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Oak Ridge
Site Specific Advisory Board

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 Approved May 10, 2006 Meeting Minutes


The Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board (ORSSAB) held its monthly meeting on Wednesday, May 10, 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 Dixon

Steve Douglas

Chris Grove

Wade Johnson

Sarah Lewis1

Gloria Mei

Lance Mezga

Norman Mulvenon

Tim Myrick

Sean Purdy1

Robert Olson

Sandy Reagan, Secretary

Kerry Trammell, Chair


Members Absent

Dorothy Dunn

James Miller2


1Student Representative

2Second consecutive absence


Deputy Designated Federal Officer and Liaisons Present

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

Connie Jones, Liaison, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Region 4

Steve McCracken, Deputy Designated Federal Officer

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


Others Present

Daniel Axelrod

Paul Clay, Bechtel Jacobs, Co. (BJC)

Luther Gibson

Spencer Gross, Spectrum

Alice Murphy, East Tennessee Environmental Business Assn. (ETEBA)

Pete Osborne, Spectrum


Eighteen members of the public were present.



Oak Ridge Accelerated Cleanup Overview and Status Report on the Oak Ridge Environmental Management Program.

Mr. Clay discussed the Accelerated Cleanup Program. He began his presentation talking about BJC’s safety record. While there had been a decrease in recordable incidents from calendar year 2004 to 2005, he said January 2006 had nine recordable cases, the most serious at the K-25 building that critically injured a worker. That accident led to a reevaluation of how work is being done at K-25. Corrective actions and changes in the decontamination and decommissioning (D&D) procedures are being instituted. He said April and May had no recordable incidents.


He noted the status of four major milestones of the accelerated cleanup project (Attachment 1, page 3). The disposal of low-level and mixed low-level waste has been completed. Melton Valley and the Balance of Reservation projects are on schedule, but the closure of East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP) has been reset for completion in FY 2009. He said the rescheduling is primarily due to the reevaluation of the D&D at K-25.


He summarized the status of waste disposition (Attachment 1, page 5), notably the transition of Y-12 waste operations to BWXT-Y12, extending the operation of the Toxic Substances Control Act Incinerator at ETTP, and continued work on a small amount of no path for disposal waste.


Mr. Clay said Melton Valley remediation is on schedule for completion in FY 2006. He said remediation of Solid Waste Storage Area 4 is basically complete and that all capping will be completed before September.  Grouting at Trench 5 is compete and fill dirt is being brought in. Mr. Clay said work at the 7841 Scrapyard includes a lot of different contaminated material that slows work somewhat.


Attachment 1, page 7 notes remedial actions that have been completed or are underway at ETTP in Zone 1.  Mr. Clay said work at the K-770 scrap yard is about 75 percent complete.


Mr. Clay said 5,040 uranium hexafluoride cylinders have been shipped to Portsmouth, Ohio, leaving less than 1,000 cylinders to be shipped.


In Zone 2 at ETTP, 34 of 44 units will be characterized by the end of FY 2006. He said demolition of the K-29 building, which began in January, should be complete by end of FY 2006. In the main plant and lab area at ETTP, 142 facilities have been demolished, 204 have been deactivated, and 240 have been characterized. D&D is underway in all four of the major process buildings at ETTP: K-1401, K-25, K-27, and K-29. 


Mr. Clay said both K-25 and K-27 have deteriorated to the point that new ways to access and demolish the buildings must be developed. A number of lessons were learned as a result of the January accident. He said the new plan will address how to limit the exposure of workers inside the facility during D&D. A new demolition plan is due by the end of May. 


He said a number of ancillary facilities inside the “U” of the K-25 building have been demolished and sent to the Environmental Management Waste Management Facility (EMWMF).


Six facilities totaling about 300,000 square feet have been transferred to the Community Reuse Organization of East Tennessee.


Mr. Clay said the Haul Road from ETTP to EMWMF is open and operating.


Offsite, the David Witherspoon 901 site in South Knoxville is scheduled for completion in summer of 2006. Access to the 1630 site has been gained for site preparation and characterization.


At Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Mr. Clay said preparations are being made to characterize Tank W1-A prior to excavation around the tank.


Mr. Clay said the FY 2006 priorities focus on safety. He discussed some technical and regulatory challenges, which are listed on page 25 of Attachment 1.


Mr. Clay mentioned a recent fluorine release at the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment. There were no injuries. The incident involved about 5 pounds of fluorine, but he said the safety envelope limited the amount of material released. 


Mr. McCracken’s portion of the presentation was a status report on the Oak Ridge Environmental Management (EM) Program. His presentation involved projects that are not in the BJC scope of work.


