Many Voices Working for the Community

Oak Ridge
Site Specific Advisory Board

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Approved April 12, 2006 Meeting Minutes

 

The Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board (ORSSAB) held its monthly meeting on Wednesday, April 12, 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

Darryl Bonner

Donna Campbell

Heather Cothron

Steve Dixon

Steve Douglas

Dorothy Dunn

Meredith James1

Gloria Mei

Lance Mezga

Robert Olson

Sandy Reagan, Secretary

Kerry Trammell, Chair

 

Members Absent

Rhonda Bogard, Vice-chair

Chris Grove2

Wade Johnson2

Tonya Justice1

James Miller

Tim Myrick

Norman Mulvenon

Ken Sadler2

David Wesolowski

 

1Student Representative

2Second consecutive absence

 

Deputy Designated Federal Officer and Ex-Officios Present

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

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

Steve McCracken, Deputy Designated Federal Officer

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

 

Others Present

Daniel Axelrod

Luther Gibson

Spencer Gross, Spectrum

Alice Murphy, East Tennessee Environmental Business Association (ETEBA)

Pete Osborne, Spectrum

Pat Parr (DOE)

Chuck Spoons (DOE)

Janet Westbrook

 

Eleven members of the public were present.

Presentation

Oak Ridge Reservation Planning – Integrating Multiple Land Uses.

Chuck Spoons, reservation management coordinator for DOE, made the presentation. 

 

He said the Oak Ridge Reservation Ten Year Site Plan (Attachment 1) is not a land use planning document, but is driven by DOE Order 430.1B, which is a real property assessment management requirement.

 

He began the presentation by explaining the need for a ten year site plan (Attachment 2, page 2). 

 

He talked about planning assumptions, which include priority given to future DOE missions and to identify areas no longer needed by DOE.

 

He noted current DOE mission activities (Attachment 2, page 5).   He said land use priorities have three levels: Priority 1 is to preserve and protect land needed to meet DOE missions; Priority 2 is to maintain land and facilities to provide economic growth; Priority 3 is to protect the environment, meet the requirements of science, and support educational research on the Oak Ridge Reservation (ORR).

 

A list of current ORR activities is noted on page 8 of Attachment 2.

 

Page 9 of Attachment 2 shows emergency response areas of responsibility.  The light blue area of the map is the area of the Environmental Management Waste Management Facility (EMWMF).  He said if there was an emergency at the waste cell, Y-12 would respond first, followed by the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP) response teams.

 

Types of research uses and research areas are noted on pages 11-14 of Attachment 2.

 

Regarding historic and cultural resources, Mr. Spoons said there are more than 30 cemeteries on the ORR that DOE maintains.  Under state law, access must be granted to those cemeteries.

 

He said reservation roads were primarily fire roads.  The roads were built after major wildfires burned large areas in the western United States a few years ago.  The roads compartmentalize the reservation into sections each worth $1 million.

 

Mr. Spoons said information regarding natural resources and physical characteristics will be published in a separate document.

 

Future land uses for the ORR will include:

  • Field research areas and facilities
  • Environmental management and long-term stewardship areas
  • Land responsibility changes
  • Safety and security buffer zones
  • Integrated ecosystem management
  • Expanded public and education opportunities
  • Continued economic development

 

He said the reason for sharing information about the site plan with the Board was to raise awareness of mission activities and uses of the ORR and to highlight any identified potential changes in land use or activities.  He said he wanted to be clear that the Ten Year Site Plan was not a land use plan.  He said a land use plan would have much more stakeholder involvement.

 

He said the northwest area of the reservation around ETTP was always thought to be an industrial redevelopment area.  Mr. Spoons said the core of the reservation would be preserved for DOE missions.

 

He said work would begin on the land use planning document in the summer of 2006, and stakeholder meetings will be set up to include the ORSSAB.

 

After his presentation a number of questions were asked.  Following are abridged questions and answers.

 

 

Question

Answer

Mr. Axelrod – On page 9 of your presentation there is an area colored in yellow as City of Oak Ridge.  Is that not Tennessee Valley Authority Property?

 

Mr. Trammell – That property is in the Oak Ridge City limits, isn’t it?

Mr. Spoons – Yes, it is. We got the color wrong on that.

 

 

 

Yes.  It is in the City of Oak Ridge, but is Tennessee Valley Authority Property.

