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Oak Ridge
Site Specific Advisory Board

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Approved February 14, 2007 Meeting Minutes


The Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board (ORSSAB) held its monthly meeting on Wednesday, February 14, 2007, 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

Rhonda Bogard

Darryl Bonner

Donna Campbell

Heather Cothron

Steve Dixon

Mike Haygood

Sarah Lewis1

Ted Lundy

Gloria Mei

Lance Mezga - Chair

Norman Mulvenon – Vice chair

Tim Myrick

Robert Olson

Sean Purdy1

Sandy Reagan

Steve Stow

Kevin Westervelt


Members Absent

Ben Adams

Ron Murphree

Sondra Sarten2

Jan Teague


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, DOE-ORO Assistant Manager for Environmental Management (EM)

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


Others Present

Becky Brunton, Spectrum

Luther Gibson

Spencer Gross, Spectrum

Pete Osborne, Spectrum

Michael Torbert, DOE


Five members of the public were present.


DOE National Low-Level/Mixed Low-Level Waste Disposition Strategy

Mr. Torbert gave the presentation (Attachment 1) on the DOE national low-level/mixed low-level waste (LLW/MLLW) disposition strategy.


He began by saying the EM priorities are to reduce risk safely and complete cleanup successfully. He said EM is looking to groups like ORSSAB for advice on the strategy.


Mr. Torbert said within the FY 2008 budget request was a priority to dispose of contact-handled (CH) and remote-handled (RH) transuranic (TRU) waste. Oak Ridge is currently processing CH-TRU for shipment to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in New Mexico later this year. Oak Ridge has the largest inventory of RH-TRU in the DOE complex. Oak Ridge will begin processing RH-TRU later in the year.


Mr. Torbert said the driver to dispose of LLW/MLLW is from DOE Order 435.1, which requires the waste to be disposed on site if possible and if not to be disposed at another DOE site or acceptable commercial facility.


He noted some programmatic challenges of increased costs, security, difficult waste streams, and disposal options.


 Mr. Torbert reviewed the national disposition strategies for each waste type according to project complexity and risk (Attachment 1, page 4, slide 2). Those strategies include identifying disposition paths for all EM waste, coordinating disposition resources, optimizing operation of DOE waste management facilities, strengthening the EM transportation infrastructure, and providing information to regulators and stakeholders. Each strategy will include scope, schedule, and costs.


Part of the disposition strategy is the waste disposition data collection. Life-cycle waste data are now collected annually. Data are provided by field site managers and programmatic risk codes are assigned to highlight various treatment and disposal challenges.


Mr. Torbert said the data collected will be accessible through the Waste Information Management System (WIMS), which is maintained by Florida International University. Information can be found on the internet at and is available to any user. The FY 2006 disposition data include about 300 waste streams, primarily LLW/MLLW.


Key information in WIMS includes stream name, origination site, disposition site, volume, characteristics, risk indicators, and treatment.


Mr. Torbert said the national (LLW/MLLW) disposition strategy Revision 0 is being reviewed by DOE-EM management and should be issued for comment in about a month. He said stakeholder comments on the strategy will be considered for Revision 1. He said Revision 0 will only include EM waste, while Revision 1 will include all DOE waste, such as that generated by the Office of Science and the National Nuclear Security Administration.


For Oak Ridge, Mr. Torbert said the Environmental Management Waste Management Facility (EMWMF) can be used for disposing of decontamination and decommissioning (D&D) waste. TRU waste will go WIPP, and newly-generated LLW/MLLW will go to the Nevada Test Site or commercial disposition facilities. He said more than 90,000 cubic yards of mixed waste have been sent to Utah from Oak Ridge since 1994 and more than 31 million pounds of mixed waste have been burned in the Toxic Substances Control Act Incinerator (TSCAI) at East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP) since 1991.


Mr. Torbert's presentation noted a number of disposition challenges and updates across the DOE complex (Attachment 1, pages 9 and 10). For TSCAI, he said an extension of operations to 2009 has been approved and the life cycle burn plan has been approved by DOE and the regulators.


Mr. Torbert said EM hopes to accelerate implementation of down blending uranium-233 in Building 3019 at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in 2007.