He talked about the Integrated Facilities Disposition Plan, which would add scope to the EM baseline. Excess facilities at ORNL and Y-12 would be added to the EM program for remediation or demolition between 2009 and 2018. The additional work would support modernization and footprint reduction at ORNL and Y-12. Mr. McCracken said the focus of the work would be on remediation of groundwater and soil and disposition of facilities. The plan is being considered at DOE Headquarters. He said the issue being discussed is the period involved and how to pay for it.


Mr. McCracken said it makes sense to begin work on the project while a trained and experienced workforce is in place. Pages 4 and 5 of Attachment 2 show facilities in blue at ORNL and Y-12 that are excess and would become the responsibility of EM. Buildings colored in green are already EM’s responsibility.


Mr. McCracken said EM has been directed by Congress to dispose of uranium-233 that is being stored in Building 3019 at ORNL. The material had been the responsibility of Nuclear Energy for medical isotope recovery.


At the Transuranic Waste Processing Facility, Mr. McCracken said the processing of supernate was completed in October 2004. Contact handled transuranic waste (CH TRU) processing began in December 2005. The next step is to build the facilities to process remote handled TRU.  Shipping of TRU waste to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico is due to begin in 2007.


After the presentations a number of questions were asked.  Following are abridged questions and answers.




Mr. Adams – Was title to the David Witherspoon property ever vested away from him?


Will it be a greenfield when completed?

Mr. McCracken – No.




It will be cleaned up to industrial standard.

Mr. Douglas – The material that has no path for disposal will likely have no path when cleanup is completed.  Is there any attempt to go back and recharacterize that material to determine if it is truly has no path?





Mr. McCracken - Can you say how much material is no path?


Mr. Douglas - As you get near the end of the work, is there a way to make sure that you have enough technical people to do the work?

Mr. Clay – That is exactly what we are doing. Some of the no path problem is a security issue. We need to set up some treatment equipment in a secure area where we could perform the treatment operations. So we’re working with some vendors to see if we can work through some of those issues.




It’s very small. In hundreds of cubic feet.



Mr. Clay – We have about 400 people working at Melton Valley. When that work ends in September, we hope to use many of those people at ETTP.  Beyond 2006 and into 2009, a lot of that depends on how the scope of work ramps up.


Mr. McCracken – The 2007 budget is not much different from the 2006 budget. So as far as jobs go it’s not going to change a lot. The ideal thing to do is to keep this work force in place and working beyond the BJC contract if there are available funds to do it.

Mr. Trammell – If the Integrated Facilities Disposition Plan is not approved, is there any way to reallocate funds to make sure work doesn’t drop off?

Mr. McCracken – We have proposed a strategy that would do what you are suggesting. We have to wait through the deliberation process to see if there is money available to do that. It is my job to see that we are requesting the funds to do work beyond 2008 and we are doing that. In 2009 BJC’s work begins to taper off. We’re trying to put together a plan to begin this new work.

Mr. Mulvenon – Regarding the accident at K-25.  I don’t understand how we’re changing the strategy for taking down the building based on one guy falling.







Mr. Trammell – How will this change of strategy impact cost?

Mr. McCracken –The safest way to do this work is with heavy equipment. It’s also cheaper. We’ve called the right people together to balance their individual responsibilities for construction safety, criticality, fire protection, and security. We’re asking ‘what is the minimum amount of work that can be done in the building before we can go out and finish the job with heavy equipment?’ We’re going to come back and share that plan with you.


We will share that with you by the end of this month.

Mr. Mezga – Do you have an estimate as to how much of EMWMF will be filled at completion of work and has anyone looked at the disposal capacity for the Integrated Facilities Disposition Plan?

Mr. Clay – We think we’re going to need 1.2 to 1.3 million cubic yards of capacity to finish the Accelerated Cleanup Program scope.


Mr. McCracken –We can build more capacity if we need to.  It will be close, but we think we will have enough space.

Mr. Myrick – If the 2008 budget is tight, does it change what we do in 2007?

Mr. McCracken – Yes, but it depends on how much of a down year 2008 would be. As far as what the 2008 budget will look like I don’t know yet.

Mr. Johnson – Regarding the change of responsibility of the uranium-233 at ORNL, was an opportunity missed to benefit another segment of the economy or would the benefits gained not be worth the cost and effort?

Mr. McCracken – Congress made the decision that it shouldn’t be a medical isotope recovery program so they gave it to us for disposal. I don’t really know what the potential benefit is. It’s not unusual in this business for people to say ‘this is good stuff; why are you throwing it away?’  In many cases there are benefits to be derived, but it’s very expensive.


Deputy Designated Federal Officer and Ex-Officio Comments

Mr. McCracken introduced Sarah Lewis and Sean Purdy as new student representatives to the Board. 


