group with
Mosby asked if the recent increases in fuel prices would have an impact on
shipping UF6 cylinders out of ETTP. Mr. McCracken explained that
fuel increases will have no bearing on shipping the cylinders. He explained
that the delay in shipping cylinders to
Mr. Gibson expressed a
concern that trucks shipping cylinders were not maintaining proper spacing
between vehicles during transport. Mr. McCracken responded that there are requirements
to maintain adequate distance between vehicles. He said drivers are reminded of
those requirements, and if complaints are received they are dealt with. Mr.
Owsley said shipments are also tracked by state police agencies in
Mr. Owsley continued his report by saying TDEC is involved in emergency response exercises with DOE. DOE is required to maintain a multi-jurisdictional emergency response plan, which is exercised several times a year. He said TDEC is currently working with ORNL, and a full-participation exercise will be held this summer with all jurisdictions.
noted that TDEC staff has been meeting with DOE
Owsley said DOE has asked TDEC and EPA to consider a waste stream from the
David Witherspoon site in south
staff is monitoring the construction and operation of the haul road from ETTP
Announcements and Other Board Business
The next Board meeting will
be Wednesday, May 11, at the
Mr. McCracken presented
plaques of appreciation to the three outgoing student representatives:
Stephanie Jernigan, Zach Ludwig, and
A proposed change to ORSSAB Bylaws Article III.B was given a first reading. The proposed change, which would remove Board member term limits, will be given a second reading and voted on at the May Board meeting.
The Board approved the comments on the Proposed Plan for Interim Actions for Contaminated Soils and Scrapyard in Upper East Fork Poplar Creek, DOE/OR/01-2173&D2 (Attachment 3).
Kennerly’s report on his trip to the Waste Management
Board Finance – Mr. Mosby reported that Board Finance did not meet in March.
He noted that the upcoming committee meeting will include a report on the Public Health Assessment for the Toxic Substances Control Act Incinerator. He said that report includes some information on ambient air monitoring that the committee will likely look at closely. He also said the next meeting will include a discussion on independent verification of cleanup work that may possibly result in a recommendation to DOE.
A presentation was made to
two classes of
He said the
He noted that the first draft of the Board’s annual report was included in the members’ packets. He encouraged membership to review the report and pass along any revisions, corrections, or comments to staff by April 15.
Mr. Mulvenon asked for more
Board members to consider participating on the
A way has been found to provide shirts to ORSSAB members. An email will go to all members asking for sizes. The committee chose a natural color for the shirts that will have the ORSSAB logo on it.
He reported that this meeting of the ORSSAB will be televised on cable channe1 12 at on April 25.
Ms. Campbell reported that
Ms. Campbell said the
Mr. Adams noted that he will
present a paper entitled “The Twelfth of Never” at the Decontamination,
Decommissioning, and Reutilization Conference in
Executive – Mr. Trammell referred members to the Executive Committee Meeting Minutes for an update on activities. He noted that a national forum on waste management was gaining momentum and recognized Mr. Mulvenon and Mr. Gibson for their work on that topic.
Mr. Trammell reported he had attended a workshop held by the Oak Ridge City Council. The council had invited all of the area environmental groups to make presentations to the council on what they felt were important environmental issues. He said the goal was get these groups together so they all knew what their various interests were. He believed another workshop would be held in within six months to a year.
Section C included minor changes regarding time-critical recommendations. The wording was changed to say time-critical recommendations will be distributed to Board members with an explanation for the time constraints. After the recommendation is distributed a special meeting of the Board may be called to vote on the recommendation.
While no substantive changes
were made to Section D, Process for Public Participation, Ms. Bogard noted that
copies of the Board’s meeting agenda and meeting packets must be available at
Federal Coordinator Report – Ms. Halsey reported that appointment and reappointment packages to the Board have been approved. She said there had been some misunderstanding between DOE-ORO and DOE Headquarters concerning the timing of the reappointments. She said the misunderstanding is being worked, and she will report on its resolution. The new Board member is Robert Olson, and he has been asked to attend the next meeting.
Ms. Halsey said that
Mr. Million moved to approve the agenda. Mr. Adams seconded, and the motion was approved unanimously.
Mr. Adams moved to approve the amended March 9 minutes. Mr. Million second, and the motion was approved by a vote of 13 in favor and 3 opposed (Mr. Gibson, Ms. Hill, and Mr. Kennerly).
Mr. Mosby moved to approve the Comments on the Proposed Plan for Interim Actions for Contaminated Soils and Scrapyard in Upper East Fork Poplar Creek. Ms. Bogard seconded, and the motion was approved unanimously.
The meeting adjourned at
1. Mr. Adler will find out why the Action Memorandum for the decontamination and decommissioning of the three buildings at ETTP (K-29- K-31, and K-33) doesn’t have a document number. Complete. Determined that document number is DOE/OR/02-1641&D1
2. Mr. Adler will check with Jason Darby to see if there has been any action on Mr. Adams’ suggestion to develop a three-point position tag to indicate where documents are located.
3. Mr. Adler will prepare a schedule of final RODs, including expected initiation and completion dates; issues to be addressed; and stewardship issues such as responsibility, funding, and public involvement for the future.
4. Mr. Owsley will determine if a new radiological license would be required of new owners of the K-31 and K-33 buildings at ETTP.
Jones will provide an update on the “Cooperative Conservation Workshop” the
White House is planning to have later this year. (Carryover item from
Owsley will inform the Board when the state’s report of ambient monitoring will
be available. (Carryover item from
Attachments (4) to these minutes are available on request from the ORSSAB support office.