Many Voices Working for the Community
Approved May 13, 2009 Meeting Minutes
The Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board (ORSSAB) held its monthly meeting on Wednesday, May 13, 2009, 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.
Steve Dixon - Chair
Ted Lundy - Vice-chair
John Coffman - Secretary
Deputy Designated Federal Officer (DDFO), Liaisons, and Federal Coordinator Present
Dave Adler, Liaison, Department of Energy – Oak Ridge Office (DOE-ORO)
Pat Halsey, DOE-ORO Federal Coordinator
Connie Jones, Liaison, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 4
Steve McCracken, DDFO, DOE-ORO Assistant Manager for Environmental Management (EM)
John Owsley, Liaison, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC)
Susan Gawarecki, Local Oversight Committee (LOC)
Spencer Gross, Spectrum
J.T. Howell, DOE-ORO
John Krueger, B&W Y-12
Norman Mulvenon, LOC Citizens’ Advisory Panel
Pete Osborne, Spectrum
Twelve members of the public were present.
Deputy Designated Federal Officer and Liaison Comments
Steve McCracken – Mr. McCracken introduced Mr. Pratt and Ms. Sherrill as the new student representatives to the board.
The consulting parties to the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for Site Interpretation at East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP) met on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 5 and 6. At that meeting Mr. McCracken advised the group that DOE has determined that it is not feasible to save the North Tower of the K-25 Gaseous Diffusion Building for historic purposes. He said it was too costly and dangerous to try to restore the North Tower to the requirements stipulated in the MOA and was much less costly to build an interpretive center instead. Mr. McCracken said DOE will be issuing a letter to the consulting parties explaining DOE’s position that the North Tower should be demolished and an interpretive center explaining the history of K-25 be built at the site. The current MOA will either be amended or terminated and a new one developed.
Mr. Tewes asked if there was going to be any historical preservation explaining the work done to develop the barrier used in the gaseous diffusion process to separate uranium-235 from uranium-238. Mr. McCracken said while an explanation of the barrier and how it was made, which remains classified information, may not be displayed to the public it is still important that the information be preserved. He said that information probably has been captured through oral histories or documents, but he said he will make sure that information is preserved, perhaps even stipulating that in a new MOA.
Mr. Martin asked for comment about two evacuations from ETTP and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Mr. McCracken said during excavation of the classified burial grounds at ETTP a drum containing methyl mercaptan, known as ‘skunk oil,’ was punctured releasing a strong natural gas odor. As a precaution the site was evacuated until it was determined what the source of the odor was.
Mr. McCracken said another evacuation took place at ORNL recently where a pressure relief valve failed to operate properly within a ‘hot cell’ causing radiation monitors to activate. Neither instance was serious nor were there any injuries. He said he had heard and read of criticisms of perhaps overreacting to such situations, but he said under-reacting is never an option.
Mr. Bonner asked if soil and groundwater issues have been addressed related to constructing a building in the area of 4500 North at ORNL. Mr. McCracken said there was a burial ground that had been remediated at one time near the building site and the footprint of the proposed building is outside of the area of the burial ground. The building site will be surveyed for contamination and remedial actions will be taken if needed. Mr. Owsley said sufficient data has been collected to make a decision regarding the soil under the building. He said TDEC is encouraging DOE to make any decision soon. The area to the north indentified as a site for a parking structure is over the former burial ground, but the soil has not yet been characterized. He said again TDEC is encouraging DOE to characterize the site prior to any construction start. He pointed out that the area is on an active DOE facility and DOE can build a structure on the site without a decision, but it doesn’t negate the need for a decision at some future date. Mr. Mezga said ORNL did coordinate with EM during the siting process for the building to make sure buffer zone requirements were in place and characterization of the soil was done as Mr. Owsley said.
Dave Adler – no comments.
Connie Jones – no comments.
John Owsley – no comments.
Mr. Mulvenon asked the board members to listen carefully to Mr. Howell’s presentation and said it is the responsibility of the board and the public to make sure the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding identified for cleanup work on the Oak Ridge Reservation is being used for its intended purpose.
