Many Voices Working for the Community

Oak Ridge
Site Specific Advisory Board

4-c logo 100 pixels.JPG (11680 bytes)




Approved December 12, 2007 Meeting Minutes


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

Ben Adams

William Bass

Darryl Bonner

David Branch

Hubert Gibson1

Ashlyn Hall1

Mike Haygood

Ted Lundy - Secretary

David Martin

Steve Mead

Gloria Mei

Lance Mezga - Chair

Ron Murphree

Tim Myrick

Robert Olson

Sondra Sarten

Steve Stow

Kevin Westervelt


Members Absent

Rhonda Bogard

John Coffman

Steve Dixon - Vice chair

Charles Jensen2


1Student Representative

2Third consecutive absence


Deputy Designated Federal Officer and Liaisons Present

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

Pat Halsey, DOE-ORO, ORSSAB Federal Coordinator

Connie Jones, 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

Susan Gawarecki, Local Oversight Committee

Spencer Gross, Spectrum

Jack Howard, DOE-ORO

Ken Jackson, Bechtel Jacobs, Co. (BJC)

Norman Mulvenon, Citizens Advisory Panel

Kelly Trice, BJC

Pete Osborne, Spectrum


Fourteen members of the public were present.



Status of K-25/K-27 Decontamination and Decommissioning

Mr. Howard provided an update on the status of decontamination and decommissioning (D&D) of buildings K-25 and K-27 at East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP). The highlights of his presentation are included in Attachment 1.


He began by saying most of the work at the site is concentrated on the west wing of K-25. Little work is being done on the east wing and north end of K-25 nor at K-27 currently. 


D&D of K-25/K-27 is a non-time critical removal action under the Comprehensive Environmental Restoration, Compensation and Liability Act. High risk components are being removed first and the buildings will be deemed ‘criticality incredible.’ The buildings will then be demolished with heavy equipment. About 73 percent of the waste generated in demolition will go to the Environmental Management Waste Management Facility (EMWMF). Components with contamination levels above what is allowed in EMWMF will go to the Nevada Test Site.


Mr. Howard noted a number of problems that are affecting work in the buildings. They include rapid roof deterioration and falling debris, standing water on lower floors, and damaged floor panels. Building deterioration has affected work. For instance, no one is allowed on the roof. Mr. Howard said while the cell floors are in relatively good condition, they are under the operating floors, which have damaged floor panels. Nets and barriers have to be installed throughout to capture falling debris from the operating floors (installation is complete in west wing; about 37 percent complete east wing.).


Mr. Howard enumerated D&D accomplishments to date (Attachment 1, pages 11-16). He also showed a chart showing the process of establishing criticality incredible for various areas of the building (Attachment 1, page 17). When the chart is completely green, heavy equipment demolition will begin.


He showed the project schedule for work to proceed (Attachment 1, page 19). He said work is progressing under funding restraints. Work was originally scheduled to begin on seven fronts, but because of funding restraints demolition is set to begin in September 2008 on just one front, the north end of the west wing. In July 2009 another front is scheduled to start and demolition will have started on the east wing. Once the east wing is demolition ready, crews will be sent to K-27 to prepare it for demolition. All demolition work at K-25 is scheduled for completion by December 2010. The target to have K-27 demolition ready is October 2011. K-27 is scheduled to be completely demolished by April 2016.


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


Mr. Adams – What is the final disposition plans for nickel? Mr. Howard – Nickel taken out of K-25 is stored in K-1065. What we took out of K-29, K-31, K-33, about 5,000 tons, is in K-33. We’re waiting on disposition instructions from DOE Headquarters.


Mr. Myrick – What is the current cost estimate to complete the work? Mr. Howard – Right now for both K-25 and K-27 it is at $817 million.

Mr. Mulvenon – Why do costs keep rising? The last we heard was it going to cost about $758 million. Mr. Howard – There are many things. The biggest cost growth we have is because we’re having to move out the work. For instance, from funding dictated schedule extensions our surveillance and maintenance for the two buildings has gone up $14 million. Escalation of costs has risen $30 million. The hotel costs for having to spread out the work over time is about $60.9 million. The overhead rate adjustment for having to spread out the work to 2016 is costing us another $30 million. Putting up the nets and barriers cost $10 million. Structural analyses have cost $45 million, and Department of Transportation regulation changes to ship waste to Nevada will cost about $16 million.