 

Mr. Axelrod – Regarding the fire roads, are there water mains along those roads?

 

 

Could you explain the biological significance rankings?

Mr. Spoons – No.  Pumper trucks would be used to bring water in.  In some of the build up areas there are, but in the majority of the reservation, no.  

 

Ms. Parr – These are rankings done by the Nature Conservancy in 1995.  They looked at the data from the ORR and compared it at a national level.  They determined the number of rare species and rare communities, and they grouped those into biologically significant areas.  The reservation has about 80 biologically significant areas.  You can tell by the colors that some are ranked 2, which is more significant than others.  There are biologically significant rankings of 2, 3, and 4 identified on the reservation.  There are rare plants and animals on the reservation.  Most of them are state listed.  We have very few federally listed species.

Ms. Sigal – Concerning current activities and uses on the reservation, could you talk more about the National Environmental Research Park?

Mr. Spoons – What we’re talking about there would be environmental research, some activities the University of Tennessee has planned for field research.

 

Ms. Parr – We heard there was high potential to use that area for environmental research, especially in collaboration with the University of Tennessee.  Discussions have already been held with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency so that any types of activities done out there would be compatible with wildlife management.

Mr. Adams – Is land not designated for DOE missions beyond public or municipal use?

Mr. Spoons – The reservation manager has said that if the city, this group (ORSSAB), and other groups can get together and present a united package saying ‘this is what we would like done with this land’ we will listen to the ideas.

 

Deputy Designated Federal Officer and Ex-Officio Comments

Mr. McCracken introduced Dorothy Dunn as a new member to the Board.  He also presented a plaque to Meredith James, outgoing student member, for her service to the Board. 

 

Mr. McCracken recently attended the Congressman Doc Hastings caucus in Washington, where Congressman Zack Wamp introduced some of the DOE-ORO people and talked about the work that is being done.  He said the meeting went well and afforded an opportunity to share with people in Washington the things that are done and will be done in Oak Ridge.

 

He said cleanup of the K-770 Scrapyard has been difficult because of the discovery of some unexpected items that must be isolated and characterized.  He said hundreds of small containers that might contain uranium hexafluoride have been found. Three casks, probably containing cesium, have been found with high radioactive readings.  He said the casks will probably go to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) where they will be opened for characterization.  Mr. McCracken said the material will probably be sent to New Mexico or Nevada for final disposition.  He said had it been known that this material was present, the work would have been planned differently, but because of the way the work was being done, the problem was identified early on without any impact to the workers or equipment. He said the work is about finished and then soil remediation will be done. 

 

Mr. McCracken said he had been to DOE headquarters and will be going again to finish up discussions on the corrective action plans in response to the accident at K-25 in January 2006 that injured a worker. He said the accident investigation indicated seven judgments of need that corrective actions must address. He said the investigation recommended that the way decontamination and decommissioning work is being done at K-25 should be reevaluated.   A plan is being developed to keep workers off the operating floor where the accident occurred.  There is also a concern of having workers under the operating floor because of falling debris.  He said options are being studied to remove equipment from the building remotely using equipment with ‘reach and grab’ capability to keep workers out of the building as much as possible.  In instances where workers must go into the building, safe conditions will be put in place.  He said when the plan is fully developed he would like to make a presentation to Board.

 

Mr. Adler had no comments.

 

Ms. Jones reiterated Mr. McCracken’s comments about K-770 scrap yard.  She said EPA is reviewing documents related to the ETTP site wide record of decision. She EPA should be able to approve the phased construction completion report for the K-1007 Ponds Area and the Powerhouse North Area at ETTP upon resolution of comments and receiving the final document.

 

Mr. Trammell asked if she had any information concerning EPA comments that it was premature to delist leachate under the Record of Decision for the EMWMF (DOE/OR/01-2268&D1). She did not have information but said she would follow up. 

 

Mr. Owsley said regarding land use planning, TDEC proposed in 2002 to place 20,000 acres in protective status because of unique flora and fauna in the area.  He said that acreage was basically the undeveloped area of the reservation and would not change the plans for the parcel known as ED-6 at ETTP.

