Many Voices Working for the Community

Oak Ridge
Site Specific Advisory Board

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Approved June 10, 2009 Meeting Minutes

 

The Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board (ORSSAB) held its monthly meeting on Wednesday, June 10, 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.

 

Members Present

Darrell Akins

Bill Bass

Darryl Bonner

Steve Dixon - Chair

Betty Jones

Ted Lundy - Vice-chair

David Martin

Steve Mead

Gloria Mei

Ron Murphree

Tim Myrick

Robert Olson

Maggie Owen

Sondra Sarten

Sidney Sherrill1

Steve Stow

Kevin Westervelt


Members Absent

John Coffman2 - Secretary

Chuck Jensen2

Edward Juarez

Lance Mezga

Josh Pratt1

 

1Student Representative

2Second consecutive absence

 

Deputy Designated Federal Officer (DDFO) and Liaisons Present

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

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)

 

Others Present

Daniel Axelrod

Spencer Gross, Spectrum

Tonya Johnson, EPA

David Kosson, Consortium for Risk Evaluation with Stakeholder Participation (CRESP)

Pete Osborne, Spectrum

 

Nine members of the public were present.

 

Deputy Designated Federal Officer and Liaison Comments

Steve McCracken – About 80 percent of the $755 million in funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) have been received and DOE is working with contractors to get projects obligated by the end of September 2009.

 

Mr. Martin asked about a central location people could access to determine what companies are hiring for ARRA work. He noted the Y-12 National Security Complex website had a list of contractors doing work there. Mr. McCracken said DOE is working on a similar webpage for Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP). He said he would try to see that webpage is finished and he would share it with the board at the July meeting.

 

Dave Adler – The ponds remediation project at ETTP is underway and going well. The ponds have been drained, new fill has been brought in, and the current fish population has been removed. The ponds will be re-contoured, new vegetation planted, and new fish will be introduced.

 

The project to stabilize Building 3026 at ORNL is also underway. Interior stabilization measures have been taken to make the building safe for demolition and hot cell manipulators have been removed. Demolition is scheduled within the next two months and the building should be down to slab with only stabilized hot cells remaining by the fall of 2009

 

Trenching has begun to lay water lines on Jones Road on the west side of the Clinch River. Those lines will provide residents in the area with an alternate water supply. DOE will cap private wells and drill new wells to monitor for any contamination leaving Melton Valley and going under the Clinch River to private property along Jones Road. Plans are being finalized with EPA and TDEC on placing the new monitoring wells.

 

Mr. Adler reviewed the status of five outstanding recommendations; four of those recommendations are related to historic preservation (Recommendation on Historic Preservation of K-25 Building at East Tennessee Technology Park; 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; Recommendation on Alternatives to Memorialize the K-25 Building at East Tennessee Technology Park; and Recommendation on the National Historic Preservation Act Implementation at U.S. DOE-ORO) . DOE responded to all four of the historic preservation recommendations in one letter (Attachment 1).

 

Recommendations on the FY 2011 DOE-Oak Ridge Environmental Program Budget Request is in the concurrence process and should be available by the July meeting.

 

Connie Jones – Ms. Jones introduced Tonya Johnson who will be working with Ms. Jones on some special projects.

 

John Owsley – no comments.

 

Public Comment  

Mr. Axelrod presented a concept for a new Oak Ridge Senior Center to be built on stilts over a parking lot south of Jackson Square on Tennessee Avenue. It would house space for DOE and the Oak Ridge Institute for Continued Learning (Attachment 2). He suggested that ORSSAB might want to have an exhibit similar to the one at the American Museum of Science and Energy. The center would have classrooms, and he suggested an interactive display based on the Stewardship Education Resource Kit.

 

Mr. Axelrod also suggested that a list of sites that will require long-term stewardship after cleanup be developed. He provided a handout of material taken from the Stakeholder’s Report on Stewardship regarding funding for stewardship (Attachment 3). Mr. Axelrod was a member of the Stewardship Working Group that developed the report. He said stewardship costs for sites on the Oak Ridge Reservation (ORR) could cost as much as $6 billion. He said that was too expensive and should be much less than that. He suggested the board have two consecutive meetings devoted to stewardship to discuss ‘what are we stewards of,’ cost of stewardship, or stewardship of the various watersheds. Mr. Axelrod said it’s been 10 years since the two Stakeholder Reports on Stewardship were issued, and he thought it would be a good time to take stock of stewardship and what more needs to be done.

 

Presentation

Dr. Kosson provided the presentation on CRESP, which is made up of a broad interdisciplinary group of academic experts across the country that is focused on work used to resolve problems related to environmental restoration.

 

The mission of CRESP is to support safe, effective, credible, risk informed management of existing and future nuclear waste from government and civilian sources (Attachment 4, page 2). To date CRESP has done more than 300 peer review publications of academic literature related to nuclear waste. Dr. Kosson said one position that CRESP was asked to develop was related to what the alternatives would be for high-level waste disposal if Yucca Mountain in Nevada is not approved to receive such wastes.

