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Oak Ridge
Site Specific Advisory Board

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Approved October 11, 2006 Meeting Minutes

 

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

Darryl Bonner

Donna Campbell

Heather Cothron

Steve Dixon

Steve Douglas - Secretary

Sarah Lewis1

Gloria Mei

Lance Mezga - Chair

Norman Mulvenon – Vice chair

Ron Murphree

 Tim Myrick

Robert Olson

Sean Purdy1

Sondra Sarten

Steve Stow

Kevin Westervelt

 

Members Absent

Wade Johnson

Sandy Reagan

 

1Student Representative

 

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

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

 

Others Present

Becky Brunton, Spectrum

Dragan Cicic, Actinium Pharmaceuticals

Marc Garland, Geonuclides, Inc.

Luther Gibson

Spencer Gross, Spectrum

Dan Jones, ARCADIS

Pete Osborne, Spectrum

 

Seven members of the public were present.

 

Presentation

“…And Some of the Cowboys Wore White Hats: Disposal of Liquid Nuclear Waste at Oak Ridge Reservation During the Manhattan Project”

 

Mr. Stow’s presentation refuted the assumption that waste management practices were basically ignored during the race to build a nuclear weapon during World War II. While there was urgency in developing an atomic bomb before the Germans, Mr. Stow’s presentation provided evidence that a group of well-respected scientists and engineers were concerned about the health and safety of individuals and the environment while working to enrich uranium to build an atomic bomb.

 

His presentation included a brief history of the beginnings of the Manhattan Project through the establishment of the Atomic Energy Commission. He said there is no single piece of documentation that proves these scientists were charged with proper management of waste, but a collection of documents exist that show they were interested in the health and safety of people and the environment. Mr. Stow showed several examples of correspondence and memos (Attachment 1) from a number of engineers and scientists involved in the Manhattan Project who wrote about the proper management of liquid nuclear waste being produced at Clinton Laboratories, now known as Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).

 

Deputy Designated Federal Officer and Liaison Comments

Dave Adler: Mr. Adler provided an update on two property transfers at East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP). The title to the K-1515 Water Treatment Plant is being transferred to the City of Oak Ridge (Attachment 2). The transfer is a clean parcel determination under the Comprehensive Environmental Restoration, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). EPA has provided comments on the transfer that DOE is working to address. The target date for transfer is March 31, 2008.

 

The other transfer is the fire station to the City of Oak Ridge (Attachment 2). He said that transfer is being done as a covenant deferral request. The fire station is in an area of ongoing CERCLA cleanup activity. He said a clean parcel determination on the property cannot be made until the work is complete. The covenant deferral request allows the transfer of property with the recognition that future cleanup may be required. The request will be submitted to EPA and TDEC in October. Transfer of the property is scheduled for September 2007. When transfer is complete, he said negotiations will be held with the City of Oak Ridge to provide fire protection services at ETTP.

 

Mr. Mezga asked both Ms. Jones and Mr. Owsley what their respective agencies’ comments were regarding the covenant deferral requests. Ms. Jones said she did not have the comments available but would provide them to the board. Mr. Owsley said he did not have TDEC’s comments available, but he said historically DOE has been able to resolve any comments TDEC has made regarding transfers and didn’t foresee any problems with either one.

 

Mr. Adler provided an update on the uranium hexafluoride cylinder disposition project at ETTP. About 6,800 cylinders were originally targeted for shipment and disposal offsite. Only about 300 remain to be shipped. He said they should all be gone by the end of December 2006, which is three years ahead of schedule. Also worked into that project, he said, was a collection of tanks that were found during the cleanup of the scrap yard at ETTP.

 

Mr. Adler said a public meeting on the proposed remediation of the ponds at ETTP will be held on October 19 at the DOE Information Center.

 

Mr. Adler said DOE has proposed some changes to Appendix E of the Federal Facility Agreement (FFA) concerning baseline milestones and resequencing of work. Discussions are ongoing with EPA and TDEC concerning the changes. He said the proposed changes are available at the DOE Information Center.

 

Mr. Adler said Steve McCracken, DOE Assistant Manager for Environmental Management (EM) in Oak Ridge, was to have addressed comments that were made at the September ORSSAB meeting concerning the disposition of uranium-233 at Building 3019 at ORNL. Since Mr. McCracken was unable to attend this evening’s meeting, Mr. Adler said a way will be found to address those comments, perhaps in another public forum.

