Many Voices Working for the Community

Oak Ridge
Site Specific Advisory Board

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Approved July 9, 2008 Meeting Minutes


The Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board (ORSSAB) held its monthly meeting on Wednesday, July 9, 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

Claire Campbell1

Miranda Clower1

John Coffman

Steve Dixon - Vice chair

Charles Jensen

Betty Jones

Edward Juarez

Ted Lundy – Secretary

David Martin

Steve Mead

Gloria Mei

Tim Myrick

Robert Olson

Maggie Owen

Steve Stow

Kevin Westervelt


Members Absent

Lance Mezga2 - Chair

Ron Murphree

Sondra Sarten


1Student Representative

2Second consecutive absence


Deputy Designated Federal Officer, Liaisons, and Federal Coordinator 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)


Others Present

Becky Brunton, Spectrum

Carl Froede, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Region 4

Spencer Gross, Spectrum

Norman Mulvenon, Local Oversight Committee (LOC)

Pete Osborne, Spectrum


Fourteen members of the public were present.


Environmental Management Cleanup History and Progress and How ORSSAB has Influenced the Program

Mr. Adler presented the program and the main points of his presentation are in Attachment 1. The presentation was an overview of EM history and how ORSSAB has influenced the DOE-ORO EM program. He said it was also a good way to provide the new members a summary of EM accomplishments and progress to date.


Mr. Adler began by pointing out significant milestones in the EM cleanup history on the Oak Ridge Reservation (ORR) (Attachment 1, pages 3 and 4). He also noted the establishment of the Community Reuse Organization of East Tennessee and ORSSAB in 1995, the End Use Working Group and Stewardship Working Group in 1997, and the signing of the Accelerated Closure Agreement in 2002.


Mr. Adler reviewed EM progress to date. Those points are noted on pages 11-25 of Attachment 1.


Mr. Adler then discussed the ways in which the ORSSAB has influenced the DOE-EM program through the years. ORSSAB has submitted 170 recommendations to DOE since 1995. Mr. Adler said ORSSAB has had an effect on every aspect of the DOE-ORO EM program (Attachment 1, page 27). Every major record of decision (ROD) developed by EM has had heavy ORSSAB involvement and that none of the final RODs has been at odds with the majority of ORSSAB opinions. Recommendations provided by the End Use Working Group and the Stewardship Working Group have continuing influence.


Mr. Adler said while there are other groups in the community that provide input on EM activities, DOE-ORO considers ORSSAB the primary group that it looks to for advice and recommendations. He said TDEC and EPA are also very interested in the opinions of the board.


After the presentation, Mr. Bonner asked how funding for EM work had changed over the years. Mr. Adler said it changes some from administration to administration. Total funding levels have fluctuated from $450-$600 million per year. He said for the past several years funding has been in the $450-$500 million range per year. The way money has been allocated has shifted over the years. At the beginning money was allocated for handling offsite releases of contamination. As a result a backlog of waste built up onsite. Since then the focus has become more balanced with waste management coupled with environmental cleanup. Since September 2001 there has been interest in making sure special nuclear materials receive attention for security reasons.


Mr. Mulvenon commented that it should be clarified that the ORR and the City of Oak Ridge are not separate entities. He said almost all of the reservation is within the city limits of Oak Ridge. This is the only site in the DOE complex where that is true and is important particularly when discussing stewardship. He also noted a number of other organizations in the community that provide input to DOE-EM including the League of Women Voters, the Local Oversight Committee, the Environmental Quality Advisory Board, and the Roane County Environmental Review Board.


Deputy Designated Federal Officer and Liaison Comments

Steve McCracken – Initial information on the FY 2009 EM budget from the House of Representatives indicates about $60 million in additional funds. Mr. McCracken said, however, the House was critical of EM operations management throughout the DOE complex. 


He said the critical decision 1 document for the Integrated Facilities Disposition Project (IFDP) is at DOE headquarters and is going through the approval process. He was optimistic that it will be approved before the end of the calendar year.


Mr. Jensen asked what the general criticism of EM was by the House. Mr. McCracken said it had to do with project management. He thought some of the criticism was a reflection of things that have happened over the last several years and not just recently. He said Assistant Secretary for EM James Rispoli did not agree with the criticism. Mr. McCracken said DOE headquarters has taken steps to improve project management and there will be continued improvement. He said it’s important to understand how difficult the EM work is primarily because of so many unknowns in dealing with cleanup work.


Mr. Bonner asked how the $60 million in additional funds will be allocated in Oak Ridge. Mr. McCracken said about $54 million would go toward decontamination and decommissioning, mostly at East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP). The additional funds will help restart work on remediation of the ponds, the cleanup of the classified burial grounds, the demolition of other buildings, and to shrink the footprint of ETTP. He did not have the exact breakdown, but said he could provide the list to the board. He said the increased allocation allows the workforce to remain at full strength.


