Office of Environmental Management

New Advisory Board Members Get Up-close View of Oak Ridge Cleanup

August 6, 2019

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New Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board members, from left, Georgette Samaras, Amy Jones, Noah Keebler, Harriett McCurdy, Andrea Browning, and Robert Whittaker visit the historic Graphite Reactor at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
New Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board members, from left, Georgette Samaras, Amy Jones, Noah Keebler, Harriett McCurdy, Andrea Browning, and Robert Whittaker visit the historic Graphite Reactor at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. – Newly appointed members of the Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board (ORSSAB) recently toured EM’s major cleanup projects at the Oak Ridge Site.

The local environmental advisory board provides community insight and recommendations to help inform EM’s decisions and priorities.

“ORSSAB is a key component of our commitment to community engagement and transparency,” said David Adler, director of quality and mission support for DOE’s Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management. “The board is a unique resource for the cleanup program to gather insight and recommendations from the public.”

The newest additions to the 22-member board are Andrea Browning, Amy Jones, Noah Keebler, Harriet McCurdy, Georgette Samaras, and Robert Whittaker, as well as a new student representative from Oak Ridge High School, Avigail Duke.

This year’s tour also included representatives from EM headquarters in Washington, D.C
This year’s tour also included representatives from EM headquarters in Washington, D.C

Because all ORSSAB members are volunteers and come from a variety of professions and backgrounds, OREM regularly conducts guided tours of its ongoing projects to provide firsthand experience about the site’s progress and cleanup challenges.

The group visited Oak Ridge’s three major sites — the Y-12 National Security Complex (Y-12), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), and East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP).

At Y-12, members experienced the strict safety and security standards required at national security sites. They observed EM’s progress decommissioning the Biology Complex and constructing the Mercury Treatment Facility. They also learned about the various ways EM safely categorizes, treats, and disposes of soil and debris in onsite facilities, while hazardous material is shipped offsite.

At ORNL, they learned how the nation’s inventory of uranium-233 is securely stored, and how renovations underway at Building 2026 will enable the remaining inventory to be processed and down-blended for disposal. The tour also passed where crews are constructing the new Translational Research Capability Facility, made possible after EM removed two Manhattan Project-era buildings. Members also toured the historic Graphite Reactor, now part of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park.

While few buildings still stand at ETTP, traveling the site's perimeter gave participants a perspective on the immense scope of work that was required to bring down 12 million square feet of Manhattan Project and Cold War-era facilities over the years. Crews are working to take down the remaining buildings by the end of 2020.

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