 He concluded by encouraging the board to make comments on the Revision 0 of the disposition strategy when it is distributed in about a month. He noted the Oak Ridge LLW/MLLW would likely go to Nevada Test Site or to commercial disposition facilities.


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


Ms. Reagan - Is Florida International University changing the current system of data collection? Mr. Torbert - Florida International is developing the simplified disposition road maps. They are just adjusting it rather than starting over.


Ms. Bogard - On the slide titled 'Specific Waste Disposition Challenges' (Attachment 1, page 10, slide 1) you list five with technical and regulatory challenges. Could you talk a little more about those? Mr. Torbert - To be honest I can't. I'm concerned with Oak Ridge LLW/MLLW, and the ones you asked about are out of my area of expertise. Mr. McCracken - Are you asking which ones of these might be Oak Ridge waste streams or just what do we know about them? Ms. Bogard - Both. Which ones are Oak Ridge and what are some of the challenges associated with them? Mr. McCracken - For non-defense TRU waste we have to get a determination on the material that will come out of Building 3019. We haven't gotten a determination yet that it is non-defense, but we have no reason to believe we won't get one. We do have one waste stream that could be TRU and could be problematic from a defense determination, but I can't remember which one it is and I'll have to get back to you on that. As far as sodium, I don't think we have anything that connects to that. We do have sodium at ETTP and some at ORNL but that isn't what this is talking about. Calcine, I'm not sure what that is. Immobilized surplus plutonium, I don't think we have any of that. Sodium bonded spent nuclear fuel, we don't have any spent nuclear fuel left to dispose.


Mr. Dixon- For TSCAI you said about 10 million pounds of waste will be incinerated. How much of that is Oak Ridge generated and how much is generated elsewhere? Mr. Torbert - If I remember correctly most of it comes from Portsmouth, Ohio, as lube oil and pyranol and that would be about 60 percent. About 35 percent comes from Oak Ridge and another 3 or 4 percent comes from off-site. Mr. McCracken - And that will quickly go to about an 80-20 split with most of it coming from Portsmouth. Mr. Torbert - Of course the state wants to treat Oak Ridge waste as highest priority, but the lube oil from Portsmouth helps us because it's used as a burning medium and saves us money.


Mr. Mezga - Are there any plans for the Foster Wheeler TRU Waste Processing Facility to handle off-site or out of state waste? Mr. McCracken - We don't have any plans to, but that doesn't mean we couldn't have a discussion about it. Mr. Owsley has made it clear that those discussions would follow taking care of our own stuff here in Tennessee first.


Mr. Mezga - In the disposition maps, are they looking at aiming anything in our direction on RH-TRU? Mr. McCracken - No one has suggested a plan to do anything like that. If such a plan is formulated, we'll let you know. Mr. Torbert - We'll also be developing a TRU disposition strategy, and when it comes out you'll be able to review and comment on it.


Mr. Mezga - Did I understand you to say the Revision 1 of the strategy will include non-EM waste and newly-generated waste from Office of Science, the Spallation Neutron Source, and things like that? Mr. Torbert - That's right. That will be included in revision 1. I don't know when revision 1 will be issued. Revision 0 will be issued within a month or so. Revision 1 could take awhile because it will include Office of Science and National Nuclear Security Administration waste streams across the DOE complex.


Mr. Bonner - Could you talk about the programmatic risk indicators in WIMS? Mr. Torbert - I think the risk indicators will focus on waste streams we don't have current disposition paths for. We'll have to assign risk indicators for those in terms of what it is going to take to develop disposition paths and also the time frame involved. I think it's going to fall on the commercial sector to develop those capabilities. I think budget limitations will keep DOE on the operational side and not be able to develop many new things in the near term. I'll ask Christine Gelles in the Office of Disposal Operations work up a more complete response for you.


