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Oak Ridge
Site Specific Advisory Board

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Approved February 13, 2008 Meeting Minutes


The Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board (ORSSAB) held its monthly meeting on Wednesday, February 13, 2008, 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

Bill Bass

Darryl Bonner

David Branch

John Coffman

Steve Dixon - Vice chair

Hubert Gibson1

Ashlyn Hall1

Mike Haygood

Charles Jensen

David Martin

Steve Mead

Gloria Mei

Lance Mezga - Chair

Ron Murphree

Tim Myrick

Robert Olson

Sondra Sarten

Steve Stow

Kevin Westervelt


Members Absent

Ben Adams

Rhonda Bogard2

Ted Lundy – Secretary


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

Dick Berry

Becky Brunton, Spectrum

Susan Gawarecki, Local Oversight Committee (LOC)

Luther Gibson, LOC Citizens Advisory Panel

Spencer Gross, Spectrum

Norman Mulvenon, LOC Citizens Advisory Panel

Pete Osborne, Spectrum


Eight members of the public were present.



Environmental Management Program Budget & Prioritization

Mr. Adler explained the timeline for developing and submitting budgets as shown on page 2 of Attachment 1. He said at any given time DOE is building one budget request while it has a current request before Congress. Mr. Adler pointed out two key steps in the budget process. The first is the field budget call. In the budget call DOE tells the field office offices how much money they can plan on having appropriated (the target) and then HQ provides general priorities for how the money should be spent. He said targets and priorities don’t change much from year to year.


In the development of the 2010 budget, Mr. Adler said meetings have been held with EPA and TDEC on DOE’s expectations regarding development of the budget, which provides them the opportunity to provide input on the budget.


Mr. Adler said DOE will look to ORSSAB to provide input on the 2010 budget in late March. DOE-ORO typically submits its budget request to headquarters in April. He said between the time the budget is submitted to headquarters and it is submitted to the president, budget discussions are embargoed. In February 2009, the president submits the 2010 budget request to Congress.


Mr. Adler reviewed the status of the FY 2008 budget. He said the target request was $481 million. The actual appropriation was $505 million. He noted that increases were provided for work at East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP), offsite work (David Witherspoon in Knoxville) and the Building 3019 Project at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). He noted the general work priorities had not changed much over the last several years. Those included shipping transuranic wastes off the Oak Ridge Reservation, the Building 3019 project, demolition of the K-25 Building at ETTP, and others (Attachment 1, page 3).


The target request for the FY 2009 budget was $502.8 million, but the appropriation has not yet been received. Mr. Adler said what was submitted by DOE-ORO and what the president submitted to Congress was different in one key area. DOE-ORO asked for $52.7 million for work at Y-12 National Security Complex. The president only requested $32.4 million. Mr. Adler said that was a ‘challenge.’ He said DOE will be working with EPA, TDEC, and the public to set priorities to handle the work.


Mr. Adler reviewed the work priorities for FY 2009 (Attachment 1, page 7). He then discussed the 2010 budget guidance. While the budget guidance hasn’t yet been provided, Mr. Adler said the guidance will tell DOE-ORO how much to plan for. It will include a five-year plan for 2009-2013. Mr. Adler said the lifecycle baseline, which lays out schedules and cost estimates for EM work on the Oak Ridge Reservation has been validated by DOE headquarters. Mr. Adler said this validation increases the confidence level of Congress in funding cleanup projects.


The work priorities for FY 2010 are noted in Attachment 1, page 9. They included excavation of soils around Tank W-1A at ORNL, completion of fuel salt removal at the Molten Salt Reactor Experiment (MSRE), and the completion of demolition activities at the K-25 Building at ETTP.


Mr. Adler then showed schedules of activities at Y-12, ETTP, ORNL, and at the Witherspoon site in Knoxville (Attachment 1, pages 10-13). He said at ETTP the bulk of the budget is dedicated to demolition of K-25 and K-27, but he said with additional money provided in the FY 2008 budget other work can be done. That includes resumption of excavation of the classified burial ground, reinitiating cleanup of the ponds at ETTP, and complete cleanup of the Zone 1 area at ETTP for industrial use.


Concluding his presentation, Mr. Adler reviewed the final steps for development of the FY 2010 budget (Attachment 1, page 14).


After Mr. Adler’s presentation, a number of questions were asked. Following are abridged questions and answers.


