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Site Specific Advisory Board

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Approved January 11, 2012 Meeting Minutes

 

The Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board (ORSSAB) held its monthly meeting on Wednesday, January 11, 2012, at the DOE Information Center, 475 Oak Ridge Turnpike, Oak Ridge, Tenn., beginning at 6 p.m. A video of the meeting was made and may be viewed by contacting the ORSSAB support offices at (865) 241-4583 or 241-4584. The presentation portion of the video is available on the board’s YouTube site at www.youtube.com/user/ORSSAB/videos.

 

Members Present

Janet Hart

Bob Hatcher

David Hemelright

Howard Holmes

Betty Jones

Ed Juarez, Vice Chair

David Martin

Fay Martin

Scott McKinney

Kasey McMaster1

Gloria Mei

Ron Murphree

Maggie Owen, Chair

Greg Paulus

Amira Sakalla1

Steve Stow

Thomas Valunas

 

Members Absent

Jimmy Bell

Charles Jensen, Secretary

1Student Representative

 

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

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

Susan Cange, DDFO

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

Melyssa Noe, ORSSAB Federal Coordinator, DOE-ORO

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

 

Others Present

Susan Gawarecki

Spencer Gross, ORSSAB Support Office

Brian Henry, DOE

Pete Osborne, ORSSAB Support Office

Bill Tewes

Fourteen members of the public were present.

 

Liaison Comments

Mr. Adler – Mr. Adler said the presentation for the February board meeting will be on the budget request and prioritization process for DOE Oak Ridge Environmental Management (EM) for FY 2014. Alan Stokes will make the presentation. Mr. Adler encouraged members of the board to participate in the EM Budget & Prioritization Committee, which will provide input to DOE Oak Ridge on its budget request to DOE headquarters.

Mr. Adler distributed the responses to two outstanding recommendations: Recommendation 203 on the Uranium-233 Project Re-Examination (Attachment 1) and Recommendation 207 to Automate the Stewardship Verification System for the Remediation Effectiveness Report (Attachment 2). Mr. Adler said DOE basically agreed with both of the recommendations. Ms. Cange reported on the status of the Uranium-233 Project (see below), and Mr. Adler said DOE has taken steps to automate the stewardship tracking process.

 

Ms. Cange – Ms. Cange reported that $420 million has been allocated for the DOE Oak Ridge EM budget for FY 2012. That is about $40 million more than was expected. However, she said there are more control points associated with the money and there is not as much flexibility as to how the money can be spent. She said DOE will meet with representatives of EPA and TDEC near the end of January to go over the budget and discuss the control points and collaborate on what priorities should be given the constraints.

 

As a result of comments received on the proposed mitigation plan for historic preservation at East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP) and the K-25 Building, DOE has made a number of revisions to the plan. Ms. Cange said the signatory parties to a memorandum of agreement (MOA) on historic preservation have been advised of the planned changes. Ms. Cange said she and Mr. Adler met with the state historic preservation officer who provided the state’s expectations for the plan. The revised mitigation plan will be provided to the signatory and consulting parties to the MOA and to the public by the end of January for a 15-day review period. The hope is to have the signatory parties sign off on the new plan by the end of February.

 

Mr. Paulus asked if the cleanup contractor, UCOR, at ETTP had provided a date when a decision must be reached on historic preservation to prevent a slowdown or stoppage of work on the K-25 Building. Ms. Cange said she had a ‘pretty good idea’ of when that is. She said DOE has not given UCOR permission to begin demolition of the North Tower of the K-25 Building, but has given permission for UCOR to begin procurement of necessary materials in anticipation of demolishing the structure.

 

Mr. Stow asked if there will be another signatory and consulting parties meeting. Ms. Cange said that is up to the signatory parties of the MOA. She said DOE believes with improvements to the mitigation plan another meeting should not be necessary. She said, however, the signatory parties will want to see the next round of comments received during the 15-day review period of the revised plan.

 

Mr. Tewes asked when a transcript of the signatory and consulting parties meeting of November 17 will be available. Ms. Cange said when the revised mitigation plan is released information will be made available as to how the transcript of the meeting can be obtained.

 

Shipments have begun for the direct disposition portion of the Uranium-233 Project at Building 3019 at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Shipments began in late December and to date three shipments have been made to the Nevada National Security Site. The first shipments consist of Zero Power Reactor plates to Nevada for future use. When that campaign is completed shipments will focus on the CEUSP (Consolidated Edison Uranium Solidification Project) material for disposal.

 

Mr. Murphree asked what the cost is to dispose of the plates and CEUSP material. Ms. Cange said it was approximately $85 million. She said she would provide a more accurate cost to the board. Ms. Cange said for the second phase of the project, which will require downblending of the remaining material, DOE is considering using existing facilities at ORNL for downblending rather than modifying Building 3019 or building a separate facility for downblending, which was in an earlier plan.