 

Public Comment

Mr. Axelrod said the March 2006 Advocate newsletter reports Ms. Halsey saying DOE’s Environmental Management program ‘couldn’t be happier with success of the Stewardship Education Resource Kit’ and workshop that was held in February 2006. Mr. Axelrod said he felt this was an example of the Board’s advocacy bias.  He said the kit ‘makes a mountain out of a molehill disgracing Oak Ridge as a professionally incompetent educational distortion.’  He said the kit fails to answer the question ‘what are we being stewards of’ and fails to address the basic question of long-term costs.  He suggested professional expertise to study the Board’s stewardship efforts.  Attachment 3 is the full text of Mr. Axelrod’s comments.

 

Alice Murphy introduced herself as the new executive director for ETEBA.  She said the association has about 130 businesses, most doing work in the area as contractors or subcontractors for DOE.  She expressed interest in working with and supporting the efforts of ORSSAB.  She said one of the projects ETEBA is currently working on is to get funding for work on the ORR not currently in baseline, particularly for the integrated facilities disposition plan.

 

Janet Westbrook worked at ORNL for 11 years as a health physicist and radiological engineer.  She said she was laid off from her job because of her persistent reporting of safety concerns in the radiological protection area. She has written a book about her experience, which is posted on the internet at http://techno-info.com/JanetWestbrook.  She noted that half of the settlement in her case against her employer was paid in taxpayer dollars provided by DOE.

 

Mr. Gibson, in response to Mr. McCracken’s comments about the problems at the K-770 Scrapyard, said he had worked in the environmental compliance department assigned to that area.  He said a subcontractor technical representative was assigned to the site to make decisions on items as they came up.  He wondered about available records and institutional knowledge and any attempts by DOE to retrieve information about the site.  He thought it might be helpful for DOE to bring findings of problems to organizations such as ORSSAB, which might be able to provide information, rather than reporting after the fact what was found and what steps are being taken to resolve problems.

 

He also expressed concern about the K-1007 Ponds Enhancements Alternatives at ETTP.  He said the EPA’s comments on the engineering evaluation/cost analysis dealt more with post action memorandum monitoring, rather than the various alternatives or if it was the proper time to proceed with the project.  He felt like the Board should offer a recommendation on the alternatives rather than awaiting resolution of comments by EPA to DOE.

 

Announcements and Other Board Business

The next Board meeting will be Wednesday, May 10, 2006, at 6 p.m. at the DOE Information Center. The presentation will be an Update on the Oak Ridge Environmental Management Program.

 

The minutes of the March 8, 2006, meeting were approved.

 

Lacking two-thirds of the Board membership in attendance, the Recommendation to Support Above Target FY 2008 Budget Request was removed from the agenda.

 

The motion on two consecutive absences for Sandy Reagan was removed from the agenda as Ms. Reagan was in attendance.

 

Committee Reports

 

Board Finance – Mr. Dixon reported that the committee reviewed the FY 2006 costs table.  He noted that the amount listed for facilitation in March reflects February costs as well.  Costs in the “Other” category are for tour books from FY 2005 that were not posted until this year.  He said the table does not reflect costs for software purchased in March for staff use.

 

The committee will meet at 5 p.m. for its April 25 meeting.

 

EM – Mr. Mezga said the committee heard a presentation on the decontamination and decommissioning of Buildings K-25/27 at East Tennessee Technology Park.  He said the committee may make a recommendation regarding safety issues in light of an accident that injured a worker in January.  He said BJC will supply information regarding cost and schedule impacts as a result of the accident and any changes that may be made in the way work is done at K-25.

 

He said the committee is waiting on resolution of comments by EPA on the Ponds Enhancement Alternatives for the K-1007 Ponds at ETTP before issuing any recommendation of its own.

 

He said Mr. Trammell, at the Spring SSAB Chairs meeting, will bring up the issue of newly generated waste at sites that will no longer be under the purview of DOE’s Environmental Management program.

 

The committee briefly looked at the explanation of significant difference for leachate delisting at the EMWMF.  EPA believes the delisting is premature.  The committee decided not to take any action until DOE responds to EPA concerns.

 

He reported that EM and Stewardship will have a joint meeting on April 18 to hear a presentation on the 2006 Remediation Effectiveness Report – 5 Year Review.

 

Public Outreach – Ms. Cothron reported that nine of 21 Board members completed the survey she distributed at last month’s meeting.  She said the committee will focus on two or three key items during the year.  One of those items will be participation in the Secret City Festival.  She asked for volunteers to help staff the event.  Space has been reserved for June 16 and 17.  Volunteers can contact Mr. Osborne.