Ms. Gawarecki – What does it mean to reduce the non-destructive assay factor (Attachment 1, page 12)? Mr. Howard – When the system was operating it was a sealed, dry environment. That gave it a factor of 1. When the system was opened years ago to take out components moisture got in the system. The moisture slowed down the neutrons in the system. That required the factor to be changed to a higher number of 1.7. Through additional experimentation and analyses we were able to lower it to 1.41. Ms. Gawarecki – So this has to do with calculating the amount of deposits in the system? Mr. Howard – Yes.


Ms. Gawarecki- You mentioned asbestos abatement in the east wing was 55 percent. Is the remaining 45 percent all that remains or is there more in the north tower and west wing? Mr. Howard – When we say the east wing, we merge all the activities in the east wing and north tower into one activity.


Ms. Gawarecki- I understand you’ve been having issues in the east and north tower with criticality control. Can you talk more about that? Mr. Howard – When we did vent, purge, and drain activities on the northeast corner of the east wing, we discovered we had a foot of water in one converter. We put restrictions on that one. We found another converter that had water. So we stopped work because there could be a criticality problem. This is something we had to do until we could conduct some analysis of the situation. Yesterday we authorized work to begin again, but slowly in a step process. We hope to resume work fully by next week.


Mr. Murphree – Can you identify the schedule slippage created by the accident (when a worker was seriously injured in January 2006) and the subsequent stoppage of work and redesign to accomplish the work? Mr. Howard – I don’t think I can put a definite time on that. We were down almost two months. But we were doing other work. It being such a big building we had people doing other activities. I think the biggest delay was about six months, but I haven’t figured it up. Mr. Murphree – Can you identify some of the additional costs as a result of the new approach? Mr. Howard – Before the accident we were going to build new segmentation and non-destructive assay shops. We’re not going to build those any more. By using cranes and heavy equipment to take down the building and reducing about 1.3 million man-hours inside the building, that demolition approach saved us $19 million. But the nets and barriers and additional characterization added about $23 million and the structural analysis is another $10-15 million we didn’t plan on. Mr. Murphree – Would it be safe to say the original approach was flawed? Mr. Howard – With the condition of the building I would say it was. I don’t think it was flawed from the standpoint of the way you attack the building. Mr. Murphree – Hasn’t the operating floors’ condition always been a known factor? Mr. Howard – We felt like the panels that were not cross-hatched were safe to walk on. We knew we had bad panels. We did not know they were as bad as they are. Once the accident happened there was no guarantee. No structural engineer would say that any of the panels were safe.


Status of Appendix E & J Milestones for the East Tennessee Technology Park and Other Projects

Mr. Adler provided an update of the status of enforceable and non-enforceable milestones in Appendices E&J of the FFA.


Mr. Adler said DOE, EPA, and TDEC are in the early stages of a formal dispute on those milestones. About three months ago DOE made a proposal to make significant changes in the established milestones, particularly at ETTP. EPA and TDEC have notified DOE that it will dispute the proposal and offered a counter-proposal. Mr. Adler said the counter is basically asking to do more work, more quickly and that it will take more money than DOE is expected to receive in budget allocations.


The process to resolve the dispute will move fairly quickly, said Mr. Adler. Within 21 days of receiving notification of a formal dispute, a dispute resolution committee must be convened to attempt to resolve the issue. The group includes Mr. McCracken and his counterparts in EPA and TDEC. If that group is unable to resolve the dispute, it is elevated to the next level, which includes the manager of DOE-ORO Gerald Boyd, the deputy commissioner of TDEC, and the regional administrator of EPA. Failing resolution at that level the final decision is made by the head of EPA.


Mr. Adler said experience has shown that resolution of these disputes usually occurs within a matter of weeks. He believed by January or February 2008 there would be significant progress made on the issues.  


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


Mr. Mezga – Could you give us an overview of the points of contention in the dispute? Mr. Adler – Basically it’s about how much budget comes to Oak Ridge for cleanup and how it will be used. EPA and TDEC have expressed specific dissatisfaction with our failure to start the Corehole 8 project, the ponds project at ETTP, the fuel salt removal at the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment (MSRE) project, and the overall time frame of cleanup at ETTP.