 

Ms. Cange said Tank W-1A in the central campus of the lab was successfully removed on Friday, January 6. Removal of the tank will facilitate the excavation of contaminated soil in the area that has been a problem for a number of years.

 

Ms. C. Jones – Ms. Jones said backfilling activities continue at the K-1070-B burial grounds at ETTP. She said the project is expected to be completed in mid-spring. That project has been underway for about two years that deals with CERCLA (Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act) material and other material of interest.

 

Mr. Owsley – no comments. Mr. Martin asked about a chromium spill at ETTP and if there would be any fines or penalties. Mr. Owsley said not at this time. He explained that the system at ETTP to treat chromium-contaminated water had frozen and allowed about 1,000 gallons of water, containing chromium of about .5 parts per billion, to spill. He said so far none of that water has been determined to have affected any aquatic environment at the site. A bypass to the system allowed water to go directly into the Clinch River, bypassing Poplar Creek. He said that did not cause an environmental issue because of the low concentration. The state has not completed its investigation of the incident, but at this point Mr. Owsley does not foresee any fines or penalties.

 

Ms. Cange said when the water was released it was contained within a paved and bermed area, so there was no widespread release across the site.  

 

Public Comment

Ms. Gawarecki said on January 9 the board of directors of the Local Oversight Committee held a meeting and elected new officers: Oak Ridge Mayor Tom Beehan as chair and Roane County Executive Ron Woody as vice chair. The new officers then put a motion before the committee to dissolve the organization. The motion passed by a vote of 6-4. As a result of the dissolution Ms. Gawarecki is no longer employed as executive director of the organization. She said, however, she plans to remain active in DOE issues as an individual and as a member of ORSSAB committees.

 

Presentation Mr. Henry’s presentation was on “Transforming Oak Ridge through Asset Revitalization – the Oak Ridge Reindustrialization Program at Work.” The main points of his program are in Attachment 3. Mr. Henry began his presentation with the reindustrialization vision and mission (Attachment 3, page 2). He said the vision is updated every five years and the current vision is by 2017 the reindustrialization program will further its position as the model for sustainable innovative reuse of DOE assets. He said the majority of the reindustrialization activities take place at ETTP.

 

Mr. Henry explained how the reindustrialization program began. When the Cold War was coming to a close in the mid-1980s ETTP was shut down. The period of 1989-1996 at ETTP was known as the “Blight Years.” During this time there was no mission at ETTP, seemingly no future, there were areas that were contaminated, and there was high security. Around 1996 DOE began to think about how to turn these liabilities into assets. The Defense Authorization Act of 1993 had a section that established the mechanism for community reuse organizations to be established to help communities affected by DOE downsizing. In Oak Ridge the Community Reuse Organization of East Tennessee (CROET) was established in 1995. DOE and CROET recognized a number of physical and non-physical assets at ETTP (Attachment 3, page 7).

 

From 1996 to 2002 the primary mechanisms for reindustrialization at ETTP were through leases, but bartering arrangements were made as well (Attachment 3, page 8). By leasing facilities at ETTP, CROET was able to generate income to operate and recruit more businesses. DOE benefitted by not having to pay surveillance and maintenance costs and utilities. At the height of leasing activities in 2002 there were about 90 leases in place with 40 companies providing about 400 private-sector jobs.

 

In 2003 the DOE EM Accelerated Cleanup Plan provided a transition mechanism for reindustrialization. In addition legislation gave DOE the ability to transfer ownership of property to the private sector.

 

The photo on page 10 of Attachment 3 shows how the landscape at ETTP has changed since 2002. Most of ETTP that fronts Highway 58 is now under private ownership with public roads and public utilities. Approximately 330,000 square feet of space in about 12 buildings have been transferred to CROET. Five of the properties have been sold to private companies (Attachment 3, page 11). Mr. Henry said the fire station, water treatment plant, and some smaller buildings have been transferred to the City of Oak Ridge.

 

The diagram on page 12 of Attachment 3 indicates areas at ETTP that have been transferred to CROET for development or are planned for eventual transfer. Mr. Henry said land transfers support DOE’s goal of footprint reduction as well as facilitate environmental cleanup. He also said there is additional land available for energy park use, which can be used to support renewable energy projects. In fact, switchgrass has been planted in some areas at ETTP. Switchgrass can be used to make biofuel. A parcel has been sold to a company that is building a 200 kilowatt solar demonstration project. Another company is working with CROET to build a 175 kilowatt solar project that tracks the sun making it more efficient.

 

Mr. Henry said one of the goals for the transferred property on the front of ETTP was to make it as much like the city as possible. That meant transferring utility systems to the City of Oak Ridge. In 2008 the water treatment plant and water and sewer lines were transferred to the city. In 2010 the city received ownership of 1.3 miles of road. Transfer of the electrical distribution system to the city will be completed in 2013 (Attachment 3, page 13).