Ms. Mei - You mentioned optimizing operations of DOE's waste management facilities. What is the basis for optimizing those facilities? Will you be able to complete all DOE missions or the high-risk projects? Mr. Torbert - If we have like waste streams at different sites we see if we're using a disposition path that's consistent with what someone else has already found. As a for instance, let's say someone else has an inventory of TRU waste and we have a perfectly viable treatment facility here in Oak Ridge. Could we bring that waste here for treatment? That would optimize that facility. When you put a lot of money in these facilities you want to put as much waste through them as possible. You don't want to build another one somewhere else. Ms. Mei - When you do optimization do you also consider cost? Mr. Torbert - Sure. We want to stretch the dollars as far as we can.


Mr. Mezga - As we work off inventory we'll have a little bit of waste remaining. Does anyone else in the complex have the same kinds of things we have? Will we see something that addresses that remaining waste? Mr. McCracken - Yes, we don't find a lot that we can't figure out a disposition path for, maybe about 3 percent or less. But there is going to be a small percentage of waste that doesn't have a disposition pathway for whatever reason, and there's going to have to be a solution found for that. Part of the responsibilities of the Office of Disposal Operations is to find out what that waste is and try to find a disposition path for it.


Mr. Gibson - Does DOE have any plans to provide additional outreach to inform the public about the cumulative impact of activities of commercial treatment facilities, for instance when waste is shipped from Savannah River or Hanford to the PermaFix facility, things like that. Mr. Torbert - I don't think at DOE headquarters we have the mechanism to do that. I'd like for Mr. McCracken to address that locally. Mr. McCracken - If you have a state or federally permitted facility to do something, DOE does not get involved in that. These facilities have been permitted under the laws of the state or the federal government other than DOE. We probably have records of where we ship things and that's pretty much public record, but as far outreaching in terms of cumulative impact I don't think we would do that. Mr. Owsley - The permitting for the individual facilities here in the state, while there is not a specific model that looks at combined sources, it is felt that the model that looks at impacts from individual sources are sufficiently conservative enough that you would not see a combined impact. I want to point out that the national disposition strategy does not identify specific commercial treatment facilities, probably because the contracts have not been let, but it does identify those facilities that are capable of treating individual waste streams. So when those contracts are let the public would know what facilities have been contracted to treat specific wastes.


Mr. Mezga - Does the state have a notification requirement for shipments that are coming into the state from other DOE facilities? Mr. Owsley - No. That requirement only applies to TSCAI.


Deputy Designated Federal Officer and Liaison Comments

Steve McCracken: Mr. McCracken commented on the proposed FY 2008 budget. He noted that the budget is roughly $65 million less than the FY 2007 budget. As a result of the decrease he said priorities will have to be reviewed to determine what can be done within the budget constraints. He said he has guidance from DOE Headquarters (Attachment 2, memo from Mark Frei, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Program Planning and Budget, on Participation of the EM SSAB in Environmental Budge Requests) concerning how to inform ORSSAB how priorities would fit within the budget and to seek the advice of the board.


Mr. McCracken said he hoped the final budget for both FY 2007 and 2008 can be presented to the board at the March meeting. He said the FY 2008 budget is based on the FY 2007 budget, but since the FY 2007 budget has not been finalized the FY 2008 budget is uncertain. He said he would like to know what the final FY 2007 budget is before trying to prioritize work in FY 2008. He said the Senate had just passed a bill on the FY 2007 budget and he expected things to move quickly toward final resolution of the FY 2007 budget.


In the meantime he said he will be meeting with the state and EPA regulators to prioritize work based on the current budget. Prioritization would also be done on a five year plan. Results of those meetings will be presented to the EM committee on February 26.


Dave Adler: Mr. Adler said plans are being made for a public meeting on the 2006 Remediation Effectiveness Report. He said a date and site have not yet been set but should be soon. He said the format for the meeting will be consistent with recommendations made to DOE by the board.


He said the public meeting will review information gathered in 2005. Work is well underway in compiling information gathered in 2006. He provided some preliminary information of encouraging results. He said annual fluxes of strontium-90 and tritium in Melton Valley were the lowest ever measured, indicating remediation work in Melton Valley is working. He said mercury flux measured in Upper East Fork Poplar Creek showed a reduction of almost half from previous years. That indicated the Big Springs Water Treatment System, which became fully operational in 2006, is successfully removing mercury from the creek.