 

CRESP has four functional modes (Attachment 4, page 3). The first is strategic analysis, which looks holistically across disciplines and time-frames to help resolve problems that DOE faces across the complex, as well as at individual sites. As an example CRESP helped the Savannah River Site analyze its prioritization of waste issues.

 

CRESP also does basic and applied research primarily using graduate and post-doctoral students. Research is used in anticipation of problems that may arise across the DOE complex three to five years away. Research is often a way to provide new insights among the various stakeholders.

 

Education is another of the four functional modes of CRESP. CRESP works with undergraduate and graduate students, as well as providing continuing education opportunities. CRESP is in the process of launching a graduate program as part of an executive master’s degree.

 

The fourth functional mode is independent peer review. Dr. Kosson said any work done by CRESP is put out for review by experts of unquestionable reputation. CRESP also brings in experts to assist with issues that may be beyond the technical expertise of CRESP.

 

To make progress in solving complex issues the cooperation and understanding among the public, DOE, regulators, and decision makers is essential (Attachment 4, page 4). Dr. Kosson said DOE must understand the problem and be willing to engage the other parties involved. The public, stakeholders, and regulators must also understand the problem and their questions must be addressed. They all must have a common understanding of the problems and what is or is not attainable or issues can’t be resolved satisfactorily.

 

CRESP has four objectives (Attachment 4, pages 5 and 6):

·   Contaminant Isolation Systems Performance

·   Life-cycle Risk, Cost and Benefit Analysis to Select Management Options

·   Systems Assessment for Facility Siting and Technology Choices for Future Waste Management Facilities

·   Stakeholder Understanding, Communication and Involvement

 

Dr. Kosson gave examples of the kinds of jobs CRESP does (Attachment 4, page 9-12). They include life-cycle risk analysis of DOE buried waste; a specific example being the Bear Creek Burial Grounds. Another job is ecosystem contaminant uptake and exposure, with fish studies at Oak Ridge as an example. CRESP also looked at major risk factors related to the Integrated Facility Disposition Project in Oak Ridge.

After Dr. Kosson’s presentation a number of questions were asked. Follow are abridged questions and answers.

 

Mr. Lundy – How can ORSSAB interact with CRESP in a way that would be beneficial to ORSSAB? Dr. Kosson – The way we interact with advisory boards is through a dialog. If there are issues that you would bring us to look at we would bring it back to DOE. It has to be a collective understanding. We would try to work with all the various parties involved: the board, DOE, and the regulators to understand and be accepting that CRESP is involved in helping resolve an issue.

 

Mr. Westervelt – We recently visited with a local newspaper editor who had concerns about the incidence of thyroid cancer in people living near ORR. Does your organization have any information related to that? Dr. Kosson – Earlier work included some exposure issues in that area. Also Mike Greenberg with CRESP is nationally known for work on cancer cluster issues. Please provide the editor a copy of the reporter’s handbook and she can follow up with Dr. Greenberg and he can point her to the right people or the right body of information.

 

Mr. Stow – I was interested in the various DOE facilities where you provided support and was struck by the fact that there doesn’t appear to be a lot of relationships going on here in Oak Ridge in light of the fact that a number of CRESP people have Oak Ridge ties. Dr. Kosson – Because there have been strong demands for our expertise from other sites we have not pushed to be involved here and there hasn’t been a strong pull for our services. So relatively speaking we have been a lot less engaged in Oak Ridge than at other sites. There has to be a need and desire for us to be engaged.

 

Mr. Dixon – My question has to do with the prioritization of EM projects nationally and the effect it has on Oak Ridge because some of our concerns here do not fare well in that list. Can you provide any perspective on that? Dr. Kosson – We are not involved as an organization in the formation of the national priorities list. A number of the faculty engaged in CRESP when the ranking process was put together did a number of papers on that. But given that you have a DOE that is working hard to work with you on these issues I’m not sure the national priorities list is the mechanism that makes the most sense to try and work the issue of the priorities on the ORR. However, there are some intrinsic biases built into the ranking system that clearly favor exposure through
drinking water.

 

Mr. Bass – I notice that on your examples of research a couple of them were related to Oak Ridge, specifically the life-cycle risk analysis of waste in Bear Creek Valley. Te other is contaminant uptake exposure through fish. Are the results of the research available and how would the public obtain it? Dr. Kosson – All of our research is available. The Bear Creek Burial Ground evaluation is part of a doctoral dissertation and is currently being dissected into papers for peer review. I can provide on request a compact disc with the dissertation. The fish studies are available through the peer review literature. It is available on the CRESP website (www.CRESP.org) or we can send you copies on request.

 

Mr. Axelrod – In your symposium on Uncertainty in Long-term Planning – Nuclear Waste Management, what do you mean by long-term planning? Dr. Kosson – One of the issues is ‘what should be the time horizon? Should it be it 1,000 years, 10,000, a million?’ A number of different perspectives were considered as part of that –from an ethical perspective, from a practical engineering perspective, and the reliability of the estimates of some of the models given the time frames. Mr. Axelrod – What was the case study for? Dr. Kosson – It was looking at various repositories such as those in Sweden and Canada. (Mr. Axelrod also made a statement regarding risk assessments (Attachment 5).