Mr. Tewes said Oak Ridge is on the verge of losing some of the early Manhattan Engineer District history. He suggested that with money available from ARRA DOE should seriously consider hiring professional historians to collect available information and interview those still living who worked in Oak Ridge to properly document personal accounts of the Oak Ridge role in the Manhattan Project.
Mr. Howell’s presentation was on ARRA funding received by the DOE-ORO EM. He said DOE-ORO EM has received about $604 million of $755 million earmarked for Oak Ridge. The money must be committed by the end of September 2009 and be spent by the end of September 2011. If the $604 million is used in a timely and efficient manner the balance of the $755 million will be provided to DOE-ORO.
Twenty four projects have been identified across the reservation (Attachment 1, page 5). The money is to be divided among four areas: $337 million for Y-12 National Security Complex; $230 million for ORNL; $118 million for ETTP; and $80 million for the Transuranic (TRU) Waste Processing Center. The work is being implemented on an accelerated schedule under existing decision documents.
Mr. Howell discussed in more detail work to be done at each site. At ETTP, the project is to prepare the K-27 Building for demolition (Attachment 1, page 6).
At the TRU Waste Processing Center the schedule is to be accelerated by one year and multiple shifts will be added to process both contact- and remote-handled TRU waste.
Work at ORNL is divided over four categories: building demolition, legacy materials removal, contaminated soil removal, and groundwater actions. Specific projects are noted on page 8 of Attachment 1. Mr. Howell showed a map and photos of areas to be remediated (Attachment 1, pages 9-22).
The scope of work to be done at Y-12 is noted on page 23 of Attachment 1. A map and photos of the projects are on pages 24-32 of Attachment 1.
Additional information about ARRA can be accessed through http://www.recovery.gov/.
After Mr. Howell’s presentation a number of questions were asked. Following are abridged questions and answers.
Mr. Westervelt – What kind of confidence levels do you have that expansion of the landfills will meet the volume needed to handle the waste? Mr. Howell – We are very confident about the sanitary landfill (on Chestnut Ridge near Y-12). Based on current projections we’re going to have cells 1-4 at the CERCLA (Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act) Waste Facility filled sometime next summer. That’s why we need to expand and open cell 5. At some point we’re going to have to build another landfill somewhere to handle waste from the Integrated Facility Disposition Program (IFDP) because we’re estimating about 4.5 million cubic yards of material being generated from that multi-year project. We can only handle about half of that in the CERCLA Waste Facility when it’s expanded to full capacity.
Mr. Juarez – Could you talk about overall schedules and if there any incentives or penalties for meeting or missing the schedules? Mr. Howell – All of the projects we are proposing will be done on or before the end of September 2011. EM headquarters has told us that sites that are underperforming will lose money. Sites that are over-performing have the possibility of getting more money. We’re putting together now what we call two-pagers, projects that we’re sending to headquarters to get approved in case we get more money.
Mr. Bonner – The EM SSAB Chairs had requested previously information on quarterly project reviews (QPRs). That request was declined. Your slide [on page 33 of Attachment 1] says the SSABs can request project status information every six months. I don’t see that as adequate. If the board is going to follow this and provide any kind of feedback six months is not responsive enough. The QPRs are a prime example of how that information could be used to support review in following this work. Mr. McCracken – We’ll be happy to speak to the status of this work as frequently as the board would like. In my monthly comments I’ll hit on the high points, but if there is something more the board wants we’ll try to provide it. We have declined in providing the QPRs, because putting them together is a painful process. We bare our souls and discuss all of our problems. We’re afraid that if we allow this information to be disseminated it will stifle the process. I’m afraid it would cause us to provide a version that doesn’t get nearly as descriptive as it needs to be internally to really manage this work, know where the problems are and try to fix them. Mr. Dixon – Didn’t you agree to provide a summary of the QPRs on some level? Mr. McCracken – I’m willing to provide a summary of where we are with things. I’m not sure what form I’m willing to do that because having another report to provide every month is difficult. We’re going to have to provide many reports to headquarters on what we’re doing; in fact we’re already providing reports on projects we haven’t started yet.