Mr. Adler said a number of technical questions had been asked at last month’s meeting that required research. He said written responses to those questions were provided to each member at this meeting (Attachment 3). He said if the process of written responses is acceptable to the board, that practice will continue. Mr. Mezga said it would be helpful if the responses could be provided early enough for inclusion in the packets that are sent prior to the meeting. Mr. Adler agreed to do that.


Mr. Adler said the response to Recommendation 152: Recommendations on the Notice of Contamination and Future Use Limitations in Melton Valley is being developed and should be available by the March meeting. He said EPA had made some comments that are being included in the response.


Connie Jones: Ms. Jones reported on an action item she had from the January meeting to determine if EPA had collected any fines from Duratek for a violation of discharging contaminants into Bear Creek. Ms. Jones said EPA did not collect any of the fines. She said a collection of fines was paid mostly to the state of Tennessee.


John Owsley: Mr. Owsley said TDEC’s oversight division environmental monitoring plan for 2007 is available at the DOE Information Center and area libraries.


Public Comment

Mr. Gibson – Mr. Gibson said it was reported at an EM committee meeting that there is more technetium contamination in K-27 at ETTP than first thought. That would require additional shipments to the Nevada Test Site because it doesn’t meet the waste acceptance criteria for the EMWMF. He said work had been done at ORNL a few years ago that indicated technetium could be stabilized with blast furnace slag. He suggested that is a technical solution for disposing technetium in EMWMF that could be explored by the EM committee and the board.


Announcements and Other Board Business

The next board meeting will be Wednesday, March 14, at 6 p.m. at the DOE Information Center. The presentation topic will be “Balance of Reservation Program and the Integrated Facility Disposition Project.”


Mr. Mezga announced that Steve Douglas had resigned from the board and as a result there is a vacancy for the office of secretary. ORSSAB bylaws state that the announcement of the vacancy at this meeting is to be followed by an election of a new secretary at the next meeting.


Mr. Mezga asked if any member of the board was interested in being considered a candidate for secretary. No one indicated an interest. Mr. Mezga then asked for nominations from the floor. Mr. Bonner, Mr. Olson, and Ms Campbell all declined nominations. Mr. Dixon nominated Mr. Adams. The nomination was seconded by Mr. Olson. The nomination is contingent on Mr. Adams acceptance since he was not in attendance.


Noting a lack of nominees, Mr. Mezga asked Ms. Bogard to lead an effort to secure additional nominees for consideration at the March meeting. Ms. Bogard accepted and Mr. Mulvenon offered to assist. A slate of nominees will be presented at the March meeting.


Mr. Mezga said a decommissioning workshop has been scheduled for March 9 at the DOE Information Center. He said a number of board members have signed up to participate, but he encouraged more to register.


The minutes of the January 10, 2007 meeting were approved.


Committee Reports

Board Finance – Mr. Dixon reported that the committee reviewed the December/January costs and determined that the FY 2006 carryover is $33,286, which is less than the $65,000 the committee had anticipated. This resulted in an $11,714 FY 2007 budget deficit. The committee recommended several changes in travel, facilitation, and technical advice services to cover the shortfall.


EM – Ms. Bogard reported the committee heard a presentation on the Field Research Center at its January meeting. It also received an update on the D&D activities at K-25 at ETTP.


She said the committee meeting has been moved from February 21 to February 26 to hear a briefing on the budget prioritization for FY 2008-09. The prioritization meetings are taking place the same week EM usually meets. Mr. Mezga encouraged all board members to attend the February 26 EM meeting.


Public Outreach – Mr. Stow reported the committee discussed the annual Stakeholder Survey. The survey will be refined and more widely distributed this year.


The committee also discussed upgrades to the exhibit at the American Museum of Science and Energy and presentations to the Oak Ridge City Council, Oliver Springs High School, and Roane County Mayor Mike Farmer.


Mr. Stow said earlier this month he and Mr. Mulvenon met with DOE Oak Ridge Manager Gerald Boyd to review the work of the board. He said he left the meeting with a positive feeling about how DOE Oak Ridge views ORSSAB. He said that he and Mr. Mulvenon have since made a similar presentation to the Oak Ridge City Council.


