For Immediate Release
Contact: Pete Osborne, ORSSAB Support Office, (865) 576-1590

SSAB Chair Named to Federal Advisory Committee

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Luther Gibson was recently named to a federal committee that will advise the Department of Energy on alternative technologies to incineration of radioactive materials.

Luther Gibson, Chair of the Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board, has been named to the Alternative Technologies to Incineration Committee (ATIC) of the Environmental Management Advisory Board (EMAB).

EMAB is a federal advisory panel created to provide independent advice, information and recommendations to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management on issues relating to environmental restoration and waste management.

ATIC will examine emerging technologies identified by DOE for treatment for disposal of mixed transuranic and low-level radioactive wastes previously scheduled for incineration at the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory. The group will facilitate public comment and communications on issues related to these emerging technologies.

Gibson sees value in participating on ATIC because it ties into local concerns, particularly the proposed closure of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Incinerator at the East Tennessee Technology Park.

"Although the charter explicitly refers to wastes at Idaho," Gibson says, "there are broader implications as DOE seeks to build confidence in options for waste that DOE has been incinerating at its sites. These options include alternative technologies and treatment at commercial facilities."

"DOE has either suspended or terminated its mixed waste incinerator operations except at Oak Ridge," he adds, "and current plans are to close the Oak Ridge TSCA Incinerator in 2003. At their current stage of development, the alternatives in general seem to have many issues that will need to be resolved before any can be selected and implemented."

Gibson works in the BWXT Y-12 Analytical Chemistry Organization and holds an M.S. degree in chemical engineering. He has worked for DOE contractors for 25 years on environmental technologies and associated regulatory issues. He was 1998-99 chair of the East Tennessee Chapter of the Air and Waste Management Association and is the current chair of the Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board - an independent citizens' panel chartered in 1995 under the Federal Advisory Committee Act to advise the Department of Energy on environmental cleanup issues at its Oak Ridge Reservation.