Mr. Bonner – There is an outstanding recommendation to DOE-ORO on facilities maintenance related to IFDP (Recommendation 175: Recommendation on the Integrated Facility Disposition Project). What is the status of that recommendation? Mr. Howell – Some of the facilities covered under IFDP are owned by EM. Others are owned by the Office of Science and the National Nuclear Security Administration. We cannot speak for those facilities, but we have asked them to provide us an answer to your recommendation for those facilities. Mr. McCracken – There are two parts to that recommendation that need to be addressed. One, are we doing enough surveillance and maintenance of those facilities to ensure that we don’t have another Building 3026 or K-25 on our hands? With the ARRA funding it gives us an opportunity to go after those things that were getting ahead of us as far as deterioration goes. I still worry if we are staying ahead of demolition and surveillance and maintenance to avoid these problems, and I owe the board an answer on what we will do about that. The other thing is, are we making sure we’re not letting facilities deteriorate that might be important from an historical perspective? During the consulting parties meeting held on May 6, we kicked off the process at Y-12 and ORNL from an historical preservation perspective. What we need to do fairly early in that process is zero in on those facilities and structures we think are important and apply our attention to those so we don’t end up with a situation like K-25 and then your alternatives are limited. So, I’m working on an answer to your recommendation.
Mr. Mead – I work in production facilities at Y-12.and I work with operations managers daily. These managers have budgets to maintain the buildings where they work. They have to make decisions on what work is going to be done and what will not be done. Some of the work that needs to be done to maintain the building in a safe condition like putting on a new roof can be very expensive. When the managers know their building is scheduled for demolition but they are trying to keep the building operating in the meantime and the most important thing is the product going out the door, they’re less likely to have the roof fixed than to have their glove boxes repaired to continue to make the product they are required to make.
Mr. Mezga – I can’t speak for Y-12, but all of the buildings at ORNL are either Office of Science or EM facilities. For Science all of those facilities except five are currently excess and are not operating facilities. The Office of Science funds a surveillance and maintenance program to maintain the condition of those facilities including putting new roofs on them when we have to, which we did on two of them not long ago, including one scheduled for tear down under ARRA. A roof is probably the biggest single maintenance item for an excess facility to keep water out of the building. Once water gets in you have all sorts of problems with structural integrity, asbestos material starting to deteriorate and falling, and radiation contaminated duct work falling.
Mr. Bonner – You mentioned at the beginning of your presentation that you had $755 million of ARRA funding. Is that what you actually have in hand or can potentially receive? Mr. McCracken – We have received 80 percent of that. We have to earn the other 20 percent like Mr. Howell was talking about. Mr. Howell – If we’re doing well we could receive another 10 percent, which would give us another $75 million.
Ms. C. Jones – First I have a comment. Slide 2 (of Attachment 1) shows the ARRA scope of work that includes time critical removal actions. There is an exception and that being K-27 has already been defined by documents accepted under the Accelerated Closure Plan as a non-time critical removal action. My question is related to K-27. On slide 6 you have the statement that it will be fully prepared for building demolition activities. Is the documentation included in the demolition ready status as opposed to removing high-risk equipment, and is there a distinction between having the building demolition ready as opposed to shovel ready? I’ve heard the term ‘shovel ready’ and the information I have is that ‘shovel ready’ means ready to implement the work within 120 days of receiving funding. Mr. Howell – Shovel ready means we have these projects ready so we can go in and start doing this work within 120 days. In the context of K-27 it is to go in and remove high risk equipment. Ms. Jones – To remove high risk equipment only? Because there are still characterization activities beyond that that need to occur. Then there are associated regulatory documents that need to be prepared and approved. Mr. Howell – Correct. Mr. Martin – Will there be an executive summary of the projects covered under ARRA that can be shared with the board? Mr. Howell – Project operating plans will be posted on the website (http://www.recovery.gov/, look under Investments, by Agency, and see link to DOE). These plans have very high-level milestones. I don’t know that have been posted yet, because I heard those plans had not been approved. Mr. McCracken – I think they intend to populate that website with milestones and have us report against them. It may be that what you’re looking for will be on the website.
