Many Voices Working for the Community
Approved March 14, 2007 Meeting Minutes
The Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board (ORSSAB) held its monthly meeting on Wednesday, March 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.
Lance Mezga - Chair
Norman Mulvenon – Vice chair
2Third consecutive absence
Deputy Designated Federal Officer and Liaisons Present
Dave Adler, Liaison, Department of Energy – Oak Ridge Office (DOE-ORO)
Steve McCracken, Deputy Designated Federal Officer, DOE-ORO Assistant Manager for Environmental Management (EM)
John Owsley, Liaison, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC)
Martha Berry, Environmental Protection Agency, (EPA) Region 4
Becky Brunton, Spectrum
Spencer Gross, Spectrum
Pete Osborne, Spectrum
Fourteen members of the public were present.
Update on the EM Budget
Mr. McCracken began his discussion of the budget by saying that his department had been working with Mark Frei, DOE Deputy Assistant Secretary for Program Management and Budget, on how to share budget information with ORSSAB. He referenced guidance sent by Mr. Frei regarding development of the FY 2009 budget (Attachment 1). Mr. McCracken said he has to submit the budget proposal for DOE-ORO EM to headquarters by April 2007. He said any recommendations on the budget from the board would be needed prior to the April submission date.
Mr. McCracken said preparing an FY 2009 budget proposal is difficult for a number of reasons. He said because the government is operating in FY 2007 under a continuing resolution using FY 2006 figures, the final FY 2007 budget is not known. He said in order to plan for budgets two or three years away it’s necessary to know what is going to be spent in the meantime.
As a result of that uncertainty, he said figures for the FY 2009 budget could change based on final FY 2007 and 2008 budget allocations.
He began his discussion of the FY 2009 budget by referencing page 2 of Attachment 2. He said the entries for FY 2007-08 are the president’s proposed budget. Entries for FY 2009-13 are for five-year planning purposes. He said figures for FY 2007 will likely change, and no final figures have been received yet for FY 2008.
Mr. Mulvenon asked if the next five-year plan was due in March 2007. Mr. McCracken said that it was. Mr. Mezga asked what the FY 2006 budget was. Mr. McCracken said it was between $526 and $530 million.
In discussing priorities, (Attachment 2, page 3), Mr. McCracken said they were a mix of what Washington and DOE-ORO believe they should be. Mr. McCracken said he believed the highest priorities for ORO EM are the disposition of uranium in Building 3019 at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), the disposition of transuranic (TRU) wastes, and the closure of East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP), more specifically the demolition of Buildings K-25/K-27. Mr. McCracken explained that the planning documentation for Y-12 National Security Complex and ORNL is preparation to take on work that needs to be done before other work currently underway is finished. The idea is to keep a steady funding stream to finish current work and begin additional work at Y-12 and ORNL.
Mr. Myrick asked where newly generated waste fell in the list of priorities. Mr. McCracken said mixed low-level waste has requirements for how long it can be stored before it must be disposed. That would fall under the safe and compliant operations priority. Low-level waste was to be managed under a three-year plan for disposition. He said he wasn’t sure that was going to be the case based on preliminary budget figures.
Mr. Myrick noted that when EM was directed to disposition uranium at Building 3019, DOE-ORO did not receive additional budget. As a result that caused other projects to receive lower prioritizations. Mr. McCracken said that was true.
Ms. Teague asked if all the material from demolition of K-25/K-27 will stay on site or shipped to another location and who pays for that. Mr. McCracken said with the exception of technetium found in both buildings all the material will be disposed at the on-site waste disposal cell. He said, however, only those things that meet the waste acceptance criteria go in the waste cell. That which doesn’t meet the criteria goes off site. He said DOE pays for disposal both on and off site.
Mr. Mulvenon asked if the closure of ETTP could be pushed to 2013 or later. Mr. McCracken said while the end date for completion of work at ETTP has been pushed out, he believed some perceived a much later date because the final demolition of K-31 and K-33 were put at about 2013 if they weren’t leased to some private company. Mr. McCracken said he put demolition of those buildings in the budget for planning in case the buildings were not leased.
