Many Voices Working for the Community

Oak Ridge
Site Specific Advisory Board

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Approved July 14, 2010 Meeting Minutes

 

The Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board (ORSSAB) held its monthly meeting on Wednesday, July 14, 2010, at the DOE Information Center
 in Oak Ridge, beginning at 6 p.m.

 

Members Present

Darryl Bonner

John Coffman

Steve Dixon

Brianna Goodlin1

Betty Jones

Ted Lundy

David Martin

Steve Mead

Gloria Mei

Lance Mezga

Josh Monroe1

Ron Murphree, Chair

Maggie Owen

Sondra Sarten

Steve Stow

Kevin Westervelt, Vice-chair

 

Members Absent

Bob Hatcher

Charles Jensen

Ed Juarez, Secretary

Bob Olson

 

1Student Representative

 

Deputy Designated Federal Officer (DDFO), Liaisons, and Federal Coordinator Present

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

Fred Butterfield, DOE-ORO Senior Site Program Manager

John Eschenberg, DDFO and DOE-ORO Assistant Manager for Environmental Management (EM)

Pat Halsey, DOE-ORO, ORSSAB Federal Coordinator

Connie Jones, Liaison, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 4

John Owsley, Liaison, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC)

 

Others Present

Daniel Axelrod

Fred Butterfield, DOE-ORO Senior Site Program Manager

Susan Gawarecki, Local Oversight Committee (LOC)

Spencer Gross, MCH, Corp.

Norman Mulvenon, LOC, League of Women Voters

Pete Osborne, IIA

Lorene Sigal

Bill Tewes

 

Nine members of the public were present.

 

Liaison Comments

John Eschenberg – Mr. Eschenberg said Gary Riner, the federal project director for the Uranium 233/Building 3019 Project at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), has been re-assigned temporarily to DOE EM Headquarters as the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Project Management. He will be replaced through an Intergovernmental Personnel Agreement with John Krueger. Mr. Eschenberg said the personnel agreement is used widely throughout the government to put highly qualified people in critical positions quickly.

 

Mr. Eschenberg said a well-respected structural engineer, Lorig Wylie, has done an initial structural assessment for historic preservation on the K-25 Building at East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP).

 

Discussions are continuing among DOE, EPA, and TDEC to resolve a formal dispute related to excess materials removal at the K-27 Building at ETTP.

 

Dave Adler – Mr. Adler expanded on Mr. Eschenberg’s comments about Mr. Wylie’s qualifications to evaluate K-25. He is an expert in evaluating the structural integrity of buildings that have been subjected to earthquakes and has led engineering societies associated with the preservation of buildings. Mr. Adler said he and Mr. Wylie went through the east wing of K-25 recently, and Mr. Wylie concluded that there are areas of the remaining building where structural rehabilitation is plausible, if cost was not a consideration. Mr. Wylie will develop a set of alternatives for preserving at least a remnant of the building for historical purposes. His report is expected this fall. That information will be combined with work being done for broader historical interpretation across the reservation. Mr. Adler said the schedule to make a final determination on historic preservation at K-25 will be delayed a couple of months into late fall or early winter.

 

Mr. Adler reported on the status of outstanding recommendations.

Recommendation: 188: Recommendations and Comments on the LTS Implementation Plan – Mr. Adler said a response will be sent to the board soon saying that most, if not all, of the steps described in the plan will be implemented. The board had recommended that the plan be accepted and put in place by DOE.

 

Recommendation 190: "Bridge" Memorandum of Agreement for Site Interpretation of East Tennessee Technology Park on the Oak Ridge Reservation – Mr. Adler said a number of comments from several organizations have been received. The comments were incorporated into a revised memorandum of agreement and circulated among the signatory parties. He said the revised bridge memorandum has been signed and will be circulated among the consulting parties.

 

Connie Jones – no comments.

 

John Owsley – In addition to the formal dispute resolution process regarding K-27 that Mr. Eschenberg noted, Mr. Owsley said DOE and TDEC have a number of informal dispute resolution discussions ongoing related the Appendices E and J of the Federal Facility Agreement.