Ms. Mei – There are a number of buildings that will be demolished at ORNL in the next two years. There are buildings adjacent to those that have a lot of people working in them. Are measures taken to protect those people still working in those buildings included in this scope? Mr. Howell – Safety is a top priority. When you look at the central campus of ORNL and all the work going on there safety is a concern. By coordinating with all the contractors we think we can do it. It will have to be a phased approach. I don’t anticipate the contractors coming in and starting work on all the buildings at the same time.
Ms. C. Jones – The primary focus of this ARRA activity is demolition of buildings. In developing the contractual support needs for the project is the emphasis on laboratory and analytical support or primarily implementing the physical work? Mr. Howell – We will be using Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education to help us do some of the characterization. Mr. McCracken – We already have Oak Ridge Associated Universities cued up to get waste profiles and waste handling plans done ahead of awarding contracts. They will be in these facilities in the central campus and compiling the data that are needed to present to the [Federal Facility Agreement (FFA)] core teams, so we’re not waiting on the contractors to come on board to do that. From a dollar standpoint it’s a small thing, but it’s a big thing from the standpoint of this work being successful. Ms. Jones – That leads me to another point about the full cooperation among the regulatory parties; cooperation versus participation and the full extent of engagement. So we don’t expect too much to change except the work is being accelerated
Mr. Dixon – One of things we are charged with as a board is providing input on the DOE-ORO EM budget. This infusion of ARRA money changes your long-range plans for IFDP. Will you be redrafting the budget for IFDP and how can we help with that? Mr. McCracken – You’re right. What used to be IFDP just got moved up. So we need to start talking about what will be done in 2012 and beyond. Mr. Howell – We got approval for the critical decision (CD) 1 for IFDP in November 2008. We started putting together the CD 2/3 package or the first phase of the work, which is developing baselines. We are looking at all the IFDP work in basically five-year increments, which is how we think we can best establish performance baselines. Our goal was to have the CD 2/3 package completed by the end of the calendar year. ARRA comes along and has slowed down our efforts to complete the CD 2/3 because ARRA pulls in some of the projects we had identified for the first five years of IFDP. Now we have to regroup and decide what we’re going to put in the first five years of IFDP. Mr. McCracken – We slowed down on CD 2 because we couldn’t do CD 2 and ARRA at the same time. We’re going to get back to that process in the September timeframe. Let’s get it on the calendar to discuss it with the board in August or September what we plan to do in 2012-17.
Mr. Owsley – Appendix J of the FFA establishes a set of planning milestones for the completion of cleanup on the Oak Ridge Reservation. That planning was based on a steady level of work. We are more than willing to have part of that work accelerated to take advantage of ARRA funding, but that leaves holes in the out-year planning and we need to fill those holes. It’s very important that they make environmental as well as logistical sense. It’s also important from the state’s perspective that we maintain that level of effort that was planned prior to stimulus funding.