The committee met with Bill Wilcox and Lloyd Stokes concerning historic preservation at ETTP and will continue to receive updates on that project.


Mr. Stow said the most recent edition of the Advocate newsletter has been published.


Executive – Mr. Mezga reminded the board that Mr. Dixon, Mr. Mulvenon, and Mr. Stow will be attending the SSAB Chairs’ meeting in March. The three top issues facing the cleanup of the Oak Ridge Reservation will be developed from suggestions provided by the board’s committees.


Mr. Mezga said the EM Advisory Board will be meeting in Knoxville March 6 and 7. He said he will be making a presentation to that group. Ms. Halsey noted the meeting is open to everyone.


Mr. Mezga said he and Mr. Mulvenon participated in a survey with the National Academy of Public Administration on February 8.  


Board Process – Mr. Mulvenon reported the committee discussed revising wording of the bylaws on passing recommendations. The change would entail setting the quorum for passing recommendations to three-fourths of board membership present at a meeting, then requiring two-thirds of those present to approve a recommendation.


The committee also discussed the status of the new member orientation. The next meeting with new members was just prior to this meeting where Mr. Haygood and Mr. Lundy were given more information about the various committees. Ms. Teague was unable to attend.


To continue the work of the Board Process Committee with the resignation of Mr. Douglas, Mr. Mezga said he had asked Ms. Reagan to take the lead role in planning the board’s annual retreat in August. He asked Mr. Myrick to work any additional bylaws revisions. Mr. Mulvenon and Mr. Stow will handle new member orientation until a new training coordinator can be identified.


Mr. Mezga said the future of continuing the Board Process Committee will be discussed at the next Executive Committee meeting.


Stewardship – Mr. Bonner noted that the committee also had on its work plan discussion of budget prioritization for FY 2008 and beyond. Rather than have a combined meeting with EM or a separate presentation to the Stewardship Committee he asked committee members to attend the EM meeting on February 26 where prioritization will be discussed.


Mr. Bonner asked Mr. Mulvenon to report on the Stewardship Education Subcommittee. Mr. Mulvenon said the subcommittee reviewed a survey for teachers who attended the workshop last year for the Stewardship Education Resource Kit. The subcommittee also reviewed the video that goes with the kit and recommended some changes. He said Ms. Cothron will be working on revisions to the kit. The subcommittee talked about presenting a workshop on the education resource kit at the next EPA Community Involvement Conference.


Federal Coordinator Report

Ms. Halsey said the guidance for including SSABs in developing of budgets (Attachment 2) includes a first set of bullet points that are related to the FY 2009 budget. The next set of bullet points relate to the FY 2008 budget, and the section on receipt of appropriations relates to the current fiscal year budget. She said the timing to receive information about the budget in March was good because it also tied into the scheduled presentation topic on the Balance of Reservation Closure Project and the Integrated Facilities Disposition Project and how the budget will affect those programs.


Additions to the Agenda





Mr. Stow moved to approve the agenda. Ms. Reagan seconded and the motion passed unanimously.



Mr. Myrick moved to approve the minutes of the January 10, 2007 meeting. Mr. Dixon seconded. The motion passed unanimously.


The meeting adjourned at 7:40 p.m.


Action Items


  1. Mr. McCracken will find out if asbestos abatement at K-25 has been completed. Complete. See attachment 3.
  2. Mr. McCracken will report on an engineering study on the north building at the K-25 plant at ETTP. Complete. See attachment 3.
  3. Mr. McCracken will determine what type of mapping coordination system is used on the Oak Ridge Reservation and make sure the system used by ORISE to grid map ETTP is compatible. Complete. See attachment 3.
  4. Mr. McCracken will report on the surface readings of the casks found at the K-770 Scrapyard. Complete. See attachment 3.
  5. Ms. Jones will get information on EPA’s perspective on the fines assessed Duratek. Complete. See Ms. Jones comments above in Liaison Comments.



  1. Staff will send the work plan for independent verification at ETTP to Daniel Axelrod when it is available.
  2. Mr. McCracken will get information on a TRU waste stream that could be problematic for a non-defense TRU waste determination.
  3. Mr. Torbert will provide more detailed information on programmatic risk indicators in WIMS.


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