 

She said some of the committee members will brief Jeff Smith and Karen Downer in Jeff Wadsworth’s office at ORNL about the activities of the Board on April 28.  She said a meeting with George Dial at BWXT Y-12 will be scheduled in the next couple of months.

 

Ms. Cothron asked for volunteers to help on the next teacher’s workshop for the Stewardship Education Resource Kit.

 

She said the next Public Outreach Committee meeting will be Wednesday, April 19 at 5:30. 

 

Stewardship – Mr. Bonner said the committee heard a presentation from John Kubarewicz on FY 2008 Budget Prioritization and Sequencing at its March meeting.  That presentation was the basis for the recommendation to support above target request that was scheduled for a vote at this meeting.

 

Executive – Mr. Trammell said the committee developed a list of three site issues to be presented at the Spring SSAB Chairs meeting April 27-28 in Knoxville. He said DOE Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management James Rispoli is planning to attend the meeting.  He said it was a good opportunity for Mr. Rispoli to learn more about Oak Ridge and the work that takes place on the reservation.  As Mr. Mezga mentioned in his committee report, Mr. Trammell said the issue of transfer of oversight of newly generated waste from DOE’s Environmental Management program to other areas will be brought up at the chairs meeting. Mr. Trammell said it would be good time to bring to Mr. Rispoli’s attention the Board’s support for additional cleanup scope at Y-12 National Security Complex and at ORNL.

 

Mr. Mezga noted that Mr. Trammell will be leaving the Board after the June meeting and asked members to be thinking about a candidate for the chairmanship.

 

Mr. Mezga also said the Executive Committee had considered drafting a recommendation concerning the Integrated Facilities Disposition Plan.  He said the committee has since decided the entire Board should be briefed on the plan before a recommendation is drafted.  Mr. McCracken said while there is no urgency in issuing a recommendation, the time is appropriate for input from the Board.  Mr. McCracken said a critical decision process asking to approve the plan is at DOE headquarters.  He said if the proposal is accepted the next step would be conceptual design to support the budgeting process.

 

Board Process - Ms. Reagan reported that the committee will meet April 19 to begin planning the annual meeting in August.  She asked for volunteers from the Board to join the committee to help plan the event.

 

Federal Coordinator Report

Ms. Halsey asked that Board members keep the first or second Saturday in August open for the annual retreat.  She said Board Process will decide on a definite date for the retreat at its next meeting.

 

Additions to the Agenda

No additions.

 

Motions

4/12/06.1

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

 

4/12/06.2

Mr. Douglas moved to approve the minutes of the March 8, 2006 meeting.  Mr. Mezga seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

 

The meeting adjourned at 7: 53 p.m.

 

Action Items

  1. Mr. McCracken will report on the resolution of comments made by EPA on the K-1007 Ponds EE/CA.
  2. Mr. Mulvenon will provide Mr. McCracken information on pond remediation activity in the United States. Complete.
  3. Mr. McCracken will forward Mr. Axelrod’s question concerning the future of molten salt reactors.
  4. Mr. Trammell will address Mr. Axelrod’s request for videos of his previous appearances before the Board. Complete.
  5. Mr. McCracken will report when Foster Wheeler begins processing Oak Ridge generated contact-handled TRU waste. Status.  Scheduled to begin processing on March 20.
  6. Mr. McCracken will see if someone from Y-12 can speak to the Board concerning plutonium contamination of uranium. Carryover item.
  7. Mr. McCracken will check to see if higher than expected levels of radiation have been detected at Trenches 5 and 7. Complete. Groundwater sampling has been suspended because of high levels of contamination in the trench water.
  8. Ms. Hughes will provide the 2005 ASER guidance when it becomes available. Carryover item.
  9. Mr. McCracken will get more information about what non-ORO wastes will be shipped to the Toxic Substances Control Act Incinerator for disposition. Carryover item.
  10. Mr. McCracken will keep the Board informed on the start date and the estimated cost of completion for new work outside the accelerated closure plan. Carryover item.
  11. Mr. McCracken will report to the Board on new plans to demolish K-25.
  12. Ms. Jones will get more information on EPA’s position on the leachate delisting explanation of significant difference.

 

Respectfully submitted

 

Sandy Reagan, Secretary

 

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