Mr. Bonner – Where will ARRA generated waste at the end of September 2011 put the capacity of the CERCLA Waste Facility? Mr. Howell – We’re working on those capacity figures now. We do know that with the expansion of cell 5 we will have enough capacity to deal with it. We will have more than enough capacity to deal with ARRA and baseline work. The plan is to ultimately expand the waste facility to its design capacity of about 2.2 million cubic yards. Mr. McCracken – But we cannot expand the cell to that capacity without the necessary decision-making that will allow us to do that. Mr. Owsley – It is the state’s position that there is a significant amount of waste disposal capacity that can be used for cleanup provided DOE characterize and segregate waste sufficiently so that clean waste, which is most of the demolition waste, can go to the Y-12 landfill (on Chestnut Ridge) and waste material that meets the waste acceptance criteria for the CERCLA Waste Facility goes there and that high-activity, low-volume waste that would normally be diluted with clean building rubble be shipped out west. The position that DOE is planning to expand the current facility beyond the record of decision and to consider another CERCLA disposal facility is predicated by having a discussion about how much characterization and segregation is needed for the efficient use of the current waste disposal capacity. Mr. Krueger – At Y-12 at the biology complex we’re looking at sending as much of the debris as we possibly can to the sanitary landfill on Chestnut Ridge. If we have to we would excise those pieces that would have to go to the CERCLA Waste Facility and send the rest out west. That’s the approach we’re taking with the low-contaminated facilities that we’re targeting under ARRA.
Ms. C. Jones – The earliest decontamination and decommissioning projects at ETTP had opportunities for waste minimization/waste reduction, not just waste segregation. Has waste minimization/waste reduction and/or green remediation been considered and factored into these projects, because that’s where EPA is going – minimization/reduction and recycling where possible. Mr. Howell – It is being considered.
Ms. Gawarecki – Wasn’t the contract for the TRU Waste Processing Facility rebid? What is the status? Mr. McCracken – A winner has not been selected yet. It will be at least two or three months before we know. Ms. Gawarecki – Is there any concern about changing contractors with two shifts going and the new funding coming in? Mr. Howell – No. One reason the contract hasn’t been awarded is the request for proposal was modified when we found out we were getting this money. Ms. Gawarecki – Are indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contractors local contractors or are they somehow qualified on a national basis to do DOE work? Mr. Howell – I don’t know that they are local contractors. They have been pre-certified by the Consolidated Business Center in Cincinnati. They very well could have some local partners, because some of these are teaming arrangements. If you’re wondering about the hiring of local people, B&W Y-12, Bechtel Jacobs, Co., and UT Battelle are subcontracting quite a bit of work and they are using a lot of local contractors. Ms. Gawarecki – It’s going to be difficult for anyone to know where to submit a résumé because so much of the work is going to be done by yet unnamed subcontractors. I suggest as part of managing the ARRA program that DOE establish an employment center that would collect résumés from people in the region interested in working here. That pool could be made available to bidders or subcontractors who are chosen to do the work. Mr. Howell – I don’t know about DOE doing that but there was an industry day sponsored the East Tennessee Environmental Business Association. All of the contractors gave presentations. DOE had a table where we handed out lists with the names of contractors that we would be going to requesting proposals. Since that time EnergX conducted a job fair, and Y-12 has made tentative offers to a number of people.
Ms. Gawarecki – The FY 2010 budget has been announced and EM’s budget is down about 20 percent from FY 2009. How is this going to affect the rest of EM’s work that is not part of ARRA? Mr. McCracken – We knew what was coming in the FY 2010 budget and were able to adjust ARRA funding to accommodate that so there wouldn’t be loss of any FFA milestones. As far as FY 2011 and beyond, we use the five-year planning numbers that we have, so if those changed we might has some problems, but we’re OK for FY 2010.
Ms. Gawarecki – Since all the work is finished at the David Witherspoon site in South Knoxville, except for some documentation, it would be nice if DOE had some kind of party for the folks in that area like you’ve done in the past on other big projects. Mr. McCracken – I hadn’t thought about anything for the people in the area, but we did have something for the workers.
Announcements and Other Board Business
ORSSAB will have its next meeting on Wednesday, June 10 at 6 p.m. at the DOE Information Center, 475 Oak Ridge Turnpike, Oak Ridge, Tenn. The presentation topic will be on the Consortium for Risk Evaluation with Stakeholder Participation.
The minutes of the April 8, 2009 meeting were approved.
New student representatives Josh Pratt of Hardin Valley Academy and Sidney Sherrill of Oak Ridge High School were introduced.
Board Finance & Process – Mr. Juarez reported the committee met on April 23 and determined that board expenses are within budget.