Ms. Gawarecki – In relation to the current agreement, how much of an extension of schedule are we looking at? Mr. Adler – Under the current agreement we have everything wrapping up in the 2016 time frame. Under the new proposal it’s about the same. But in the near term there are projects that slide out. For instance the Corehole 8 project that was slated to be completed in September would not be completed until next year. The MSRE fuel salt removal that was supposed to have been completed last year won’t be finished until 2012 or so. So there is some concern on the part of the regulators that we have some back loading of the schedule; too much reliance on a lot of money down the road as opposed to a little bit more up front. Ms. Gawarecki – Does that affect schedules of final records of decision? Mr. Adler – It does not, but it never has. It was always the case that the 2016 date would be the date where we would have the substantive ground source control programs complete. Ms. Gawarecki – Will DOE Headquarters get involved in this? Will they be held accountable for failing to fund this work? Mr. Adler – Headquarters is very involved in terms of giving us guidance as to what our budget is and what our priorities are. I’m sure we’ll be coordinating with headquarters what our negotiating strategy is with the regulators. Ms. Gawarecki – Will there be opportunities for stakeholders to have input on priorities for money that is budgeted? Mr. Adler – The formal dispute process does not have steps for inclusion of the public. However, our operating protocol for setting milestones, building budgets, and the lifecycle baseline does involve the public. Once a year we come to this group to explain our budget and priorities.


Mr. Myrick – How does this dispute impact the Integrated Facilities Disposition Project (IFDP) for new work? Mr. Adler – They are interrelated. Roughly half of the work noted as IFDP is already part of the baseline and is part of this dispute. The other half is scope for which we have not yet received authority to begin requesting budget and start doing work. That activity is occurring on the pace it has always occurred on. That includes going to Washington and making submittals to get approval to advance the project. Right now the scope is on work for which we have regulatory enforceable agreements. When the IFDP is ready to be built into our baseline there will need to be reconsideration of many things. For instance if we have the opportunity to tear many buildings instead of a few of the buildings we might want to rethink our sequence for doing things, because soil that needs remediation is under some of the buildings. But for now the dispute is on existing scope. Mr. McCracken – One of the things that we agreed to do with the state not long ago was to roll in all the milestones in 2009 related to Y-12 and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. We want to keep on track for all the work going on there, so we wanted to roll in those milestones to make sure those precursor acts to actually do the work do not fall away.


Mr. Adams – Do you think EPA or TDEC doesn’t understand some of the issues or are being unrealistic about them? Mr. Adler – I don’t think there are any misunderstandings here. It’s a matter of priorities and their positions that they want us to hold to milestones


Deputy Designated Federal Officer and Liaison Comments

Steve McCracken: no comments.


Dave Adler:  No comments.


Connie Jones: Ms. Jones said the Federal Facility Agreement Core Teams have just completed one of the data quality objective sessions.  EPA is going through additional data related to the K-25/K-27 project to have regulatory documents prepared.


John Owsley: Regarding Mr. Adler’s explanation of the disputes between DOE and the regulators, Mr. Owsley said that DOE has taken steps unilaterally without consulting with the regulators as required by the Federal Facility Agreement. He mentioned specifically the change in the start date to begin the ponds remediation at ETTP, saying DOE needed the approval of both EPA and TDEC before moving the milestone. Mr. Owsley said the decision was made at the senior executive level, not at the staff level.


Mr. Owsley said DOE headquarters unilaterally moved a significant amount of money from the cleanup budget to the uranium-233 conversion project, which is not an environmentally regulated program. He said budget problems could be solved by moving that money back to the FFA cleanup program.                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Mr. McCracken reminded the board that the uranium-233 conversion project was given to DOE EM by Congress as a high priority project, but without additional funding to do the work, which has caused a strain on the DOE-ORO EM budget.


Public Comment

Mr. Mulvenon said everyone needs to understand dispute between DOE and the regulators and to ask questions to make sure they understand the issues.


Announcements and Other Board Business

ORSSAB will have its next meeting on Wednesday, January 9, at 6 p.m. at the DOE Information Center. The presentation will be the “Low-Level/Mixed Low-Level Waste Disposition Strategy for the Oak Ridge Reservation.”


Mr. McCracken introduced Mr. Mead as a new board member.


The minutes of the November 14, 2007 meeting were approved.


Recommendation 161: Recommendation on Developing a Stewardship Map Showing Remediated Areas with Waste Left in Place was approved as amended.


A motion to recommend to DOE-ORO to remove Charles Jensen from the board because of two consecutive absences failed. Mr. Mezga asked staff to try to determine the reason for Mr. Jensen’s absences.