 

Public Comment

Mr. Mulvenon said he and Ms. Sigal will be providing the presentation on stewardship of contaminated areas on the Oak Ridge Reservation (ORR) and hoped the board would find it beneficial.

 

Mr. Axelrod provided a number of written comments (Attachment 1) on the draft Stewardship Implementation Plan, DOE/OR/01-2439&D0. Mr. Axelrod said the plan was unacceptable; he


considers it more of an outline than a plan. He said the plan does not provide relevant documentation for each stewardship site on the ORR. He suggested, as he has at previous meetings,

that DOE provide a two-sided 11x17 summary and map of all specific sites. He noted that budget for stewardship is not discussed in the plan.

 

Mr. Tewes reminded the board of the anniversaries of the dropping of the first atomic bombs on Japan in August 1945. He said that was the first time “99 percent of us who were working here at the time knew what we had been doing.” He said the board is paying a great deal of attention to the cleanup of the ORR and hoped it would spend more time preserving the work that had gone on during the Manhattan Project.

 

Ms. Gawarecki thanked DOE for doing additional studies of K-25 for historical preservation.

 

She said the LOC has concerns about the shipping and storage of depleted uranium from the Savannah River Site to Oak Ridge for downblending with uranium-233 (U-233). She said the LOC is concerned about the storage of the oxide form of the depleted uranium at ETTP. She said ETTP is slated for release to the private sector and much work has been done there to clean up the site and to store the uranium there seems to be a reversal of the efforts. Ms. Gawarecki said DOE should reconsider how the depleted uranium should be handled. She suggested that it be sent to Nuclear Fuel Services in Erwin, Tennessee for liquification and be sent to Oak Ridge only when downblending is ready to begin.

 

Mr. Eschenberg said it is very important for DOE to downblend the U-233 at ORNL with the depleted uranium and dispose it at the Nevada Test Site. He said the U-233 is a hazard at the lab that must be dealt with. The goal is to downblend the U-233 on site with the depleted uranium so the ratio of U-233 to U-238 is less than 1 percent, which makes it unusable for weapons and makes it safe from a criticality standpoint. He said he understood the sensitivity of having depleted uranium stored on site.

 

Presentation

Ms. Sigal began her presentation on Long-term Stewardship (LTS) for Contaminated Areas of the Oak Ridge Reservation by offering a definition of stewardship that she said still guides stewardship activities (Attachment 2, page 2).

 

Ms Sigal reviewed a history of stewardship for the ORR. In late 1996 DOE asked ORSSAB to form a group to study the end uses of the contaminated areas of the ORR after cleanup is completed. That group, the End Use Working Group, published its report in 1998. Even prior to issuing the report the group realized that because of technical, financial, and social constraints much of the contamination would have to remain protected in place and an LTS plan would have to be developed. As a result the first stewardship group was formed, which issued a report on stewardship in July 1998. But not all issues related to stewardship were addressed in the first report, particularly related to stewardship requirements in Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) documents. The group was also concerned that there was no opportunity for community input in the CERCLA Five-year Reviews. A second report was published in 1999.

 

Since 1999 the ORSSAB Stewardship Committee has provided input on a number of stewardship related documents (Attachment 2, page 4). Members of the Stewardship Committee also visited SSABs around the country discussing stewardship issues. Members provided presentations to the National Academy of Sciences as well as a number of local organizations. The committee had direct input to DOE as a member of the Stakeholder’s Environmental Management Advisory Board.

 

Ms. Sigal showed a map of the reservation (Attachment 2, page 5) that indicates that most of the reservation has no contamination, and the areas of contamination are confined primarily to the three major industrial areas of the reservation. Despite areas of contamination on the reservation, Ms. Sigal said Oak Ridge is one of the safest areas in the United States. Areas are well monitored and well maintained. ORR has state-of-the-art emergency management and response capabilities.