He reminded the board that the annual retreat is set for August 29 at RT Lodge in Maryville.
He said the committee reviewed its work plan and is meeting its goals.
EM – Mr. Murphree reported that the committee heard a report at its April 15 meeting on the operation and future of the CERCLA Waste Facility. At the May 20 meeting, the committee will review a draft recommendation on the expansion of the waste facility as well as sorting and segregating of wastes to go in the facility.
The committee will hear a briefing on hydrofracture well monitoring and monitoring wells on the west side of the Clinch River at its May meeting. The committee will also get an update on the status of remediation of Trench 13 in Melton Valley.
Public Outreach – Members of the board participated in the Earth Day celebration on April 25 by staffing an ORSSAB display table at the event. A number of stakeholder surveys were distributed. The survey has been revised to be more user-friendly. The committee will discuss how to achieve a broader distribution of the survey at its May meeting.
Mr. Westervelt said he and other committee members have been meeting with editors of local newspapers. The editors have suggested providing guest editorials on the work of the board and DOE’s cleanup efforts. The first editorial has been submitted to the Oak Ridger, the Oak Ridge Observer, and the Clinton Courier. The Observer and the Courier have printed the column. Mr. Westervelt said the goal is to provide an editorial to the papers quarterly.
The next committee meeting will be held by teleconference on May 26.
Stewardship – Ms. Sarten said the committee heard a report on the 2009 Remediation Effectiveness Report at its April meeting. Lynn Sims with Bechtel Jacobs, Co. discussed the effects of groundwater remediation and long-term stewardship implementation and verification. Any comments on the report are due by June 29.
The committee heard a report on the planning of a Stewardship Workshop to be held later in the year. Money to fund that project will be moved from the line item for a Teacher’s Workshop on the Stewardship Education Resource Kit.
The next meeting will be on May 19. The main topic will be on the status of the Stewardship Implementation Plan and an update on the planning for the Stewardship Workshop.
Executive Committee – Mr. Dixon reported that the committee met on April 23 and accomplished all scheduled work items. He referred members to the meeting minutes for more details.
Mr. Stow reported on the status of the Center for Oak Ridge Oral History. He said the Oak Ridge Public Library, which is managing the project, is in the process of hiring a part-time employee to help launch the program. A large number of applications have been received for the position.
He said he will be talking soon with library director Kathy McNeilly about doing interviews with people having knowledge of classified information so that information is not lost and perhaps be available at some future date. Ms. Halsey added that the center will have a booth at the upcoming Secret City Festival June 19-20. She said people can sign up to be interviewed for the oral history program. She said the program has received the grant money from DOE-ORO for start-up expenses. The process to contract with a producer to record oral histories will begin soon.
Federal Coordinator Report
Ms. Halsey reviewed the status of outstanding recommendations. Five of the recommendations are related to historic preservation or surveillance and maintenance of buildings that could possibly have historical significance. She said a single response letter is being developed to address all of those recommendations. The letter should be available by the June meeting.
Recommendation 178: Recommendations on the FY 2011 DOE-Oak Ridge Environmental Program Budget Request has been sent to DOE EM headquarters as part of the DOE-ORO EM 2011 budget request. She said she would check to see if headquarters will provide a formal response to the recommendation.
Ms. Halsey said the ORSSAB support contract is scheduled to end on May 15. A new contractor is not yet in place, so a one month extension will be provided to Spectrum, Inc., the current ORSSAB support contractor. Ms. Halsey will advise the board when a new contractor has been selected.
Mr. Murphree asked about the status of a facilitator for the board retreat under a new contractor. Ms. Halsey said when the new contractor is in place interviews for a facilitator will begin.
Additions to the Agenda
Mr. Mead moved to approve the agenda. Mr. Stow seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mr. Lundy moved to approve the minutes of the April 8, 2009 meeting. Mr. Olson seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
The meeting adjourned at 8:17 p.m.
Attachments (1) to these minutes are available on request from ORSSAB support office.