Mr. Adler said the record of decision for soils and scrap at Y-12 (DOE/OR/01-2229&D3) has been signed. He said Appendix E of the Federal Facility Agreement as been signed, which establishes milestones agreed upon by DOE, EPA, and TDEC, primarily as part of the accelerated cleanup scope as well as some milestones to begin work in 2008.


Regarding Appendix E, Mr. Owsley said DOE agreed to milestones for a number of planning documents to begin work scheduled for 2009 but did not agree to the entire list EPA and TDEC recommended. He said DOE will be making a list of those recommended milestones as part of the 2008 budget submittal. He said EPA and TDEC are requiring that DOE ask for an above target budget request for 2008.


Ms. Jones said EPA will not proceed in processing the leachate delisting at the EMWMF under the Comprehensive Environmental Restoration, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA). If DOE wishes to proceed, it must be done in accordance with the Resource Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA) delisting process. 


Public Comment

Mr. Gibson responded to Ms. Jones concerning the leachate delisting by saying there was an EPA guidance document indicating delisting could be done under CERCLA if residue is managed on site. He said RCRA guidance would apply if residue was managed off site. Mr. Gibson said he would be sending the web address to this guidance to TDEC and DOE. He also announced a luncheon meeting of the East Tennessee Air and Waste Management Association. (Attachment 3).


Ms. Murphy said ETEBA, the East Tennessee Economic Council, and the Oak Ridge and Knox County Chambers of Commerce are working together to support level funding of $550 million in the 2008 budget. She asked for the Board’s support in maintaining level funding.


Mr. Axelrod said that at the last two meetings he had introduced proposals to modify the Stewardship Education Resource Kit. He presented a memo to the Board suggesting more material be added to the kit (Attachment 4).


Ms. Gawarecki said stakeholders would have many questions concerning a change in cleanup strategy at K-25. She asked that a public meeting be held to discuss ideas before DOE formulates a plan and presents to the public for input.


Announcements and Other Board Business

The next Board meeting will be Wednesday, June 14, 2006, at 6 p.m. at the DOE Information Center. The presentation will be a Melton Valley update.


The minutes of the April 12, 2006, meeting were approved.


The Recommendation to Support Above Target FY 2008 Budget Request was approved (Attachment 5).


The motion on two consecutive absences for Chris Grove and Wade Johnson was removed from the agenda as both were in attendance.


Committee Reports

Board FinanceMr. Dixon reported that at its April meeting the committee reviewed the current ORSSAB cost report. The committee made some adjustments to cover deficits in line items.


EM – The committee met jointly with the Stewardship Committee in April to discuss the 2006 Remediation Effective Report (RER), which this year includes the Five Year Review. The May meeting will be a presentation on various aspects of the EMWMF, including operations and the waste acceptance criteria. The committee will also discuss a possible recommendation on the RER.


Public OutreachMr. Douglas reported that at its April meeting the committee elected to have a booth at the Secret City Festival in June. He solicited volunteers to man the booth.


A focus group meeting has been set for 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 18 at Puleo’s Restaurant in Knoxville, to gather teachers’ comments on use of the Stewardship Education Resource Kit in the classroom. 


The committee also discussed the annual Stakeholder Survey and agreed that the questions being asked of respondents may not be providing the type of information ORSSAB is seeking. Committee members are going to review the survey questions and bring recommendations for revision to the May meeting. He also asked for input from Board members regarding the survey questions.


Mr. Trammell said he, Mr. Johnson, and Mr. Mulvenon met with Jeff Smith and Karen Downer who work in the general manager’s office at ORNL. He said they were familiar with the work of the Board and had a good discussion about working together, particularly as it relates to the Integrated Facility Disposition Plan.


Stewardship Mr. Mulvenon reported Stewardship and Environmental Management held a joint meeting in April to discuss the RER/Five Year Review. This is the second Five-Year Review, which determines if remediation and stewardship efforts are working. Jason Darby, who made the presentation, reported there were no surprises or trends in the RER.


Mr. Mulvenon said the May meeting will be a tour of Melton Valley to learn more about stewardship of the area. He invited any Board members wishing to go on the tour to advise staff to get their names on the list.


Executive – Mr. Trammell reported that he and Mr. Mulvenon had attended a meeting of the Community Reuse Organization of East Tennessee and were pleased with progress at Heritage Center (ETTP) and Horizon Center. Heritage Center has announced two companies are in the process of buying property and building facilities. He said one company is looking at Building K-31 at ETTP for ethanol production.


Mr. Trammell said at next month’s meeting a nominating committee will be selected to develop a list of candidates for officers to be elected at the annual meeting in August. He asked for volunteers to consider serving on the committee.