 

DOE transferred its fire station at ETTP to the City of Oak Ridge in and the City now provides fire protection and emergency services at ETTP. The fire station expanded the city’s fire protection on the west end of the city.

 

Mr. Henry said when cleanup is complete at ETTP the end state of the area is to be a private sector, sustainable business industrial park (Attachment 3, page 15). He said reindustrialization has saved DOE significant amounts of money because transferring buildings precludes having to tear them down. Surveillance and maintenance costs and utility costs are eliminated for leased or transferred buildings. Page 16 of Attachment 3 shows a breakdown of savings: realized, ongoing, and potential. Mr. Henry said DOE has saved about $100 million in realized savings. Ongoing savings from eliminated surveillance and maintenance and services costs total about $6 million a year. Potential savings could approach $60 million.

 

Mr. Henry said the establishment of the Heritage Center, as ETTP is also known, is part of a larger picture of reindustrialization. He said reindustrialization in the center of ORNL has created the Oak Ridge Science and Technology Park. The purpose of the park is to support DOE’s technology transfer mission. It was the first privately developed research and development park within the campus of a DOE national laboratory (Attachment 3, page 19).

 

Another part of reindustrialization is the Horizon Center, which is near the Heritage Center. About 500 acres were transferred to CROET. CROET has recently transferred the undeveloped parcels of the Horizon Center to the Oak Ridge Industrial Development Board, which is responsible for its continued development.

 

Mr. Henry said the key to success of reindustrialization is the partnership strategy (Attachment 3, page 20). DOE has worked with TDEC, EPA, CROET, the City of Oak Ridge and the Oak Ridge Economic Partnership to achieve reindustrialization success.

 

He said one of the biggest challenges in reindustrialization is the different approaches taken by DOE and the private sector (Attachment 3, page 21). For instance, DOE and its contractors work under DOE and nuclear safety requirements. Private industry operates under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration requirements. As far as security goes, DOE has limited access that requires badging. Private industry prefers open access to facilities. As a result it’s been a challenge to have the two entities co-existing at ETTP/Heritage Center.

 

Another reason reindustrialization has been successful, said Mr. Henry, is the ‘perfect storm’ analogy (Attachment 3, page 22). He said many things came to together at the right time to make the program successful, beginning with the accelerated cleanup program and the plans for the reindustrialization effort.

 

Mr. Henry noted a list of lessons learned (Attachment 3, page 23), the most significant being that reindustrialization can occur in parallel with cleanup, and the key to that is establishing partnerships and lines of communication early and maintaining them throughout the process.

 

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

 

Mr. PaulusThis morning’s Knoxville paper mentioned something about another car company coming to Chattanooga.  How are you marketing what is here and how it can be used? Mr. Henry – When Volkswagen came to Chattanooga one of their requirements is that a tier one supplier has to be located within 75 miles of the plant. We are within that range, so a tier one supplier could locate at ETTP. DOE doesn’t necessarily do the marketing but we work with CROET and the Oak Ridge Economic Partnership. We have regular meetings with them called the Economic Development Working Group, and we look at all those opportunities. We go to conferences throughout the country where we can tell our story.

 

Mr. Valunas – You mentioned the savings on surveillance and maintenance and that areas are available for cleanup. Is it available in a very specific way or just in a way that we’re not spending that money, and should we be making a better case? We make claims that we need more funding for cleanup. Is this another reason that we need more? Mr. Henry- Those savings are money that doesn’t have to be spent on ‘hotel’ services. I think we have the best advocate for money in Sue Cange because she is very familiar with reindustrialization’s accomplishments.

Mr. Martin – Do you know if CROET or someone else is interested in the property where the small information center sits on Highway 58? Mr. Henry – That’s part of parcel ED 3 and CROET has requested transfer. It’s not imminent but it is in the queue to transfer. Mr. Martin – That parcel is about 8 minutes from Interstate 40 and is a prime location to tell the story about what took place at ETTP. I would hope that DOE would be slow in giving up that prime location. Ms. Cange – What we’re proposing to do at the site regarding historic interpretation is basically the same distance from I-40 and will be much broader. We do not include that visitor’s center as part of the plan. We believe what we are proposing is more comprehensive and robust.  

 

Committee Reports

Board Finance & Process – Mr. Paulus reported that the committee met on January 3. All committee budget requests have been received and will be consolidated into a comprehensive board budget request for FY 2013 that will be submitted to DOE Oak Ridge EM for approval.

 

EM – Mr. Hatcher reported that at the November meeting the discussion focused on mercury contamination in East Fork Poplar Creek coming out of the Y-12 National Security Complex. The committee did not meet in December.