 

Connie Jones: Ms. Jones said EPA has approved the consolidated waste handling plan for Zone 1 at ETTP. She said that allows DOE to consolidate wastes into one plan rather than have separate waste handling plans for each project. She said EPA has given DOE the go-ahead to begin preparing a similar document for Zone 2. She said she took a tour of ETTP Zones 1 and 2 and said work is going well in terms of scrap removal, which should be finished by the end of December 2006.

 

John Owsley: In reference to Mr. Adler’s comments on Appendix E of the FFA, Mr. Owsley said TDEC does not agree with some of the proposals and is working with DOE on resolving those issues.

 

Public Comment

Marc Garland - Mr. Garland spoke in reference to uranium stored at Building 3019 at ORNL. He reminded everyone of his appearance at the September ORSSAB meeting where he spoke against the current disposition plan for the uranium. He said thorium-229 can be obtained from the uranium and actinium-225 (Ac225) can be obtained from the thorium. Ac225 is used in the treatment of cancer. He said there are only two places in the United States where actinium can be obtained. He said it is much easier to obtain the actinium from Oak Ridge than at Idaho National Laboratory, and he questioned why DOE is planning to dispose of the uranium, and thereby any subsequent actinium, stored in Building 3019.

 

Dragan Cicic - Mr. Cicic said his company is involved with a cancer treatment known as alpha immunotherapy. He provided a presentation about the treatment (Attachment 3). His presentation was to illustrate the need for Ac225. He requested the board’s assistance in persuading DOE to allow for the extraction of thorium and actinium from the uranium stored at Building 3019.

 

Ms. Bogard expressed disappointment that DOE did not provide a more detailed presentation on the topic at this meeting as requested. Mr. Mezga expressed a similar viewpoint. Mr. Douglas asked that DOE schedule a separate meeting on the issue. Mr. Dixon said he supports beneficial use of a product over disposal, and he encouraged DOE to reevaluate the situation. Mr. Olson said more information is needed on the unsuitability of uranium in Idaho for extraction of thorium and actinium.

 

Luther Gibson - Mr. Gibson said the Citizens Advisory Panel of the Local Oversight Committee heard a presentation on the disposition of a legacy waste stream at the Savannah River Site that remains after the closure of the incinerator there. He said this was part of DOE’s overall waste disposition strategy and the part Oak Ridge plays in treating waste. He said he didn’t think Oak Ridge received enough credit for its work, particularly with commercial facilities.

 

He also said a comparison should be of changes to the charter of the EM Advisory Board to those made in the Site Specific Advisory Board charter. He said there hadn’t been as many changes to the EM Advisory Board charter as to the Site Specific Advisory Board charter and some comment should be made about that.

 

Announcements and Other Board Business

The next board meeting will be Wednesday, November 8, at 6 p.m. at the DOE Information Center. The presentation topic will be “EM Program Update.”

 

The minutes of the September 13, 2006, meeting were approved.

 

Recommendation 150: Recommendation on the Engineering Evaluation/Cost Analysis for Ponds at ETTP failed (Attachment 4).

 

Recommendation 151: Recommendation on the Proposed Method of Accomplishment for Decontamination and Decommissioning of Buildings K-25 and K-27 at ETTP was approved (Attachment 5).

                          

Mr. Douglas reviewed proposed revisions to the bylaws (Attachment 6). Both he and Mr. Mezga said the review constituted a first reading of the bylaws changes and there would be no debate on the changes during the first reading. Debate and final revisions to the bylaws would be made at the November 2006 meeting.

 

Committee Reports

Board Finance Mr. Dixon reported that the board’s finances are within budget.

 

EM – Ms. Bogard said the committee spent a great deal of time preparing the two recommendations that were voted on at this meeting. She said the committee will evaluate its methods of developing and approving recommendations before sending them to the full board to help prevent having a recommendation fail.

 

Ms. Bogard reported that the committee heard a presentation on the operation of the Foster Wheeler Transuranic Waste Processing Center. She said the overheads of the presentation are available to anyone who would like them.

 

She said the committee will hear a presentation on the accumulation of low-level waste on the Oak Ridge Reservation at its October meeting.

 

Public Outreach – The minutes of the October 2 meeting were distributed (Attachment 7). Mr. Mulvenon reported that Ms. Cothron will be attending an EPA conference in Massachusetts in November on brownfields.