Mr. Trammell talked about the recent chairs meeting of the nine site specific advisory boards, which was hosted by ORSSAB in Knoxville. The meeting included a tour of the Oak Ridge Reservation and a day and a half business meeting. Each board chair was presented with a President’s Volunteer Service Award pin by Assistant Secretary of Energy for EM James Rispoli. Mr. Trammell said the award was actually recognition of the work by all board members and not just the chairs.


Mr. Trammell noted two letters that were developed at the chairs meeting to be sent to Mr. Rispoli (Attachments 6 and 7). One letter dealt with lessons learned at closures sites Fernald and Rocky Flats. The other was a recommendation to include stakeholders in discussions on developing local EM budgets.


Board ProcessMs. Reagan reported that the committee met in April to plan for the annual retreat, which has been set for August 12. The board has placed a hold on the meeting rooms at Pollard Auditorium. Mr. Bonner, Mr. Grove, and Mr. Olson joined the committee to help plan the annual retreat. She asked that if any Board member had any ideas for the annual retreat to let the committee know. She said a new member training session will be held on the Friday evening prior to the retreat.


The committee changed its meeting time to the first Wednesday of the month at 5:30 p.m.


The committee also discussed the mentoring process. Facilitator Becky Brunton is completing a survey of Board members about mentoring and will provide a report on the effectiveness of the program.


Federal Coordinator Report

Ms. Halsey announced that Ken Sadler and David Wesolowski had resigned their positions from the Board because of other obligations. Efforts are underway to fill those positions with persons who submitted applications during the last membership drive. Reappointment packages have been put together for a number of appointments and reappointments and will be sent to DOE headquarters for approval. She said there will be potentially four new members added to the Board.


She said that the Federal Advisory Committee Act charter that establishes the EM site specific advisory boards was revised on April 11, 2006. The new charter is Attachment 8.


She mentioned several significant changes to the charter.  She said new wording under objectives better reflects the DOE role in establishing the scope of the boards’ recommendations. The August annual meeting work plan package will be instrumental in determining the initial scope of topics that DOE supports the Board working on. She said DOE will advise the Board if it proposes a recommendation that is out of the scope of its mission.


She said new wording gives the assistant secretary the power to appoint and remove members from Boards. Terms of service have been changed so that members can serve no more than six years. In areas where members pools are limited an exception may requested by the affected field office to the assistant secretary.


Titles of ex officios will be changed to liaisons. The change was made because DOE could be responsible for travel expenses of ex officio members from the SSAB funding.


She reported negotiations of the Tennessee Oversight Agreement have been successfully completed.


Mr. Olson asked if changes to the charter will require changes to the ORSSAB bylaws. Ms. Halsey said the bylaws would have to be revised to reflect the wording in the charter.


Additions to the Agenda

No additions.


Ms. Campbell and Ms. Cothron were absent on motions to approve the minutes and Recommendation 145.




Mr. Douglas moved to approve the agenda. Mr. Myrick seconded and the motion passed unanimously.



Mr. Douglas moved to approve the minutes of the April 12, 2006 meeting. Ms. Bogard seconded and the motion carried unanimously.



Mr. Mulvenon moved to approve Recommendation 145 to Support Above Target FY 2008 Budget Request (Attachment 5). Mr. Adams seconded and the motion passed unanimously.


The meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.


Action Items

  1. Mr. McCracken will report on the resolution of comments made by EPA on the K-1007 Ponds EE/CA. Carryover item.
  2. Mr. McCracken will forward Mr. Axelrod’s question concerning the future of molten salt reactors. Carryover item.
  3. Mr. McCracken will report when Foster Wheeler begins processing Oak Ridge generated contact-handled TRU waste. Status.  Scheduled to begin processing on March 20.
  4. Mr. McCracken will see if someone from Y-12 can speak to the Board concerning plutonium contamination of uranium. Carryover item.
  5. Ms. Hughes will provide the 2005 ASER guidance when it becomes available. Complete.  Ms. Hughes provided the guidance to staff.
  6. Mr. McCracken will get more information about what non-ORO wastes will be shipped to the Toxic Substances Control Act Incinerator for disposition. Complete. The current burn plan is available via the incinerator’s website It shows the waste to be burned by site and year.
  7. 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.
  8. Mr. McCracken will report to the Board on new plans and costs to demolish K-25.
  9. Ms. Jones will get more information on EPA’s position on the leachate delisting explanation of significant difference. Complete. See Ms. Jones’ explanation under Ex Officio comments.


Respectfully submitted


Sandy Reagan, Secretary


Attachments (8) to these minutes are available on request from the ORSSAB support office.