 

Ms. Sigal reviewed the elements of LTS illustrated on the chart on page 6 of Attachment 2. Regarding authority and funding of stewardship, Ms. Sigal said CERCLA does not provide authority for stewardship and as a result there is no driver for stewardship or funding for it.

 

Ms. Sigal explained the roles of the types of stewards: principal, implementation, and oversight. In the case of Oak Ridge, DOE is the principal steward, which is responsible for carrying out stewardship plans. The implementation stewards are primarily contractors who carry out stewardship requirements, and the oversight stewards are EPA, TDEC, ORSSAB, LOC, and other interested groups and individuals who make sure stewardship activities are carried out and maintained.

 

She reviewed the operations of stewardship and the various controls. Institutional controls are legally binding provisions, such as permits, deed restrictions, and advisories. Physical controls are barriers to areas that could cause harm to individuals, such as fences, gates, signs, etc. Information systems provide data on waste and where it is located. Research is part of stewardship as a way to continually reduce risk and cost and improve performance.

 

Ms. Sigal reviewed the status of remediation on the reservation (Attachment 2, page 7). Remediation studies are mostly complete and stewardship activities are underway in all watersheds. A draft stewardship implementation plan is being reviewed by DOE and the next CERCLA Five-year Review is set for 2011. Site visits for the review are getting underway. Members of ORSSAB will be participating in the site visits.

 

Major issues regarding stewardship, not only in Oak Ridge but across the DOE complex, are noted on pages 8 and 9 of Attachment 2. Of primary concern, according to Ms. Sigal, is that DOE has not developed an LTS strategic plan, policy, or guidance. She said the Office of Legacy Management, only has responsibility for sites that have been closed. The requirements of stewardship for ongoing mission sites like Oak Ridge are different.

 

Other concerns include no liaison for LTS at DOE Headquarters, no landlord participation in LTS planning and implementation for ongoing mission sites; no DOE Headquarters stewardship planning for LTS; and no public input to DOE decision making for stewardship (Attachment 2, page 9).

 

Ms. Sigal said stewardship has to be part of the remediation discussion before remediation even begins. Once remediation is complete where contamination is left in place there must be stewardship plans to ensure remediation steps remain effective. She said LTS requirements must be legally enforceable.

 

A summary of next steps for stewardship are noted on pages 10 and 11 of Attachment 2. Ms. Sigal discussed a list of things the public can do regarding stewardship (Attachment 2, page 12).

 

After Ms. Sigal’s presentation a number of questions were asked. Following are abridged questions and answers.

 

Mr. Mead – Do Anderson and Roane County have any involvement in stewardship? Mr. Mulvenon – Only to the extent that they record any deed restrictions on property with contamination in property transfers. That system is in place at the county level but there is no guarantee that the information will get to the state mapping system. We’ve been working with the legislature to try to get that in place.

Mr. Martin – Do we have any estimates for the cost of LTS for the next 100 years? Ms. Sigal – There are some estimates on an annual basis in the Stakeholder’s Report on Stewardship that I referenced earlier, and you could multiply that out, but you would have to account for inflation. Mr. Mulvenon – It would be probably $10-$20 million a year.

 

Mr. Stow- Years ago the Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management did extensive studies on how to use physical barriers to maintain isolation of contaminated areas and how to make sure information systems remain in place thousands of years into the future. I was wondering if you have taken advantage of some of that work. Ms. Sigal – Probably some of that information was used in the Stakeholders’ Reports on Stewardship as part of the background search on what’s out there in terms of LTS. Mr. Stow – That is a good resource that DOE put a lot of money and effort into and we should take advantage of that.

 

Ms. Mei – Is there consensus about how long is considered long-term; is it 100 years, 1000 thousand years? Ms. Sigal – Some of the material degrades in 15 years, some in 300 years, some of it is hazardous basically forever. People would need to discuss what is possible within certain time frames and what is impossible. I don’t think there is one plan that covers it all.