Mr. Mezga asked if the planning documentation for Y-12 and ORNL were critical decisions described in earlier discussions related to the Integrated Facilities Disposition Project (IFDP). Mr. McCracken said there has always been more work beyond what is in the current Bechtel Jacobs cleanup contract. He said even if that scope of work is not folded into the IFDP, a great deal of preparation and planning must be done to begin the work.
Mr. Bonner asked if there was a possibility that the work to be done at Building 3019 at ORNL could become a budget line item with its own allocation so that it would not delay other work because of lack of funding. Mr. McCracken said he wasn’t sure it would make any difference.
Mr. Bonner said the priorities that Mr. McCracken presented in his program were not necessarily the priorities of the regulators. He asked when those priorities will be known. Mr. McCracken said one meeting had already been held to discuss priorities. Another is scheduled for March 15. He said the state does not want to give up its right to enforce the provisions of the Federal Facilities Agreement (FFA). The discussions are to determine what priorities should be without the state giving up its right to enforce milestones. Mr. McCracken said the results of those discussions would be shared with the board.
Mr. McCracken discussed some impacts associated with budget shortfalls (Attachment 2, page 4). Since the final FY 2007 and 2008 budget figures are not known, the full impacts are unknown as well. He said there would be impacts to the ETTP closure schedule and the ORNL field activities, as well as the final buildout of the on site waste cell. He said that delays at ETTP are not tied strictly to budget. He said the work is very difficult and technical delays are expected.
Mr. McCracken referenced a number of projects and their target budget requests (Attachment 2, page 5). Mr. Myrick asked if no additional money was received to initiate IFDP, could the money targeted for the Bethel Valley Isotope Circle, watershed mercury mitigation, Bethel Valley Watershed, and groundwater and hydrofracture remediation be used to initiate IFDP work. Mr. McCracken agreed with that assessment, noting that it would not be called IFDP work unless the project scope was approved by DOE headquarters.
Mr. Stow asked how the target figure for closure of ETTP would be impacted if the north tower of the K-25 Building had to be demolished. Mr. McCracken said it should have little impact, because DOE had agreed to clean the building and put a new roof on it. He said it would cost about the same to demolish the building.
Concerning the target requests (Attachment 2, page 5) Mr. Westervelt asked which of them were of lower priority and why. Mr. McCracken said the list was basically in order of importance. He said it was imperative that plans be made to engage work at Y-12 and ORNL. As a result he felt if he had to trim anywhere it would be from K-25/K-27 work because if that work were finished and work at Y-12/ORNL was not ready to begin there would be no need for a budget to begin the work.
Ms. Teague asked if there are any political considerations in developing and receiving budgets and allocations. Mr. McCracken said he didn’t concern himself with the political climate. He said his job was determine what work needs to be done, how much it will cost, and make those requests to headquarters.
Mr. Dixon asked what work remained to be done at the Witherspoon site in Knoxville. Mr. McCracken said the 901 site had been finished and work is underway at the 1630 site. Mr. Dixon also asked if the proposed Interstate 75 bypass would have any impact on work on the reservation. Mr. McCracken said he saw no reason why it would.
Mr. Mezga said the priority listing for ETTP closure for the FY 2007-08 budgets (Attachment 2, page 3) seems inconsistent compared to where money was spent in previous years. Mr. McCracken replied that the rankings are different in that the Building 3019 Project is a new job and is a high priority. He said the only reason there would be a shift in priorities would be because the ETTP closure will be delayed and the planning for work at ORNL and Y-12 needs to begin to maintain steady funding.
Ms. Bogard asked if Mr. McCracken could explain program baseline summary (PBS) in the budget guidance memo from Mark Frei (Attachment 1). Mr. McCracken said within the defense appropriation there are seven or eight PBSs and they have descriptors for what they refer to (newly generated waste, other waste drums, decontamination and decommissioning funds, etc). He said they are subsets of the defense appropriation fund and are Congressional control points to indicate those items should be managed separately with their own budgets. Mr. McCracken took an action to share those PBSs with the board.
Mr. Mezga asked if budget guidance had been received as noted in the Frei memo (Attachment 1). Mr. McCracken said the budget guidance was the $466.5 million targeted for FY 2009. In addition he said there will be two followup discussions related to the guidance. One will be a report on discussions with EPA and TDEC and the other a followup report on the five-year plan. Mr. McCracken said he would report to the board more information on the five-year plan.