Mr. Murphree – Does the FY 2008, and more specifically the ’09, budget request include the impacts of cost increases presented by Bechtel Jacobs for K-25 decontamination and decommissioning (D&D)? Mr. Adler – The new baselines just validated by headquarters do reflect the changes of current costs and the original expectations. Our plan has been revised to reflect those cost increases. A consequence of that is a longer amount of time to finish the work.


Mr. Olson – I recall that Congress asked you to clean out Building 3019, but gave you no money to do that. It looks as if you have some money to do that now. Mr. Adler – Congress has created a specific appropriation that includes money that can only be used for 3019 work. But we did not get an increase in overall budget commiserate with the 3019 appropriation. As a consequence other work to be done will take longer.


Mr. Mezga – In looking at the FY 2008 budget and the FY 2009 request, the one that has the biggest change is ETTP post-retirement benefits, which went from $282 million to $184 million. I assume that’s going to be taken up in a slowdown of work at ETTP if the ’09 appropriation isn’t closer to what the ’08 appropriation is. Mr. McCracken – There’s not going to be a slow down in work at ETTP. That $282 million in ’08 includes the $50 million increase, which was a windfall. We’ve been planning our spending at ETTP based on this dip. Now with the plus-up we can increase our spending at ETTP. We’re actually going to be doing more, and we’re having discussions with EPA and TDEC on what that will be. Our actual spending at ETTP will go up over the next couple of years.


Mr. Mezga – Is the validated baseline available to us now? Mr. Adler – It is available and I can get it to you.


Mr. Bonner – How does the $20 million change in the Y-12 planning appear in this schedule? Does the schedule reflect that? Mr. Adler – No, that schedule is our current baseline. If the president’s budget becomes the appropriation we would somehow have to accommodate that. The effect would probably be some slippage of schedules at Y-12.


Mr. Myrick – I’m assuming under the 2010 budget you still have compliance agreements that will not be met. Mr. Adler – We have asked EPA and TDEC to renegotiate some milestones with us and they have done that on some. Unfortunately the Tank W-1A and the MSRE milestones were earlier than our new baselines. We are closing in on completing negotiations on these and others. The number of milestones we have to negotiate is not as great as it would have been if we had not gotten that $54 million budget increase for the ETTP activities.


Mr. Myrick- Does the FY 2010 budget address disposing of newly generated waste? Mr. Adler – Our baseline has us catching up and returning to real time disposition – as we generate it, we get rid of it. There is a couple of thousand of cubic yards of waste generated a year. Our baseline has us storing it for a couple of years and then shipping it off in 2010 or 2011. Technically, we not disposing of it now as fast as we are generating it.


Mr. Myrick – Where does the Integrated Facilities Disposition Project (IFDP) fall in the budget? Mr. McCracken – We are funding the planning. We are performing scope, which is already in the EM scope that may eventually also be rolled into IFDP. We are not currently budgeting any new scope that is not part of the EM program. Mr. Myrick – Do you still have money in the FY 2010 budget request for planning IFDP? Mr. McCracken – Yes.


Mr. Mulvenon – Have you gotten your allocation for FY 2008? Mr. McCracken- We should have it soon. There’s nothing I’ve heard that’s slowing it down.


Mr. Gibson – You mentioned the closing and D&D of the Central Neutralization Facility and Toxic Substances Control Act Incinerator in the out-years. Will they operate that long or will they be closed before that time and go through D&D? Mr. Adler – They will be closed and then go through D&D. Mr. McCracken – If you study our planning  you will see that we plan to operate the incinerator through this year and part of next year and then close it. In all likelihood we will operate it through next year and close it in 2010. D&D would occur when you give it a level of importance. We should show you the maps of ETTP and what the site will look like in 2016. Mr. Adler- I will bring the maps to the EM Committee meeting on Wednesday (February 20.)


Deputy Designated Federal Officer and Liaison Comments

Steve McCracken – Mr. McCracken said the final stages to remove the uranium fuel from the MSRE are going well. He anticipates the completion of the uranium removal for storage in Building 3019 to occur in couple of weeks.


Dave Adler – no comments.


Connie Jones – Ms. Jones said DOE, EPA, and TDEC are working hard to resolve milestone disputes.


John Owsley – Mr. Owsley said DOE’s priorities have moved away from Federal Facility Agreement compliance and the current dispute between DOE and EPA/TDEC is to bring DOE back to a cooperative effort to implement compliance agreements. He said a resolution has not been agreed upon but the parties are closer to agreement. He said it was important for the board to bring recommendations to DOE and as to what it believes priorities should be.  