 

Mr. Bonner – Is there the same level of interest in stewardship today as there was when the End Use Working Group and Stewardship Working Group published their reports? Ms. Sigal – People seem to be more interested in short term activities. Back then TDEC told DOE to get people involved in stewardship. DOE put people on it, they put money on it; they gave us everything we asked for. You can’t fault DOE on their support of the group. Plus we had a good facilitator in the process who kept us on track. We were creating something new, but I don’t know if that can ever happen again.

 

Mr. Eschenberg – I think we (DOE) should come back to this group and make a presentation on LTS. There is a lot more going on with LTS than I think most people realize. I’d like to let everyone know how engaged we are and the kind of money we’re spending on these activities. It seems like this issue has not gained any traction at headquarters and my question is why is that? Ms. Sigal – It depends on who is at the top of the EM Program. We had good support for six to eight years. In the last six to eight years there seems to be a lack of interest. DOE had to turn its attention to closed sites and provide long-term care for those sites. Everything the last few years has been devoted to closed sites.

 

Mr. Axelrod – (to Mr. Eschenberg) Do you have the authority to put two people, perhaps part-time, to work exclusively on stewardship in response to what you’re hearing tonight regarding stewardship? Do you have the authority to break out stewardship in your annual budget request? Do have the authority to break out a stewardship component with the new contractor so they are looking at stewardship specifically? Mr. Eschenberg – I’ll take all your comments under consideration. Mr. Axelrod – I look forward to an 11x17 summary of the specific stewardship sites on the ORR and my comments on the implementation plan that I view as an outline rather than a plan.

 

Committee Reports

Board Finance & Process – Mr. Dixon said at its June meeting the committee reviewed the FY 2010 costs table. Board expenses are well within budget. The committee also reviewed the board’s
FY 2011 budget request and the procedures for specially called public meetings.

  

Ms. Owen reported that the planning committee for the annual retreat met on July 9 and settled on the agenda for the retreat, August 21 at the Dancing Bear Lodge in Townsend, Tenn. There will be a Friday evening meeting of about a dozen members who will have an open discussion about the board and how it operates. Any ideas from that meeting will be discussed during the retreat the next day. Ms. Owen reminded board members to fill out the member survey and return to staff by Friday, July 16. She said the meeting facilitator will be calling each member for additional input. Meeting packets with the agenda, directions to the lodge, and other information will be sent prior to the retreat.

 

EM – Mr. Mezga reported that he is now the vice-chair of the committee. At its June meeting the committee heard three presentations. The first was a report on the Tank W-1A removal project at ORNL. The second was a report on Bethel Valley Groundwater early actions at ORNL to improve the containment of contaminated groundwater plumes around Tank W-1A and the 7000 area of the lab. The last report was on the status of the groundwater study underway at ETTP.

 

The committee will meet on July 21 at the DOE Information Center at 5:30 p.m. The committee will hear an update on the U-233/Building 3019 Project at ORNL. It will review FY 2011 accomplishments in preparation for the annual retreat and will develop suggestions for top three issues from Oak Ridge for the EM SSAB Fall Chairs’ meeting in September in Santa Fe, N.M.

 

Public Outreach – Ms. Owen reported that the committee met via teleconference on June 22. It reviewed the six-month planning calendar and work plan and discussed a number of outreach opportunities. The committee discussed the possibility of putting the Public Environmental Survey in a format that can be emailed and decided to send a request to all board members for a call for papers for the Waste Management Conference in Phoenix, Ariz., in 2011. The committee also discussed ways to involve the student representatives in public outreach.

 

The committee will meet on July 27 at 5:30 p.m.

 

Stewardship – Mr. Bonner reported that the committee met on June 15 and heard an update on the status of the development of a global information system for DOE Oak Ridge. The committee also discussed proposed changes to Appendix B of the Federal Facility Agreement and possible removal of some parcels of the ORR from the National Priorities List.

 

The committee will meet on July 21 and have an open discussion on educating the public on stewardship. The committee will also review its accomplishments for FY 2010 in preparation for the annual retreat in August. It will also develop suggestions for top three issues for Oak Ridge to be presented at the EM SSAB Fall Chairs’ meeting.