Mr. McCracken noted the next steps in development of the FY 2007-09 EM plans (Attachment 2, page 6). He pointed out that one of the steps is incorporating any recommendation from ORSSAB into the FY 2009 budget request.
Mr. Gibson asked which of the local projects would receive the least support from DOE headquarters based on stated priorities. Mr. McCracken said safe compliant operation is always a high priority followed by payments of pensions and benefits. He said decontamination and decommissioning (D&D) is usually a lesser priority nationwide, but Mr. McCracken said D&D, particularly of Buildings K-25 and K-27, is a high priority locally along with groundwater and soils remediation.
Following Mr. McCracken’s discussion, Mr. Owsley made some comments on TDEC’s position on the budget.
He said the state has always been more focused on a thorough and effective clean up rather than a fast clean up. But he said the state has two positions from which it will not waiver. The first being no unilateral decisions by DOE on cleanup and compliance. He said the FFA is a three party agreement and the state expects all three parties to be involved in those decisions. The second position of the state is that while it accepts budgets set by Congress, it does not accept inequitable distribution of money. He said under the current continuing resolution Oak Ridge EM has more money available than it would have gotten under the FY 2007 request by DOE headquarters. He also said there were fewer restrictions on how to use that money because earmarks by Congress had been removed. He said it is DOE headquarters, not Congress, that is making decisions restricting funding in FY 2007. Mr. Owsley said the decision on where that money is being spent is not a shared decision among the three parties of the FFA. He said those decisions are being made unilaterally by DOE and TDEC will oppose all unilateral decisions.
Mr. Owsley said DOE is on record saying it did not request sufficient funding to meet agreed upon milestones in FY 2008. He said DOE has said it wants to renegotiate milestones set for FY 2008 with TDEC and EPA. Mr. Owsley said the state will oppose renegotiating milestones because DOE did not request sufficient funding to reach those milestones.
Mr. Owsley said DOE has not requested sufficient funding for FY 2009 to attain agreed upon milestones. He said the state is in informal dispute with DOE over FY 2009 milestones and he expects the state to be in formal dispute with DOE if it persists in not accepting milestones that have been agreed upon.
Mr. Owsley said the state shares the priorities set by DOE. He said that while the state agrees with the Building 3019 project as a priority because of national security concerns, the state disagrees with the fact that all of the funding to address the 3019 project is coming from the DOE-ORO EM budget. Mr. Owsley said that is a national project and should not be funded entirely from local EM dollars.
Regarding the removal of TRU waste, Mr. Owsley said the state is requiring DOE to disposition the TRU waste faster than what DOE plans. He said discussions are underway with DOE about how soon it intends to ship TRU waste from the state.
Mr. Owsley said Corehole 8 at ORNL is remote-handled TRU waste in contact with groundwater, and he said the state expects that material to be removed and placed in a geologic repository out of the state as soon as possible.
Mr. Owsley said the state is willing to accept a later closure date for ETTP because those milestones are being impacted by technical and not budgetary reasons.
He said the planning for work at ORNL and Y-12 is a priority because there is an agreement that cleanup will be complete at those sites by 2015. Mr. Owsley said the state will hold DOE to keep that date in the lifecycle baseline.
Mr. Owsley said both the commissioner of TDEC and the governor of Tennessee have sent letters to DOE supporting the initiation of IFDP. He said the governor has also had discussions with DOE Secretary Bodman supporting IFDP. Mr. Owsley pointed out that IFDP is not a compliance project unless it is made part of the FFA.
Mr. Mezga asked at what levels the state’s positions had been communicated to DOE. Mr. Owsley said they had been communicated directly to Mr. McCracken and to all levels of the FFA program management core team and during site treatment plan negotiations. He said letters had been sent to DOE regarding the state’s position on FY 2009 milestones. He said there is a formal dispute process that the state intends to invoke before the FY 2009 budget request is sent to Washington if DOE does not accept the FY 2009 milestones required by the state.
