CAB Meeting Report Back By Janie Hill-Scott

The SRS CAB’s full board meeting took place on March 25th and 26th at Savannah Rapids Pavillion in Martinez GA. On Day One, updates from the Department Of Energy (DOE) and South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) were given. All CAB committees gave updates on what is planned for 2019.  

The afternoon session consisted of a presentation on SCDHEC’s Environmental Surveillance and Oversight Program’s 2017 report. The presentation was requested by the Facilities and Disposition and Site Remediation Committee. The ESOP’s primary function is to evaluate the effectiveness of SRS monitoring. It conducts non-regulatory monitoring around and on SRS, evaluates SRS’s monitoring program, and is an independent source for information to the public regarding contaminates in the environment from historic and current operation at SRS. Their monitoring activities include air, groundwater, drinking water, radiological surface water, soil and sediment, milk, vegetation, fish and game.  ESOP supports SC DHEC’s regulatory program at SRS by focusing on non-regulatory activities.   

The last session of the day focused on two draft recommendations that were to be voted on by the full CAB on day two. The first was the Pollinator Management Program and the second was regarding support for SRS’s National Environmental Research Park (NERP). The Pollinator Management Program recommendation passed on day two and it was a suggestion that DOE-SR consider activities for the rejuvenation and enhanced growth and development of pollinators at the site.  

The second recommendation which also passed on day two regarding SRS’s NERP.  SRS became the nation’s first NERP in 1972. The primary focus is to conduct research in pristine and impacted areas. SRS serves as an outdoor lab for environmental research on human activities as well as energy technologies on the natural environment. The recommendation was to provide additional resources to the Savannah River Ecology Lab and specifically addressed how to further continuity of studies and make information more available to the public.   

Day Two, in addition to voting on the above recommendations, consisted of two panel presentations on Building 235-F’s Deactivated State and H-Canyon and L-Basin Alternatives. H-Canyon has operated since 1955. It is the only operational US large-scale shielded radiochemical separation facility dispositioning Spent Nuclear Fuel (SNF), uranium, plutonium, and neptunium materials. H-Canyon is by law under Title 50 USC section 2633: “The Secretary of Energy shall continue operations and maintain a high state of readiness at the H-Canyon facility at the Savannah River Site, Aiken, South Carolina, and shall provide technical staff necessary to operate and so maintain such a facility.” Officials from DOE-SR and SRNS gave presentations on and answered questions on the Risk Reduction Status of 235-F and Closure Activities.  

The second panel of officials from DOE-SR and SRNS gave a combined panel presentation on the Options for Operating H-Canyon, and H-Canyon scenarios for 2024 and 2027 and 2030 and 2040. They continued with the process of closing facilities and how the decisions are made and finally the SNF inventory. Among the questions and issues regarding H-Canyon are its age and current condition and its ability to update the facility of this age.  The Integrated Priority List Letter was moved to May meeting.  

With the increased activity at SRS and the reprocessing of SNF, Georgia WAND will continue working to find more information about how much radiological (and other) emissions have increased because of the increase in processing SNF. And we’ll be working to find the status of the on-line monitors installations in the H-Canyon sample aisle and what the increased radiological environmental emissions are from H-Canyon re: High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) fuel that began in 2018.

The next full CAB will be: 

WHEN: May 13-14, 2019 

WHERE: The Hyatt Regency in Savannah, GA.  

The next Strategic & Legacy Management and Nuclear Materials committee meeting:

WHEN: April 16, 2019

WHERE: DOE Meeting Center in Aiken, SC 

The next Waste Management and Facilities Disposition and Site Remediationcommittee meeting: 

WHEN: April 23, 2019

WHERE: DOE Meeting Center in Aiken, SC   

All meetings are streamed live at http://cab.srs.gov.
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For more information, please email Janie Hill-Scott at Janie@GeorgiaWAND.org