 

At the January 18 meeting the discussion will focus on the siting of a second CERCLA waste disposal facility on the Oak Ridge Reservation.

 

Public Outreach – The committee did not meet in December, but Ms. B. Jones said the committee developed its FY 2013 budget request via email. The next meeting will be January 24 at 5:30 p.m. via teleconference.

 

Stewardship – Mr. Stow reported the committee met in November and reviewed the fact sheet on Site Transition: Cleanup Completion to Long-Term Stewardship at Department of Energy On-going Mission Sites. The committee provided a number of comments on the fact sheet, which is currently being circulated among other SSABs for additional comment.

 

The committee will meet on January 17 and receive an update on the DOE Oak Ridge geographical information system and the status of changing the National Priorities List boundaries for the Oak Ridge Reservation.

 

Executive – Ms. Owen said the committee met on January 3, and Mr. Adler reported that DOE concurred with the board’s request to have its 2012 annual meeting at a location away from Oak Ridge. Mr. Hemelright reported that he and Mr. McKinney visited two locations in Townsend and Pigeon Forge as possible sites for the annual meeting. He said they will recommend to the Board Finance & Process Committee that the site in Pigeon Forge be selected because of its large meeting space, separate dining area, and updated accommodations in the hotel.

 

Center for Oak Ridge Oral History – Mr. Stow reported that the center now has more than 100 items and 60 video and audio interviews at the Oak Ridge Public Library and online. The center is working to acquire 60 more interviews from former K-25 employees. The history center’s employees are currently creating subject indices for each oral history. He said a public release of the newly-designed web page with access to the online collection will be announced soon.

 

Mr. Tewes asked about the status of the Networking Oak Ridge Oral History project. Mr. Stow said that organization is handled by DOE to capture interviews with former employees that contain classified information. He did not know what the status of the project is. Mr. Adler said he would take an action to find out the status and report at the next meeting.

 

Announcements and Other Board Business

ORSSAB will have its next monthly meeting on Wednesday, February 8, at 6 p.m. at the DOE Information Center. The presentation will be on developing the FY 2014 DOE Oak Ridge EM budget request.

 

The minutes of the November 9, 2011, meeting were approved.

 

The board approved the Recommendation for DOE to Use a White Paper on Environmental Management Challenges on the Oak Ridge Reservation (Attachment 4).

 

Federal Coordinator Report

Ms. Noe reported that membership packages for new ORSSAB members had gone to the DOE Committee Management Officer in Washington DC. She said getting the packages out of that office is the longest part of the appointment process.

 

Ms. Noe reminded the board that a Facebook page for ORSSAB has been set up. She commended Ms. Sakalla for assisting staff in setting up the page.

 

Ms. Noe said the DOE Information Center will be moving to the Office of Science and Technical Information building a few blocks down the street in February. She said the board will meet at its current location in February and would begin meeting at the new location in March.

 

Mr. Murphree asked if there were any costs to ORSSAB associated with the move. She said there are no costs to the board for the move.

 

Additions to the Agenda

None.

 

Motions

1/11/12.1

Mr. Juarez moved to approve the minutes of the November 9, 2011, meeting. Mr. Martin seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

 

1/11/12.2

Mr. Stow moved to approve the Recommendation for DOE to Use a White Paper on Environmental Management Challenges on the Oak Ridge Reservation. Mr. Hatcher seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

 

The meeting adjourned at 8 p.m.

 

Action Items

         Open

  1. Mr. Adler will supply a list of miscellaneous waste on the Oak Ridge Reservation that UCOR has compiled for suggested disposal. Carryover from September 14, 2011 meeting.
  2. Mr. Adler will get more information on the Non-Classified Oak Ridge Oral Histories. Carryover from September 14, 2011 meeting.
  3. Mr. Adler will ask Jim Kopotic, federal project director for the K-25 Project, to update the board on the status of the project and efforts to get the project off DOE’s high-concern list. Carryover from May 11, 2011 meeting.
  4. Mr. Adler will determine the components of the $19 million a year dedicated to stewardship on the Oak Ridge Reservation. Carryover from September 8, 2010 meeting.
  5. Mr. Adler will research if the stacks at Oak Ridge National Lab meet applicable seismic standards. Carryover from the November 10, 2010 meeting.
  6. Mr. Adler will determine the amount of water and the levels of contamination in the water that goes through the central stack system as a result of condensation or other origins. Carryover from November 10, 2010 meeting.
  7. Ms. Cange will provide the board a more accurate cost to dispose of the Zero Power Reactor Plates and CEUSP material at the Nevada National Security Site.
  8. Mr. Adler will report on the status of the Networking Oak Ridge Oral History Project.

 

Attachments (4) to these minutes are available on request from the ORSSAB support office.