 

Announcements and Other Board Business

ORSSAB will have its next meeting on Wednesday, July 8 at 6 p.m. at the DOE Information Center, 475 Oak Ridge Turnpike, Oak Ridge, Tenn. The presentation will be on DOE’s CERCLA (Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act) and Other Waste Landfills.

 

The minutes of the May 13, 2009 meeting were approved.

 

Mr. Bass was recognized for his work on the board as he completed his two-year term. He did not seek reappointment.

 

The Recommendation on Providing Information in the DOE Quarterly Project Reviews was approved (Attachment 6).

 

A list of ARRA Projects on the ORR was distributed (Attachment 7).

.

Committee Reports

Board Finance & Process – Ms. B. Jones reported that the committee met on Thursday, May 28. The committee reviewed the FY 2009 cost table. She said that Pat Halsey, ORSSAB Federal Coordinator, noted that staff costs for March were higher than normal because of an error in reporting. Corrected costs are shown the April cost table.

 

Ms. Jones said the committee discussed a request to add $12,000 to the Stewardship Education Subcommittee FY 2010 budget request and reviewed a table of FY 2009 travel opportunities. Ms. Jones said that Ed Juarez, committee chair, asked that the table be distributed quarterly.

 

The committee also reviewed the Recommendation on Providing Information in the DOE Quarterly Project Reviews and DOE EM budget guidance that had been received from DOE Headquarters.

 

The next committee meeting will be Thursday, June 25 at 5 p.m. at the DOE Information Center. 

 

EM – Mr. Murphree reported that the committee heard a presentation at the May meeting on the deep hydrofracture wells in Melton Valley.

 

During the June meeting the committee will hear a report on the stability of material buried in Bear Creek Burial Grounds. The committee will also receive an update on the demolition activities of the K-25 Gaseous Diffusion Building and the ponds remediation project at ETTP.

 

Public Outreach Mr. Westervelt reported that the committee held its May meeting at the offices of the Roane County News. Prior to the meeting the committee met with the editor of the paper.

 

He said the committee’s near-term goal is to provide staffing for the ORSSAB booth at the Secret City Festival in Oak Ridge on Saturday, June 20. The Stakeholder Survey will be provided to as many people as possible.

 

The next meeting will be via teleconference on June 23.

Stewardship – Ms. Sarten reported that the committee heard a report on the status of the DOE-ORO Stewardship Implementation Plan at its May meeting.

 

The committee also heard an update on plans for a stewardship workshop in late October or
early November.

 

The next meeting will be on June 16 and the committee will discuss how to assist TDEC in monitoring applicable or relevant and appropriate requirements and land use controls.

 

Executive Committee – Mr. Dixon said the committee met on May 28 and accomplished all items on its agenda.

 

Mr. Dixon referenced a recommendation generated by the EM SSAB chairs regarding recycling of reusable metals (Attachment 8). He said at this time he, with concurrence of the Executive Committee, has decided not to endorse the recommendation because it doesn’t fully address the problem of recycling metals from the ORR. He said a letter has been written stating the reasons that ORSSAB chooses not to endorse the recommendation (Attachment 9). He asked board members to review the letter prior to the July meeting. Unless a member or members object to his signing the non-endorsement letter, he will sign it after the July meeting and send to all SSAB chairs and to DOE EM headquarters.

 

He announced that a teleconference is being planned from DOE EM Headquarters on soil and groundwater remediation on June 30. He asked staff to forward the information to all board members and encouraged board members to participate if possible.

 

Federal Coordinator Report – no report.

 

Additions to the Agenda

None

 

Motions

6/10/09.1

Mr. Lundy moved to approve the minutes of the May 13, 2009 meeting. Mr. Olson seconded and the motion passed unanimously.  

 

6/10/09.2

Mr. Mead moved to approve the Recommendation on Providing Information in the DOE Quarterly Project Reviews. Mr. Olson seconded and the motion passed with 14 members voting ‘yea’ and two voting ‘nay’ (Messrs. Myrick and Stow).

 

The meeting adjourned at 8:10 p.m.

Action Items

Open

  1. Mr. McCracken will find out how much or what percentage of U-235 has been recovered from the K-25 Building. Carryover from December 10, 2008.
  2. Mr. McCracken will determine the contamination in the hot cells in buildings to be demolished at ORNL. Carryover from the March 11, 2009.
  3. Mr. McCracken will ensure that the description of how gaseous diffusion barrier material was developed will be preserved for historical purposes.
  4. A board meeting topic on establishing new Integrated Facility Disposition Project jobs for the next five years will be scheduled in the August-September time frame.
  5. Ms. Halsey will check to see if DOE Headquarters will provide a written response to Recommendation 178: Recommendations on the FY 2011 DOE-Oak Ridge Environmental Program Budget Request
  6. Ms. Halsey will advise the board when a new support contractor is in place.
  7. Mr. McCracken will bring a sample of the ORNL and ETTP webpages showing contractors who will be hiring for ARRA work.
  8. Staff will forward information on the DOE EM Headquarters teleconference on soil and groundwater remediation to all board members.

 

Attachments (9) to these minutes are available on request from ORSSAB support office.