 

Executive – Mr. Murphree said the committee has been busy preparing for the annual retreat and the EM SSAB Fall Chairs’ meeting. He said he has been invited to speak at the Decision Makers’ Forum sponsored by the Weapons Complex Monitor. The meeting in October in Jacksonville, Fla., will feature Inés Triay, DOE Assistant Secretary for EM, Gerald Boyd, DOE-ORO manager, and
Mr. Eschenberg.

 

Mr. Murphree thanked those members of the board who staffed the ORSSAB booth at the recent Secret City Festival in Oak Ridge.

 

Mr. Murphree encouraged board members to participate in the site visits in preparation of the CERCLA Five Year Review (Attachment 3). He asked those wishing to participate to coordinate their visits with staff.

 

Mr. Stow reported that the Center for Oak Ridge Oral History will meet on July 15 at the Oak Ridge Public Library. He noted that ORNL will soon turn over about 40 oral histories that have been collected over the years to the center for archiving.

 

Announcements and Other Board Business

ORSSAB will have its annual planning retreat on Saturday, August 21 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Dancing Bear Lodge in Townsend, Tenn.

 

The minutes of the June 9, 2010, meeting were approved.

 

The board heard a first reading of the revision to the ORSSAB Bylaws Operating Instructions for Calling Special Public Meetings (Attachment 4).

 

Ms. B. Jones, Ms. Owen, and Mr. Stow volunteered to serve as members of the Nominating Committee to determine candidates for FY 2011 board officers. Mr. Mezga will serve as an alternate.

 

The Recommendation Regarding the Request for Proposals for the East Tennessee Technology Park Contract was approved (Attachment 5).

 

The Recommendations and Comments on the Draft 2010 Remediation Effectiveness Report for the U.S. Department of Energy Oak Ridge Reservation were approved (Attachment 6).

 

The Recommendation on Agenda Topics for the Long-term Surveillance and Maintenance Conference in Grand Junction, Colo., as amended, was approved (Attachment 7).

 

The EM Project Update was distributed (Attachment 8).

 

Federal Coordinator Report

Ms. Halsey said there will not be monthly meeting of ORSSAB in August, only the annual retreat on August 21. Board officers will be elected at the September 8 meeting.

 

A van will be available early Saturday morning, August 21 to take any members to the retreat in Townsend who prefer not to take their own vehicles.

 

Ms. Halsey announced that Darrell Akins has resigned from the board. A new member will be selected by Mr. Eschenberg to replace Mr. Akins.

 

Additions to the Agenda

None


Motions

7/14/10.1

Mr. Stow moved to approve the agenda. Ms. Sarten seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

 

7/14/10.2

Mr. Westervelt moved to approve the minutes of the June 9, 2010, meeting. Mr. Bonner seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

 

7/14/10.3

Mr. Mead moved to approve the Recommendation Regarding the Request for Proposals for the East Tennessee Technology Park Contract. Mr. Dixon seconded and the motion passed unanimously (Attachment 5).

 

7/14/10.4

Mr. Bonner moved to approve Recommendations and Comments on the Draft 2010 Remediation Effectiveness Report for the U.S. Department of Energy Oak Ridge Reservation (Attachment 6). Mr. Martin seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

 

7/14/10.5

Mr. Bonner moved to approve the Recommendation on Agenda Topics for the Long-term Surveillance and Maintenance Conference in Grand Junction, Colo. Mr. Mead seconded. During discussion Mr. Stow offered a revision to the recommendation. The motion as amended passed unanimously (Attachment 7).

 

The meeting adjourned at 8:47 p.m.

 

Action Items

Open

1.    Mr. Adler will determine the cost to remediate the ponds at ETTP and the projected annual LTS costs.

2.    Mr. Eschenberg’s staff will present a program to the board on stewardship activities on the ORR at the September meeting.

 

Attachments (8) to these minutes are available on request from ORSSAB support office.