 

The committee discussed updating the ORSSAB exhibit at the American Museum of Science and Energy. He suggested members go to the museum and view the exhibit and offer any suggestions for updating.

 

The committee discussed historical memorials at ETTP. The committee will invite someone from the Oak Ridge Historic Preservation Association to speak to the committee regarding the association’s plans for ETTP.

 

The committee will meet again on October 24 and November 28.

 

Stewardship – Mr. Bonner said the committee heard a presentation from Tim Shelton, the Anderson County Register of Deeds, who provided an update on how environmental notices of contamination are recorded in Anderson County.

 

The committee also reviewed a draft public notice on contamination and future land use in Melton Valley. The committee will likely recommend revising the notice to be more understandable by the public.

 

He said at the October meeting the committee will discuss and possibly recommend to DOE how a public meeting on the 2006 Remediation Effective Report should be presented.

 

Executive – Mr. Mezga said because of low participation on the Board Process and Public Outreach Committees, the Executive Committee will discuss ways to encourage and increase participation on those committees.

 

Mr. Mezga noted the FY 2007 ORSSAB work plan, which was distributed at the meeting (Attachment 8).

 

He noted that DOE has responded to all recommendations ORSSAB has made thus far to DOE.

 

Mr. Dixon asked about the status of letter from the chairs of the SSABs nationwide to Assistant Secretary of Energy James Rispoli. Mr. Mezga said he will sign the letter on behalf of the ORSSAB.

 

Board Process – The minutes of the October 4 meeting were distributed at the meeting (Attachment 9). Mr. Douglas said the committee discussed how to present the revised bylaws to the board at this meeting.

 

The committee discussed moving its meeting time to the same day as Board Finance and Executive Committee so the board officers can participate in committee meetings. The committee will not meet again until November 30.

 

He said Ms. Brunton is working on a folder with indoctrination materials for new members. Two new members are anticipated before the end of the year.

 

Federal Coordinator Report

Ms. Halsey said that Donnie Patterson had submitted his resignation from the board for personal reasons. She said she had sent a letter to Chris Grove asking his intentions to continue serving on the board and stating that if he did not attend this meeting DOE would consider his absence as a resignation. Since Mr. Grove was not in attendance he is no longer a member of the board.

 

Additions to the Agenda

Ms. Bogard said a number of members met during the meeting break and decided to request that DOE hold a public meeting on the issue of thorium/actinium extraction from uranium at Building 3019.

 

Motions

Ms. Campbell was absent for motions 10/11/06.2, 10/11/06.3, and 10/11/06.4.

 

10/11/06.1

Mr. Bonner moved to approve the agenda. Mr. Dixon seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

 

10/11/06.2

Mr. Dixon moved to approve the minutes of the September 13, 2006 meeting. Mr. Olson seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

 

10/11/06.3

Mr. Douglas moved to vote on Recommendation 150: Recommendation on the Engineering Evaluation/Cost Analysis for Ponds at ETTP. Mr. Adams seconded. The motion failed, 8 to 7. Ms. Bogard, Ms. Cothron, Mr. Mezga, Mr. Murphree, Mr. Myrick, Mr. Olson, Ms. Sarten, and Mr. Stow voted for the recommendation. Mr. Adams, Mr. Bonner, Mr. Dixon, Mr. Douglas, Ms. Mei, Mr. Mulvenon, and Mr. Westervelt voted against.

 

10/11/06.4

Mr. Mulvenon moved to approve Recommendation 151: Recommendation on the Proposed Method of Accomplishment for Decontamination and Decommissioning of Buildings K-25 and K-27 at ETTP. Mr. Myrick seconded. The motion passed, with one factual correction in the background section. The vote was unanimous except for Mr. Douglas, who abstained.

 

The meeting adjourned at 9 p.m.

 

Action Items

  1. Ms. Jones will provide EPA’s comments on the ETTP clean parcel determination for the water treatment plant and the covenant deferral request for the fire station.
  2. DOE will address the board’s concerns about providing a public forum on the disposition of uranium at Building 3019 at ORNL.
  3. Mr. Adler will determine if any hazardous wastes or PCB constituents will be generated during downblending at Building 3019. Carryover item.
  4. Mr. Adler will determine if some of the less radioactive U233 in Building 3019 can be handled more economically. Carryover item.
  5. DOE will report to the board on the driver to change the handling of U233 and if there is any flexibility in changing the decision. Carryover item.

 

 Attachments (9) to these minutes are available on request from the ORSSAB support office.