Mr. Mezga asked what issues were still unresolved between DOE and the regulators. Mr. Owsley said the general issue is DOE’s ability to commit to milestones above target – whether budget drives schedules or schedules drive budget. He said it was the regulators position that schedule drives budget.


Mr. Myrick asked if there had been a response to the letter from Tennessee Gov. Bredesen to DOE Secretary Bodman (Attachment 2). Mr. McCracken said a response letter was being written, but had not been sent.


Public Comment

Mr. Berry said he had sent a letter to Ms. Halsey expressing the importance of preserving Manhattan Project history. Mr. Berry provided a packet of material related to the topic (Attachment 3).


Announcements and Other Board Business

ORSSAB will have its next meeting on Wednesday, March 12, at 6 p.m. at the DOE Information Center. The presentation will be the “Annual Site Environmental Report.”


The minutes of the January 9, 2008 meeting were approved.


The recommendation on Engineering and Technology Development on the Oak Ridge Reservation was approved.


The board voted against recommending that DOE remove Rhonda Bogard from the board for two consecutive absences.


Committee Reports

Board Finance & Process – Mr. Branch reported that there is an additional $10,000 in the ORSSAB budget, putting the total budget for FY 2008 at $400,000. He also reported that staff is researching a number of possible locations for the annual retreat.


EM – Mr. Murphree said the January 16 meeting was a combined meeting with the Stewardship Committee, which included a briefing on the 2007 Remediation Effectiveness Report. He said Stewardship will take the lead in drafting any recommendation on the report. The meeting also included a report by ARCADIS on the ETTP remedial investigation/feasibility study D3 version. As a result of that briefing the EM committee will have a more detailed discussion on the study at its February 20 meeting and possibly formulate a recommendation. The committee will also discuss at the February meeting Christine Gelles’ presentation to the full board in January on waste disposition strategy for the Oak Ridge Reservation.


Public Outreach – Mr. Westervelt said the committee is focusing on four civic groups to approach for presentations about the board. He said the committee is reviewing the board’s stakeholder survey to possibly make it more user-friendly. Staff has contacted local TV channel 15 about broadcasting selected presentations that have been made to the board. Mr. Westervelt said the American Museum of Science and Energy has asked ORSSAB to participate in the April 12 Earth Day celebration in Oak Ridge. He said volunteers will be solicited to staff an ORSSAB exhibit.


Mr. Bass said the committee had taken on the task of doing a follow-up to a presentation made before the combined EM and Stewardship Committees in October 2007 concerning monitoring for contamination in picket wells in Melton Valley. Mr. Bass said some members of the public attending that meeting might have been concerned about contamination in their own wells, which are adjacent to Melton Valley. Mr. Bass said the committee had asked for a report from Mr. Adler and Mr. Owsley about addressing that issue with the well owners. Mr. Adler said he contacted the well owners to inform them that they had a contact at DOE-ORO if they had questions about their wells and monitoring efforts by DOE. He said in his conversations with the well owners none had any specific questions nor have any gotten back in contact with him. Mr. Adler said he thought the route to take on the issue was to ‘let it lie’ for awhile. He said the board should take questions about offsite contamination directly to DOE or TDEC.


Mr. Owsley said TDEC will continue to monitor water quality in offsite wells. That information is shared with property owners and DOE and is part of the TDEC annual environmental monitoring report. He said on this particular issue TDEC and EPA are working with DOE at the core team level in looking at TDEC’s offsite data and DOE’s picket well data to determine if there needs to be any changes in DOE’s plan for monitoring in Melton Valley.


Stewardship – Mr. Bonner said there will be a public meeting on K-25 Building historic preservation on Tuesday, February 19 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the New Hope Center, 602 Scarboro Road in Oak Ridge. The meeting is co-sponsored by ORSSAB and the LOC. Displays will be set up in the lobby of the New Hope Center from 5 to 6 p.m. and presentations and public comment will be held in the auditorium from 6 to 8 p.m. The planning committee for the meeting is finalizing the agenda and a questionnaire to be distributed at the public meeting.


Mr. Myrick asked if the schedule to get a recommendation to DOE on K-25 by April was still valid. Mr. McCracken said it would be good if the board could provide a recommendation by the first of April, but he said he didn’t want to offer his own recommendation on what to do about K-25 until he heard from the board.


