Many Voices Working for the Community

Oak Ridge
Site Specific Advisory Board

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Approved January 11, 2006 Meeting Minutes


The Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board (ORSSAB) held its monthly meeting on Wednesday, January 11, 2006, 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, Vice-chair

Darryl Bonner

Donna Campbell

Heather Cothron

Steve Douglas

Meredith James1

Wade Johnson

Tonya Justice1

Gloria Mei

Lance Mezga

Norman Mulvenon

Tim Myrick

Robert Olson

Sandy Reagan, Secretary

Ken Sadler

Kerry Trammell, Chair

David Wesolowski


Members Absent

Steve Dixon

Chris Grove

Pat Hill2

James Miller


1Student Representative

2Third Consecutive Absence


Deputy Designated Federal Officer and Ex-Officios Present

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

Pat Halsey, Federal Coordinator, DOE-ORO

Connie Jones, Ex-Officio, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Region 4

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

Steve McCracken, Deputy Designated Federal Officer


Others Present

Jim Donnelly, National Nuclear Security Administration

Luther Gibson

Spencer Gross, Spectrum

Joan Hughes, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)

Pete Osborne, Spectrum

Tony Poole, Bechtel Jacobs, Co. (BJC)


Twenty-two members of the public were present.



2004 Annual Site Environmental Report

Ms. Hughes presented the results of the Annual Site Environmental Report (ASER) (Attachment 1).  She said input for the report comes from more than 70 authors.  Her presentation was divided into four sections:

  • Why a report is written
  • What it contains and what it doesn’t report
  • Overview of the Oak Ridge Reservation (ORR) environmental programs
  • Overview of the results from each major site on the ORR – ORNL, East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP), and the Y-12 National Security Complex (Y-12).


She said the ASER is required by DOE Order 231.1, which calls for an annual summary of data to characterize environmental performance.  The ASER is delivered in October and contains data for the previous calendar year.  She said DOE Order 450.1 issued in January 2003 calls for environmental monitoring criteria.  The purpose of the order is to promote sound stewardship practices for air, water, land, and natural and cultural resources. 


The major component of that effort is the Environmental Management System. Its purpose is to go beyond compliance and reduce future harmful impacts to the environment.  All three sites on the ORR have an EMS in place.


Ms. Hughes said not all data is included in the ASER, such as waste characterization and remedial investigation data. 


She said there are three volumes of ASER material – the primary report, the data volume, and the student summary compiled by students at Karns High School.  All three volumes are available on the Internet at


She said the 2004 ORR compliance was excellent (Attachment 1, page 3, slide 1).  The DOE radiation dosage limit is 100 millirems.  The highest dose equivalent from all ORR pathways was 12 millirems.


Airborne radiological dose summary and ORR radiation dose limits for all pathways are noted in Attachment 1, page 4.  Information on the three major sites is noted in Attachment 1, pages 5-8. 


A summary of the ASER results is noted in Attachment 1, page. 9


After Ms. Hughes presentation a number of questions were asked by Board members.  Following are abridged questions and answers.





Ms. Jones – At ETTP, you have a figure of 900 buildings scheduled for reindustrialization or demolition.  Is that all buildings or just the ones workers would normally be associated with?

Mr. Poole – All structures.

Mr. Trammell – Why are the leasees not included in the information at ETTP?

Mr. Poole – When the leasing program began, they were covered under their own permits - radiological licenses and those types of things.  The direct effluence from them is not a DOE source so it’s not part of DOE reporting.  But because they are co-located among the facilities they would be picked up in some of the ambient monitoring, because you measure ambience no matter who is discharging.  So indirectly some of the effluence would be part of the report, but not those.

Mr. Mezga – You said the trends are consistent for toxicity monitoring for water sampling at ETTP.  What is the trend?

Mr. Poole – The trend for toxicity is basically the same.  You won’t see a change until you see source removal back into the watershed.  That particular action has not occurred yet under the cleanup program.

Mr. Adams – The front part of the report has a lot of notation in the metric system.  But later a lot of it is in the English system.  Why is that?

Ms. Hughes – At one point we used to provide a conversion table and we got away from that.  Now we report in units that were used in measuring and what the authors provided.  We’ve talked about it and what I think we’re going to do is provide a conversion for the English system when it’s reported that way and in other cases use the metric system as reported.


Mr. Mulvenon – They will probably report in metric and put the English conversion in parentheses.

Mr. Mezga – Is the ASER a valid tool for evaluating the effectiveness of cleanup on the reservation?


But in general, can the information found in ASER be used to understand at a higher level what’s going on on the reservation from the standpoint of the effectiveness of corrective actions?