Mr. Bonner asked about the status of the dispute between DOE-ORO and TDEC and EPA. Mr. McCracken said agreement had been reached on all disputed milestones for FY 2008-10 except four. He said he could not agree to resolution at his level because those changes would exceed the anticipated budget in FY 2009 and 2010. The four remaining milestones have been sent to the next level management level of DOE, EPA, and TDEC for resolution. He expected the dispute to be resolved in the next few weeks.


Dave Adler – Mr. Adler signed a letter on this date providing suggestions from DOE-ORO for the board to consider in FY 2009. Those issues include considering the remediation decision for Bear Creek Burial Grounds, input on setting budget priorities, looking at the prioritization sequence for the IFDP, and considering landfill capacity issues at the Environmental Management Waste Management Facility.


Mr. Adler reported on the status of outstanding recommendations.

·    Recommendation 154: Recommendation on Reaffirmation of DOE Secretarial Policy to Provide Stewardship at Ongoing Mission Sites with Residual Contamination – Secretary Rispoli has assigned Vince Adams as the EM headquarters point of contact for long-term stewardship. Mr. Adler said he has asked Mr. Adams to forward his appointment letter to him and he will share with the board. Receipt of the letter will close out this recommendation.

·    Recommendation 164: Recommendation on Engineering and Technology Development on the ORR. – A very similar recommendation was sent to Secretary Rispoli by the LOC. DOE-ORO has asked that Mr. Rispoli respond to both recommendations from his office.

·    Recommendation 165: Recommendation on Conducting Future Verifications of Cleanup – A response is being developed based on the national policy for verifications of cleanup.

·    Recommendation 167: Recommendation on Historic Preservation of the K-25 Building at ETTP – Mr. McCracken said he has received an estimate from Bechtel Jacobs, Co., to preserve the north tower as spelled out in a memorandum of agreement (MOA) signed in 2005. The anticipated costs to preserve the north tower under the MOA have risen significantly in light of the poor condition of the building. With that estimate Mr. McCracken said he will be able to make a recommendation, probably this fall, to his superiors on a path forward. He said a decision must be made on the historic preservation of K-25 by March 2009.

·    Recommendation 169: Recommendation Supporting an Oral History Program for the ORR – Mr. McCracken said he will act as the ‘champion’ in developing an oral history program for the ORR. He said he will coordinate his efforts with his counterparts at the Y-12 National Security Complex and the Oak Ridge Office of Science and Technical Information. Once he gets cooperation with those individuals he will respond to the recommendation saying he is the ‘champion’ to promote and help coordinate the program.

·    Recommendation 170: Recommendation on the Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study for ETTP – A response is being crafted but DOE is coordinating a response to each recommendation point with the regulators since they are closely involved in the approval of the document. 


John Owsley – Concerning the dispute Mr. McCracken referenced, Mr. Owsley said TDEC and EPA have worked out a proposal to resolve the dispute, but the proposal has not yet been presented to DOE. The language in the proposal was agreed to at the staff level on July 7 and the next step will be for the TDEC and EPA senior management to transmit the proposal to DOE-ORO management. He said the dispute must be resolved, extended, or elevated to the next level by July 16. Mr. Owsley was confident the dispute would be resolved by that time.


Carl Froede (substituting for Connie Jones) – no comments.


Public Comment

Mr. Mulvenon welcomed the new members to board and said they will have an impact on work on the ORR. He pointed out again the existence of other groups that are involved in environmental issues in the Oak Ridge Community.


Announcements ad Other Board Business

ORSSAB will meet for its annual planning retreat and business meeting on Saturday, August 9, at the Whitestone Country Inn near Kingston, Tenn. The retreat will be from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., followed by the August business meeting from 4 to 4:30 p.m. Board officers for FY 2009 will be elected during the business meeting.


Mr. McCracken introduced new board members Betty Jones, Edward Juarez, and Maggie Owen.


The minutes of the June 11, 2008 meeting were approved.


The Nominating Committee proposed a slate of candidates for FY 2009 board officers. They are: Steve Dixon, chair; Ted Lundy, vice-chair; John Coffman, secretary.


The Recommendation on the Waste Information Management System (Attachment 2) was approved.


The Recommendation on Lessons Learned from Efforts to Preserve the North Tower of the K-25 Building for Historic Purposes (Attachment 3) was approved with the following revisions:

·   The title of the recommendation was changed to “Recommendation to the Department of Energy-Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management on Lessons Learned from Efforts to Preserve the North Tower of the K-25 Building for Historic Purposes.”

·   The last paragraph of the Discussion section was revised to read: ‘In an attempt to prevent the loss of other buildings within the Environmental Management scope on the ORR with historical significance because of neglect, the following recommendations have been developed.’

·   The fifth recommendation point was revised to read: ‘DOE should seek feasible exemptions for historic structures from the current International Building Code at the appropriate time’


Committee Reports

Board Finance & Process – Mr. Lundy reported that the committee approved expenditures to videotape the risk training workshop scheduled for July 15. The committee reviewed May and June expenses and transferred some funds to balance accounts.