Mr. Adams asked if TDEC were to fine DOE for missing established FFA milestones if that would be considered ‘found money’ for the state and used for things other than what DOE might have used the money for. Mr. Owsley said while there are substantial penalties for violating the FFA, he said it is not the state’s desire to ‘extract money from the federal government.’ So if fines are levied they are usually used in what is known as a supplemental environmental project. That money is used to do what the state wanted but DOE failed to do. In essence, he said there is no net gain for the state or net loss for the federal government.
Ms. Berry said EPA will wait until it sees the final FY 2007 budget allocations before it makes any determinations about handling any FY 2007 milestones. She said there is a process to follow in the FFA for prioritizing those milestones. She said EPA is in informal dispute with DOE over the FY 2009 milestones. She said EPA expects to have FY 2009 milestones that will support the 2015 accelerated cleanup deadline and will probably follow the process of a formal dispute if the FY 2009 milestones do not support that cleanup.
Deputy Designated Federal Officer and Liaison Comments
Steve McCracken: No comments
Dave Adler: Mr. Adler reported on the status of Recommendation 152: Recommendations on the Notice of Contamination and Future Use Limitations and Intent to Provide Notations on Ownership Records in Melton Valley. Mr. Adler said the response has been drafted and has gone to Mr. McCracken for his signature. Mr. Adler said the response basically agrees to implement recommendations submitted by the board. He said the full response will be available by the April meeting.
Mr. Adler reviewed the response to Recommendation 151: Recommendations on Logistics for a Public Meeting on the 2006 Remediation Effectiveness Report and CERCLA Five-Year Review. He said DOE plans to follow the recommendations made by the board concerning the meeting, which will be held as part of the May 9 ORSSAB meeting.
Martha Berry: Ms. Berry said EPA had signed covenant deferral requests for some properties at ETTP and expects to sign the final Remediation Effectiveness Report/CERCLA Five-Year Review. She said EPA is working at the core team level on the ETTP sitewide record of decision.
John Owsley: No comments.
Mr. Gibson said the Environmental Management Advisory Board (EMAB) met in Knoxville on March 6 and 7. He said both it and the EM SSABs are chartered under the Federal Advisory Committee Act, but that EMAB has more of a corporate focus. Mr. Gibson said it is important to monitor the proceedings and recommendations of EMAB, which can be found on the EMAB website at www.em.doe.gov/Pages/emab.aspx. He said the recent meetings were high-level discussions related to business practices and the life-cycle cost of projects. Mr. Gibson said these were items that could be monitored by ORSSAB as well.
Mr. Gibson said the discussions also included updates on DOE small business contractors. He said EMAB discussed employee retention and how to recruit college graduates to work in the EM field.
Mr. Gibson said he and others felt the meeting should have been held in Oak Ridge where participation might have been better. He said some of the EMAB members said that stakeholders should have been included on the tour of the Oak Ridge Reservation.
Announcements and Other Board Business
The next board meeting will be Wednesday, April 11, 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. McCracken introduced Mr. Rizzo as a new member to the board.
The minutes of the February 14, 2007 meeting were approved.
Recommendation 154: “Reaffirmation of DOE-EM Policy to Provide Stewardship at Ongoing Mission Sites with Residual Contamination” was approved (Attachment 3).
Recommendation 155: Recommendation on the Draft Legacy Management Strategic Plan” was approved (Attachment 4).
No motion came from the floor recommending removal of Ms. Sarten from the board because of two consecutive absences. Ms. Halsey explained Ms. Sarten is recuperating from surgery and plans to attend the April meeting. Ms. Sarten’s attendance record resets to zero absences.
Mr. Myrick gave the first reading of proposed bylaws revisions concerning quorum and majority needed to approve recommendations (Attachment 5). He distributed a sheet showing how the changes would affect voting on recommendations (Attachment 6).
Mr. Adams was elected secretary for the remainder of the fiscal year.
Mr. Stow talked about the oral history program. He said there have been 275 recordings of oral histories of former workers at the three plants on the Oak Ridge Reservation. He said there currently is no central location for keeping or distributing oral histories for people who may be interested in them. He said some other DOE sites have also undertaken oral histories, and may be somewhat ahead of Oak Ridge in how they are managing them. He said this could be an opportunity for some organization to take a leadership role in the Oak Ridge oral history program. Mr. Stow asked for an ad hoc committee to talk about how ORSSAB might participate in the oral history program. He said discussions should involve other organizations. He asked membership to read his report in the meeting packet and let board leadership know if anyone is interested in serving on the committee.