Stewardship Education Subcommittee – Mr. Bonner said the subcommittee met on January 17 and finalized revisions to the lesson 1 plan in the Stewardship Education Resource Kit. Ms. Sarten said the committee will meet again on February 21 to discuss revisions to the lesson 2 and 3 plans.


Executive – Mr. Mezga said the committee discussed a letter from Tennessee Gov. Bredesen to DOE Secretary of Energy Bodman, which expressed concern about insufficient funding for cleanup work in Oak Ridge (Attachment 2). The committee expressed hope that DOE and EPA/TDEC would successfully resolve disputes between them within days rather than weeks or months. Mr. Mezga said he encouraged committee chairs to determine if their committees’ needs for technical assistance and to request funding for any assistance.


Mr. Mezga said Messrs. Bonner, Dixon, Lundy, and Murphree had expressed interest in attending the EM SSAB chairs’ meeting in April in Hanford, Wash. He asked that anyone else interested in attending should notify staff. He also mentioned that Mr. Coffman and Ms. Sarten will be attending the Waste Management Symposium in Phoenix, Ariz., February 24-28. Ms. Sarten will make a presentation on the Stewardship Education Resource Kit.


Oral History Subcommittee – Mr. Stow said a steering committee has been formed to manage an Oak Ridge oral history program. That committee met in January and determined that the Oak Ridge Public Library will manage the program. The library is currently developing a budget to start up and maintain the program. The ORSSAB Oral History Subcommittee will dissolve, but the board will have a representative on the steering committee.


Federal Coordinator Report

Ms. Halsey reported on the status of outstanding recommendations.

·   Recommendation 158 on the Environmental Management Waste Management Facility Explanation of Significant Difference (ESD) for Leachate Management. Ms Halsey said a meeting still needs to be held between DOE and EPA on the ESD. DOE will not respond to the recommendation until that meeting is held, which will probably be in April.

·   Recommendation 160 on Independent Verification of Locations of Waste Sites in Melton Valley. A response is forthcoming.

·   Recommendation 161 on Developing a Stewardship Map Showing Remediated Areas with Radioactive/Hazardous Waste or Residual Contamination Left in Place. The map has been developed and is being prepared for display in the DOE Information Center.

·   Recommendation 162 on Long-term Stewardship Incorporation Into New EM Projects and Legacy Waste Decisions (EM SSAB Chairs recommendation). Ms. Halsey said she had not received anything related to that recommendation. Mr. Mezga, however, said he had received a response from DOE Secretary Rispoli endorsing the recommendation.


Ms. Halsey said a recruiting campaign will begin soon to fill positions of members completing their terms. Notices will be sent to many organizations and public officials informing them of openings. She asked board members to spread the word about openings. Mr. Mezga noted that technical expertise is not necessary to serve. He suggested having applications available at the K-25 public meeting.


Additions to the Agenda




Messrs. Coffman and Jensen were not present for motions 2/13/08.2, 2/13/08.3, and 2/13/08.4.



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



Mr. Dixon moved to approve the minutes of the January 9, 2008, meeting with the following correction in the second paragraph of the public comment by Mr. Gibson: Mr. Gibson said Ms. Gelles had reported a budget shortfall for EM-related work at the December Perma-Fix conference. He said her presentation at this meeting confirmed what she reported at that meeting. He said about 700 of the drums shipped from Portsmouth, Ohio to Oak Ridge remain to be processed. The original wording in the third sentence was:  He said 700 drums of waste remain to be shipped from Portsmouth, Ohio to Oak Ridge. Mr. Olson seconded and the motion passed unanimously.



Mr. Murphree moved to approve the recommendation on Engineering and Technology Development on the Oak Ridge Reservation. Mr. Mezga seconded and the motion passed unanimously.



Mr. Stow moved that the board should not go forward with a recommendation to DOE to remove Rhonda Bogard from the board because of two consecutive absences. Mr. Mezga seconded and the motion passed unanimously.


The meeting adjourned at 8:15 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. Status. Meeting with EPA has not been held.
  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. Mr. Adler will report on the briefing provided to Mr. McCracken to support oral histories by DOE-ORO.
  5. Mr. Adler will provide the validated EM baseline to the board.
  6. Mr. Adler will bring maps of ETTP showing stages of completed work through 2016 to the EM Committee on February 20.
  7. Staff will have board membership applications at the K-25 public meeting.


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