January 7, 2000

I. Schedule

II. Key Departmental News

Iowa Army Ammunition Plant: On January 6, Dr. Michaels held an informal listening session in Burlington, IA with 20 former and retired workers and family members regarding illnesses and exposures at the former Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) facility at the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant. Later that day he participated in a large town meeting at Burlington City Hall. The meeting focused on clean up, medical monitoring, and other issues associated with the former AEC site. (Jeff Egan, EH-1, 202-586-4598)

Gaseous Diffusion Plants Investigation:

EH Investigation-Portsmouth: Over 180 interviews are to be conducted from January 10-21. The full team is participating in planning activities January 3-21. The Portsmouth Investigation will be conducted in a single phase with one report describing both current and historical operations. (Pat Worthington, EH-2, 301-903-4620)

Congressional Activities (regarding the Gaseous Diffusion Plants): Three bills have been introduced in the House: H.R. 3418 (Administration bill), H.R. 3478, and H.R. 4595. All three House bills were referred to House Judiciary. S. 1954 (Administration Bill) was referred to Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Congress is out of session; no activity until their return in January. (Mary Jo Zacchero, EH-1, 202-586-6993)

Chemical Fire at Y-12 Type A Accident Investigation: The Type A investigation of the December 8 chemical fire at Y-12 is continuing. The accident investigation board is on site to complete evidence collection and analysis of the facts, develop the draft report in mid-January, and conduct a factual accuracy review with the appropriate organizations. The final report is scheduled to be issued during the week of February 18. (David Stadler, EH-2, 301-903-6457)

Surplus Plutonium Disposition Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The Secretary signed the Record of Decision (ROD) on January 4. The ROD will be published in the Federal Register early next week. DOE selected a hybrid approach for the disposition of up to 50 metric tons of surplus plutonium in which the Department would immobilize approximately 17 metric tons and use up to 33 metric tons as mixed oxide (MOX) fuel. Three disposition facilities will be located at the Savannah River Site. Los Alamos National Laboratory was chosen as the location for lead assembly fabrication, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory for post-irradiation examination of lead assemblies. The MOX fuel will be used in six reactors: Catawba Nuclear Station Units 1 and 2 in South Carolina, McGuire Nuclear Station Units 1 and 2 in North Carolina, and North Anna Power Station Units 1 and 2 in Virginia. The selected alternative was the preferred alternative in the Final EIS, which was issued in November. (Carol Borgstrom, EH-42, 202-586-4600)

Idaho High-level Waste and Facilities Disposition Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The Draft EIS was approved in December and is scheduled to be distributed to the public in mid-January. A 60-day public comment period would start on January 21. The State of Idaho is a cooperating agency in this EIS. (Carol Borgstrom, EH-42, 202-586-4600)

Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on a Potential Radioactive Waste Disposal Repository at Yucca Mountain. The Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management (RW) published a notice in the Federal Register on January 5, announcing that the Department will conduct three additional public hearings on the draft EIS in Lincoln, NB (January 24), Cleveland, OH (January 28), and Chicago, IL (February 1). To date, RW has conducted 14 of a planned total of 20 public hearings. The comment period for the Draft EIS will end on February 9. (Carol Borgstrom, EH-42, 202-586-4600)

1998 Department of Energy (DOE) Occupational Radiation Exposure Report: The 1998 DOE Occupational Radiation Exposure Report is now available on-line at http://rems.eh.doe.gov/annual/annual98.htm. (Joe Fitzgerald, EH-5, 301-903-5532)