Committee Reports

Board Finance & Process – Mr. Adams reported that Mr. Branch was named vice chair of committee.


The committee looked at budget information, approved expenditures, and sent to executive committee.


Mr. Adams said the committee is responsible for two activities: annual retreat planning and reviewing EM budget and prioritization.


Mr. Branch is the issue manager for finding a location for the FY 2008 board annual retreat. He said he has talked to four different places about a possible site for the retreat. Most were asking for about $50 per person. He said one location asked for $1,000 to rent a conference room plus charges for additional services. He has asked for a proposal from the Grand Hotel in Pigeon Forge for a one- or two-day meeting.


The committee will not meet in December.


EM – The committee cancelled its November meeting. Mr. Murphree said the December meeting will include a presentation on engineering and technology on the Oak Ridge Reservation. The committee will also discuss the October presentation on contamination of picket wells in Melton Valley. A discussion on historic preservation of K-25 is on the agenda as well.


Public Outreach – Mr. Westervelt reported that Mr. Bass made a presentation to the Clinton Rotary Club earlier this month. Mr. Bass and Ms. Sarten are working to do a presentation before the Loudon County School Board. The committee is reviewing a list of local organizations to which the committee could possibly make presentations in the future. Mr. Haygood will talk to the program director of local cable channel 15 to see if that is another outlet for board meeting videos and other programs.


The committee is currently reviewing the draft of the January Advocate newsletter.


Mr. Westervelt said Mr. Bass has been appointed vice chair of the committee. Mr. Bass said after the presentation to the Stewardship and EM Committees on contamination in picket wells in Melton Valley, the Public Outreach Committee thought it was important to see if there was a better way to inform the public of the issue of water quality in the wells. The committee has started discussions with Ms. Halsey and is in the very early stages of determining how to accomplish that goal. More discussions will be held in January and will likely include Mr. Adler and Mr. Owsley.


The board’s FY 2007 annual report has been published and was distributed at this meeting (Attachment 2).


Stewardship – At its November meeting the committee received an update on the filings of Melton Valley property record notices with the Roane County register of deeds. The register of deeds for Anderson County is working with the Roane County register to set up a filing system similar to Anderson County’s.


A legislative act standardizing the filing of record notices and related plat maps will be introduced in the Tennessee legislature during the next session. Draft language for the act originated with the Stewardship Committee.


At its December meeting the committee will hear more on historic preservation of K-25 from Bill Wilcox of the Partnership for K-25 Preservation and from a representative from the American Museum of Science and Energy. The committee will try to formulate a recommendation regarding K-25 to send to DOE-ORO. Representatives of the committee are also planning a public meeting on K-25 historic preservation for February.


Mr. Mezga wondered if a historic preservation subcommittee should be set up to follow the developments of preserving a portion of K-25, the graphic reactor at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the calutrons at Y-12. He asked where money comes from to implement preservation at K-25. Mr. Adler said he is not aware of specific money set aside for historic preservation, but he said all federal agencies must comply with historic preservation. Money could also come from the private sector. Regarding the establishment of a historic preservation subcommittee, Mr. Adler thought historic preservation was outside the purview of the board.


In December the committee will also discuss the picket well issue in Melton Valley.


Stewardship Education Subcommittee – Ms. Sarten said the subcommittee has made some revisions to the overheads for Lesson 1 in the Stewardship Education Resource Kit. The committee is also discussing possibly having another teacher’s workshop on the kit.  


She said if a presentation is arranged with the Loudon County School Board as noted earlier, the focus of the presentation will be split between an overview of the ORSSAB and the education resource kit.


Executive – The committee decided that the February presentation to the board should be on the FY 2008 budget and the validated baseline for FY 2009-14. The March meeting will not have a presentation, but will use the time to discuss the EM budget.


Mr. Mezga said the committee was to conduct an evaluation of board work. He asked Ms. Halsey about how that is done. She said other federal coordinators report that what they do is similar to what ORSSAB does in sending out a stakeholder’s survey. She said no one has indicated that any type of report should be produced and sent to DOE headquarters and headquarters has not requested one.


Oral history – Mr. Stow said since the oral history workshop was held in October an advisory committee has been formed that includes a number of organizations interested oral histories. Two individuals representing the public will be added to the group, which will meet in January.