Ms. Hughes – I think the Remediation Effectiveness Report is where you find that information.



Mr. Poole – With the ASER what we’re following are the discharges from the permitted units.  The ASER is not designed to do the effectiveness.  That’s the reason we have the Remediation Effectiveness Report.  In general with the water quality trends, yes, you can see if there are any spikes.  But the ASER is not the tool to accomplish that.

Mr. Douglas – Is there any way the report can be delivered before almost a year has passed?

Ms. Hughes – This report is delivered on Oct. 1.  That’s about as early as we can deliver because we sample until the end of December.  Then there’s a month to two months waiting for analytical results, then data verification and validation, then it goes for dose assessment, and so on.  It would be pretty difficult to shorten that unless we cut out data collection in December.  We can provide specific information for a project earlier than that, generally.


Ms. Mei You said the hypothetical maximum exposure is 12 millirems.  That is compared to what number?


How does that compare to other sites like Hanford or Argonne?

Ms. Hughes – That’s compared to the 100 millirem DOE limit.




Ms. Hughes – I don’t really know, but I can get that information for you.


Mr. Donnelly – At Y-12 it’s slightly higher because of the deer dose.

Mr. Gibson – In October 2004 there was a meeting at the National Transportation Research Center that developed guidelines for the ASER.  Have you had a similar meeting in the past year and is that guidance available?


Do you think you could give it to us before the report comes out so we could track it?

Ms. Hughes – Yes.  We had a similar meeting.  It rotates from site to site and was held in Los Alamos in October 2005.  The guidance for 2005 has not come out yet.  We usually don’t receive that until March or April.  But it’s pretty consistent from year to year.




Yes.  The deliverable date and that kind of information is in the 231.1 order.

Mr. Johnson – You measure certain circumstances to an established standard.  Are those compared to some control standard, say, in Chattanooga or Knoxville?

Ms. Hughes – Yes.  In almost all the programs we have offsite reference locations we compare to.  For the reservation-wide programs, for instance ambient air, there is no significant difference in measurements from the offsite locations to the reservation perimeter stations.  In surface water we do measurements upstream and downstream.  We do vegetable and milk sampling, and we have reference locations in non-impacted areas.  Reservation wide we don’t see much difference from reference standards.


Deputy Designated Federal Officer and Ex-Officio Comments

Mr. McCracken reported on an accident at ETTP where a worker fell 29 feet through a K-25 operating floor.  The worker was seriously injured, but survived and has returned home from the hospital.  An investigation is underway to determine the cause of the accident.


Mr. Mulvenon commented that he was glad the worker survived, but believed that DOE should not delay in resuming work at K-25. Mr. McCracken said there was a pause in elevated work as a result of the accident, but as far as he knew most, if not all, of the work in elevated areas had resumed and work continues at K-25.


Mr. McCracken said the East Tennessee Environmental Business Association held a conference January 10 and 11 to discuss lessons learned on various cleanup projects to help DOE-ORO plan for work to be done on the ORR between 2009 and 2015.  Mr. McCracken said a lot of good ideas came out of the meeting and the results will be published later and placed on the association’s website,  He said planning for work between 2009 and 2015 must begin soon.


Mr. Bonner asked if work scheduled to end in 2009 would run concurrent with the new work scheduled to begin in 2009.  Mr. McCracken said he felt the new work would actually start in 2008 and overlap the finishing work scheduled for completion in 2009. He said he would be able to report actual start date for new work and the estimated cost of completion at a later date, perhaps within two months.


Mr. McCracken reported that processing of contact-handled transuranic (CH TRU) waste has begun at the TRU Waste Processing Facility.  He said DOE is working with TDEC to secure a modification to the Resource Conservation Recovery Act permit, which will allow for a continuous flow of CH TRU for processing and disposition at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in New Mexico.


Mr. Trammell asked when all of the CH TRU would be shipped to WIPP.  Mr. McCracken said DOE-ORO would not be able to get onto WIPP’s CH delivery schedule until well into the summer of 2006.  He said WIPP was told if some other facility in the DOE complex could not make its delivery schedule, then DOE-ORO would take that spot to send CH TRU to WIPP.  Officials from WIPP must come to Oak Ridge to do a certification review in February, and the hope is transport would begin shortly after that.  But Mr. McCracken had no definite time that shipments would begin or transport completed.


He said he is working with the Tennessee Department of Transportation to secure the necessary waivers for transporting the remaining uranium hexafluoride containers from ETTP for storage in Ohio.


Mr. Trammell asked about the 2006 budget.  Mr. McCracken said about $7 million was taken out of the original budget of $500 million.  He said that’s a rather small amount to deal with and work is being done to determine what effect it will have on operations.  Mr. Adler added that the shortfall might require ‘modest’ adjustments to some FFA milestones.