In order to take advantage of sales tax exemptions for purchases by the board, those purchases must be handled through the Federal Coordinator (Pat Halsey).


The ORSSAB budget for FY 2009 is expected to be $400,000.


The committee will not meet in July.


EM – The committee heard a report on newly generated waste on the ORR. Management of newly generated waste is going back to being the responsibility of the generators and not DOE-EM. There was a concern that a backlog of waste could begin to build up. There was also a concern that since waste management was moving from the scope of EM there could be little or no oversight by ORSSAB for waste management. A third concern was that the generators would feel little responsibility to the public on proper waste management.


The committee will likely bring a recommendation to the board concerning IFDP, which is a companion recommendation to the one passed at this meeting on lessons learned at K-25.


At the July meeting the committee will hear an update on decontamination and decommissioning activities at K-25.


Public Outreach – Mr. Westervelt reported that Mr. Bass will be giving a presentation on ORSSAB to the Community Reuse Organization of East Tennessee on July 29. He said Mr. Bass has had contact with the Roane County Emergency Planning Committee and is optimistic a presentation will be made to that group. Mr. Stow will be giving a presentation on August 1 to the East Tennessee Economic Council. Staff continues to contact other civic groups for possible presentations.


The next meeting will be by teleconference on Tuesday, July 22.


Stewardship – Mr. Bonner reported that the committee approved the Recommendation on Lessons Learned from Efforts to Preserve the North Tower of the K-25 Building for Historic Purposes, which was also approved by the board at this meeting to send to DOE. The committee received a revised version of the Long-term Stewardship Directive. Committee members are reviewing the document and will provide comments at the August meeting. The annotated outline for the annual Remediation Effectiveness Report was also provided. Comments on the outline were requested by the end of June. Some committee members provided informal comments to DOE on the outline.


The Stewardship Committee will not meet in July as a risk training workshop will be held at the committee’s normal meeting time on Tuesday, July 15 at 5: 30 p.m.


The Stewardship Video Subcommittee will meet Friday, July 11 at noon at the DOEIC. Mr. Bonner said the subcommittee held its first meeting in June and discussed budget and a general outline for the video.


Executive – Mr. Dixon reported that a Federal Facilities Agreement workshop is being planned and one or two ORSSAB members may be invited to attend.


Mr. Martin reported on a briefing held to explain a proposal to ship remote-handled transuranic (RH TRU) waste in lead-line containers to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in New Mexico. Shipping the RH TRU in lead-line canisters would allow the waste to be handled as contact-handled (CH) TRU, which according to the proposal would be more expedient and cost-effective. Mr. Martin, however, said he didn’t think there was much ORSSAB could do at this point to expedite the proposal. Mr. Myrick said the EM committee will discuss the proposal more at its meeting on July 16.


Nominating – Mr. Westervelt said the Nominating Committee has proposed a slate of nominees for FY 2009 board officers. They are: Steve Dixon, chair; Ted Lundy, vice-chair; John Coffman, secretary. The new officers will be elected during the business meeting of the board on August 9. Additional nominations may be taken at that time. New officers will assume duties immediately following the meeting.


Oral History – Mr. Stow was not present during committee reports, but Mr. Dixon said the Oral History Steering Committee continues to work with the Center for Oak Ridge Oral History and is seeking additional funding to support the program.


Federal Coordinator Report

Mr. Adler reported for Pat Halsey. He said Darrell Akins has been nominated to join the board and his appointment is working its way through DOE headquarters.


A WIPP road show will be held on Monday, July 14, from 8-10 a.m. at the American Museum of Science and Energy. This exhibit will show RH and CH TRU waste are packaged for shipment to WIPP.


Additions to the Agenda





Mr. Bass moved to approve the agenda. Mr. Mead seconded and the motion passed unanimously.



Mr. Lundy moved to approve the minutes of the June 11, 2008 meeting. Mr. Mead seconded and the motion passed unanimously.



Mr. Bonner moved to approve the Recommendation on Lessons Learned from Efforts to Preserve the North Tower of the K-25 Building for Historic Purposes. Mr. Olson seconded. During discussion the recommendation was revised (see above in Announcements and Other Board Business) and the motion passed, with revisions, with 14 voting for, one against (Mr. Bass), and one abstention (Mr. Jensen).



Mr. Myrick moved to approve the Recommendation on the Waste Management Information System. Mr. Olson seconded and the motion passed unanimously.


The meeting adjourned at 8:35 p.m.


Action Items


  1. Mr. McCracken will provide details of the additional budget expected to be allocated to DOE-ORO for FY 2009.
  2. Ms. Halsey will check on the status of Recommendation 154 with Melissa Nielson at DOE Headquarters. Status. Vince Adams is now the contact at DOE Headquarters for long-term stewardship. A request has been made for a letter outlining his roles and responsibilities.
  3. Mr. Adler and Mr. Darby will determine the amount of curies measured in Bear Creek Valley.
  4. Mr. McCracken will check on the status of land record notices and deed restrictions in Melton Valley being filed with the Roane County Register of Deeds.


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