Mr. Stow said he, Mr. Adler, and Ms. Halsey met with Dave Allen of DOE-ORO, who endorses the oral history program and agrees that a number of issues regarding oral histories need resolution. He did recommend that the advisory group have another designation, as ‘advisory’ could indicate a similar status to DOE as ORSSAB. Funding for the program was discussed. Mr. Allen recommended that Mr. McCracken make a presentation to Gerald Boyd, ORO manager, seeking support for the program. Mr. Stow. Ms. Halsey and Mr. Adler will assemble information for Mr. McCracken to use in a presentation before Mr. Boyd. Mr. Mezga asked that Mr. Adler report on the briefing to determine if the establishment of a historic preservation subcommittee is warranted.


Federal Coordinator Report

Ms. Halsey said a work order has been placed for ARCADIS to review the D3 version of the remedial investigation/feasibility study for the ETTP Sitewide Record of Decision and report to the EM committee. The D3 has been produced that includes a comment resolution table, which recorded comments on the D2 version. ARCADIS will begin reviewing the D3 in early January.


Ms. Halsey said a structural analysis report on K-25 mentioned during the November Executive Committee meeting is available at the DOE Information Center.


Ms. Halsey reported that the bylaws approved by ORSSAB at the November meeting have been formally approved by DOE Headquarters.  


Ms. Halsey reported on the status of outstanding recommendations. Regarding Recommendation 152 on the Notice of Contamination and Future Use Limitations in Melton Valley, Ms. Halsey said DOE had agreed to use the format of the notice that the board had recommended. The notice has been published in local newspapers and is available at the DOE Information Center (Attachment 3).


Regarding Recommendation 158 on the Environmental Management Waste Management Facility

Explanation of Significant Difference (ESD) for Leachate Management, Ms. Halsey said another meeting is scheduled with EPA the first of December to work out wording on the ESD. She said DOE will respond to the recommendation after the meeting. Mr. Mezga asked Ms. Halsey to report to the board on the outcome of the meeting.


Recommendation 159 on an Environmental Impact Statement on the Disposal of Greater-Than-Class C Low-Level Radioactive Waste was sent to Christine Gelles at DOE Headquarters. Ms Halsey said responses on environmental impact statements normally come in subsequent versions of National Environmental Policy Act documents and may not be addressed separately. Ms. Halsey will check with Ms. Gelles to see how a response will be made to ORSSAB. Mr. Mezga asked that Ms. Gelles be prepared to respond to the board’s comments at her appearance before the board in January.


Mr. Bonner asked about the status of Recommendation 154 for DOE to provide stewardship at ongoing mission sites. Ms. Halsey said she would check on the status of that recommendation with Melissa Nielson at DOE Headquarters.


Ms. Halsey said a response to Recommendation 160: Independent Verification of Locations of Waste Sites in Melton Valley should be coming in January.


Additions to the Agenda





Mr. Lundy moved to approve the minutes of the November 14, 2007, meeting. Mr. Bonner seconded and the motion passed unanimously.



Mr. Bonner moved to approve the Recommendation 161 on Developing a Stewardship Map Showing Remediated Areas with Waste Left in Place. Mr. Stow seconded.


Mr. Myrick moved to amend the wording to read ‘radioactive/hazardous waste or residual contamination.’ Mr. Mezga seconded. The motion and amendment passed unanimously.



An automatic motion to recommend that DOE remove Charles Jensen from the board because of two consecutive absences failed because two-thirds of the quorum did not vote to approve the recommendation.


The meeting adjourned at 8:40 p.m.


Action Items


  1. Ms. Halsey will report to the board the outcome of the meeting with EPA related to Recommendation 158 on the ESD for Leachate Management at the Environmental Management Waste Management Facility. Carried over from November 14, 2007.
  2. Ms. Halsey will check on the status of Recommendation 154 with Melissa Nielson at DOE Headquarters. Carried over from November 14, 2007.
  3. Ms. Sarten will talk to the member of the public she knows who attended the well sampling meeting to ask about his reaction to the presentation. Carried over from November 14, 2007
  4. The Environmental Management and Stewardship committees will consider addressing Mr. Mezga’s recommendation that Mr. Owsley’s comments on well sampling be communicated to the public, and they will consider making a joint recommendation on the well sampling topic. To be addressed at December committee meetings.
  5. Ms. Halsey will inform Christine Gelles to expect a question on Recommendation 159 at the January meeting.
  6. Staff will contact Mr. Jensen to determine reasons for two consecutive absences.
  7. Mr. Adler will report on the briefing provided to Mr. McCracken to support oral histories by DOE-ORO.


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