Mr. Trammell asked about the haul road from ETTP to the Environmental Management Waste Management Facility.  Mr. McCracken said the road is scheduled to open January 17.  Mr. Mulvenon asked if a more detailed explanation of haul road cost overruns was forthcoming.  Mr. Adler said an explanation would be provided at the EM committee meeting on January 18.


Mr. Trammell asked about the explanation of significant differences (ESD) to the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment record of decision (ROD).  Mr. Adler said the ESD explains a proposed modification to the ROD, which would change the agreed to configuration of removed fuel salts from the reactor stored at Building 3019 at ORNL.  The draft ESD fact sheet will be discussed more fully at the EM committee meeting on January 18.  Mr. Myrick asked about the status of Building 3019, which is undergoing shutdown from medical isotope production.  Mr. McCracken said it was made the responsibility of EM by an act of Congress and a report is being prepared detailing how the work is to be done.


Mr. Douglas asked how the continued operation of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Incinerator would figure in handling wastes from other sources.  Mr. McCracken said he believed the bulk of the material would come from Portsmouth, Ohio, and Paducah, Ky., and were primarily oils containing PCBs drained from their gaseous diffusion plants.  He said he thought there was a sufficient backlog of material to keep the incinerator in operation for about three more years. Mr. McCracken said he could get more detailed information on the non-ORO TSCA Incinerator wastes.


Mr. Adler had no other comments.


Ms. Jones said the EPA project manager for the ETTP Site Wide ROD is in the process of compiling comments for the remedial investigation/feasibility study.  She said EPA has received DOE’s response to comments on the phased construction completion report for the K-901 and Duct Island Area at ETTP.  She said EPA hopes to resolve remaining issues and approve the document.  She said she expects EPA to approve the phased construction completion report for the Predominantly Uncontaminated Facilities of the Remaining Facilities Demolition Project at ETTP.


Mr. Owsley said DOE provides TDEC the opportunity to review and comment on the ASER and its site environmental monitoring plans.  He said the findings are consistent with the state’s own environmental monitoring activities.  Mr. Owsley said the state’s monitoring is not meant to duplicate DOE’s monitoring efforts, but to complement it.  He said the state’s primary concern is not so much the ambient environment, but the potential for hazardous releases from the ORR.


Mr. Owsley said several reports by the state are due out.  An annual status report that updates projects by TDEC and provides an assessment of DOE’s environmental management activities is due by the end of January.  Mr. Owsley said the state also provides an annual environmental monitoring plan that will be available by the end of January, as well. He said an annual environmental monitoring report will be available in the spring 2006. 


Mr. Owsley said all TDEC produced reports and plans are available at the TDEC offices, the DOE Information Center, in local libraries, and on the Internet at doeo/active.php.


Mr. Mulvenon asked about the status of grouting activities at Trenches 5 and 7 in Melton Valley.  Mr. McCracken said he and Mr. Owsley went to the site to look at a test trench that had been dug.  According to a report he received from on expert on site, Mr. McCracken said the grout used to seal the waste had passed conductivity requirements.  Mr. Owsley said equipment is being installed to monitor the conductivity of the grout and that information will used to determine if the remedy is effective.


Public Comment

Mr. Gibson said he wanted to make a connection on the ASER presentation to some recommendations by the Board.  He noted a recommendation made in 1999 on the 1997 ASER, which made some suggestions on improving the report.


He also noted a recommendation in 2005 on the public health assessment for the TSCA Incinerator related to ambient air monitoring, but no response has been received on that recommendation. 


Announcements and Other Board Business

The next Board meeting will be Wednesday, February 8, 2006, at 6 p.m. at the DOE Information Center. The topic will be Strategic Planning for ETTP Following Cleanup.


The minutes of the December 14, 2005, meeting were approved with one correction.


The Comment on the Class 3 Modification to the Hazardous Waste Facility Permit for the Waste isolation Pilot Plant was approved (Attachment 2).


Mr. McCracken introduced Ms. Mei and Mr. Wesolowski as new board members.


Mr. Trammell introduced Becky Brunton as the Board’s new facilitator for the EM and Stewardship committees.


Committee Reports

Board Finance – no report


EM – Mr. Mezga reported that the committee heard a presentation on the K-1007 Ponds remediation alternatives.  He said the committee is considering whether to write a recommendation on the issue.  He said the committee will discuss a draft recommendation on independent verification at ETTP at its next meeting.  The presentation topic for the next meeting will be newly generated waste transition at Y-12 from DOE EM to National Nuclear Security Administration.