Mr. Mulvenon reported that six members of the board attended the decommissioning training seminar on March 9 held at the DOE Information Center.
Mr. Mulvenon said Mr. Mezga had made a presentation to the EMAB in Knoxville on March 7. He said the presentation was an overview of the work of ORSSAB.
Ms. Reagan said she had been asked by Mr. Mezga to coordinate planning for the annual meeting in August. She asked for additional help in planning the meeting particularly from newer members. Ms. Reagan asked that the Executive Committee approve August 11 as the date for the annual meeting or provide an alternate date. She said that she would like to have an ad hoc group in place to begin retreat planning in April. She asked anyone interested in participating to contact her, Ms. Halsey, or staff. She said one of the first considerations will be where to have the retreat.
Board Finance – Mr. Adams reported that the committee reviewed the budget and approved travel requests for himself and Ms. Campbell to attend the Long-term Stewardship Roundtable in San Diego in April.
EM – Ms. Bogard said the committee heard a presentation on the FY 2009 budget at the February meeting. She said based on that presentation and Mr. McCracken’s at this meeting, Mr. Myrick will draft a recommendation on the FY 2009 budget. She invited all members interested in the budget to attend the March 21 meeting where the recommendation will be discussed.
The March meeting will also include an update on the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment project to remove fuel and flush salts.
Public Outreach – Mr. Stow reported the committee discussed the annual Stakeholder Survey. The survey will be refined and more widely distributed this year. He asked for input on format on the survey. The Advocate newsletter will be published soon.
Briefings about ORSSAB have been made to Oak Ridge Mayor David Bradshaw, the Oak Ridge City Council, DOE-ORO Manager Gerald Boyd, and Roane County Mayor Mike Farmer. A presentation will be scheduled before the Roane County Commission. Mr. Stow said a presentation was made to students at Oak Ridge High School on March 8.
Mr. Stow said ORSSAB will participate in the EarthFest celebration in Knoxville on April 21. He asked for volunteers to work the booth.
Executive – Mr. Mulvenon said the committee set the agenda for the March board meeting and reviewed the recommendations to make sure they were ready to present to the board. Mr. Mulvenon referred members to the minutes in the meeting packet for details of the March 1 meeting.
Stewardship – Mr. Bonner reported the committee heard an update from Tim Shelton, the Anderson County Register of Deeds, on notices of contamination and his work with Roane County officials to institute a similar policy. The committee also heard a presentation on long-term surveillance and maintenance in Melton Valley.
Mr. Bonner said the March presentation will be on the DOE Public Involvement Plan.
Mr. Mulvenon reported that the Stewardship Education Subcommittee will meet on March 26. He said the committee is working on updating the Stewardship Education Resource Kit, including the video that explains the kit.
Federal Coordinator Report
Ms. Halsey said the DOE Public Involvement Plan is published every three years. She reminded the board that it will be first presented for review at the Stewardship Committee meeting on March 20. She encouraged all members to attend the meeting and asked for any input on the public involvement plan.
Additions to the Agenda
Motion on two consecutive absences for Ms. Sarten was added to the agenda.
A report on Mr. Mezga’s presentation to EMAB was added to the agenda.
Mr. Mezga was not present for votes 3/14/07.2 through 3/14/07.5
Mr. Myrick moved to approve the agenda as amended with additions. Ms. Reagan seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Dixon moved to approve the minutes of the February 14, 2007 meeting. Ms. Cothron seconded. The motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Mulvenon moved to approve Recommendation 154: Reaffirmation of DOE-EM Policy to Provide Stewardship at Ongoing Mission Sites with Residual Contamination. Mr. Bonner seconded. The motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Mulvenon moved to approve Recommendation 155: Recommendation on the Draft Legacy Management Strategic Plan.” Mr. Bonner seconded. The motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Stow moved to elect Mr. Adams secretary. Mr. Myrick seconded. Mr. Adams was elected unanimously.
The meeting adjourned at 8:37 p.m.
Attachments (7) to these minutes are available on request from ORSSAB support office.