He said the Waste Management Symposia is coming up in Tucson, Ariz., and any Board member interested in attending should submit a travel request.


Public Outreach – The committee did not meet in December, but Ms. Cothron said she, Mr. Trammell, Mr. Douglas, and Mr. Mulvenon met with state representative Jim Hackworth and brought him up to date on the activities of the Board and encouraged him to stay informed about Board activities.


She said the teachers’ workshop for the Stewardship Education Resource Kit is set for February 9 and 11 at Pollard Auditorium.  Work continues on its planning and execution.


Mr. Douglas attended the Perma-Fix Waste Management Forum recently.  He set up the ORSSAB exhibit and distributed materials about the group and interacted with attendees of the conference.  Ms. Cothron encouraged Board members to send ideas about public outreach for the Board to any Public Outreach committee member.


Stewardship – Mr. Mulvenon said the education minute for the December meeting was on end state vision, which he said is being reinstituted by DOE headquarters.  He said the presentation at the December meeting was on the Long-term Stewardship Implementation Plan.  The committee continues to discuss what will be included in the plan.  The January presentation will be on the land use control implementation plan for Melton Valley.


Executive – The committee did not meet in December.  Mr. Trammell did comment that he and Mr. Mulvenon are members of the Community Reuse Organization of East Tennessee (CROET) board as representatives of ORSSAB.  He said the CROET board is restructuring from 40 members to only 15 and he and Mr. Mulvenon had been nominated to serve on the new board.  He felt like that indicated ORSSAB input was important to CROET, but he said that no seat on the CROET board would be designated for ORSSAB after his and Mr. Mulvenon’s terms end.


He encouraged members to review their packets prior to meetings, especially incoming correspondence, any proposed recommendations, and the EM projects update table.


He also encouraged members to attend the Spring Chairs meeting in April.  He said the agenda is pretty firm and DOE Assistant Secretary for EM James Rispoli has been invited to attend.


Board Process – Ms. Bogard reported that at its December meeting the committee discussed the process for making recommendations.  It was felt that Stewardship and EM committee members should become more involved in the process of developing recommendations rather than have one or two committee members spearhead the procedure.  That discussion led to the mentoring process. It was felt that mentors should contact protégés when a recommendation is due to be discussed at a Board meeting and explain why that recommendation is important to the Board.  The committee also believed mentors acting as issue managers for a recommendation should involve their protégés in developing a draft recommendation. Ms. Bogard encouraged Board members to maintain regular contact with their protégés.  She said Board Process would be evaluating the effectiveness of the mentoring program next month.


Federal Coordinator Report

Ms. Halsey said DOE must notify the regulators by January 13 if there were going to be any impacts to the cleanup schedules as a result of budget shortfalls.  The ORSSAB will be copied on that correspondence.  She said Bechtel Jacobs, DOE’s prime cleanup contractor, is studying how the shortfall will affect Federal Facility Agreement milestones and will submit a milestone modification form to the regulators on February 6.


She said the Federal Facility Agreement Cleanup Progress Report is scheduled for delivery to the regulators on January 31.  Copies of the report will be sent to the board members with their next meeting materials.


Ms. Halsey said DOE and the regulators will be meeting on January 18 and 19 at the DOE Information Center.  That meeting is closed to the public.


She reported that with the addition of two new members the ORSSAB is at its full contingent of 20 voting members.


Additions to the Agenda

No additions.




Mr. Olson moved to approve the agenda.  Mr. Adams seconded and the motion carried unanimously.



Mr. Myrick moved to approve the minutes of the December 14 meeting. Mr. Mulvenon seconded and the motion carried unanimously.



Mr. Mulvenon moved to approve the Comment on the Class 3 Modification to the Hazardous Waste Facility Permit for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.  Mr. Adams seconded and the motion carried with one abstention (Mr. Wesolowski).


Action Items

  1. Mr. West will find out the protocol for air monitoring along the haul road. Complete.  Information is provided in Attachment 3. 
  2. DOE will provide additional details to the Board on the Haul Road cost estimates and actuals. Status. A detailed report will be given at the EM committee meeting January 18.
  3. Ms. Hughes will research hypothetical maximum exposure results found at other locations compared to Oak Ridge’s number of 12 millirems.
  4. Ms. Hughes will provide guidance for the 2005 ASER when it becomes available.
  5. Mr. McCracken will get more information about what non-ORO wastes will be shipped to the TSCA Incinerator for disposition.
  6. Mr. McCracken will keep the Board informed as he can on start date and the estimated cost of completion for new work outside the accelerated closure plan.


Respectfully submitted,


Sandy Reagan, Secretary


Attachments (3) to these minutes are available on request from the ORSSAB support office.