February 11, 2000

I. Schedule

Public Meetings: On February 23-26, Assistant Secretary Michaels is scheduled to travel to Las Vegas, NV to host a public meeting on workers compensation issues. (Jeff Eagan, EH-1, 202-586-4598)

II. Key Departmental News

Gaseous Diffusion Plants:

EH Investigations: On February 10, the final report for the Phase II Paducah Investigation was released, with a substantial amount of media coverage. On February 23, there will be a public meeting at Paducah to discuss the results of the investigation. Site visits to Portsmouth are underway and will continue through next month. Discussions are underway with OR to schedule the ETTP review for mid- to late 2000.(Pat Worthington, EH-2, 301-903-4620)

Exposure Assessment: This week researchers from the University of Utah and the Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and Energy Workers International Union visited the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant. The purpose of the visit was to continue collecting data, in order to identify those groups of workers who were potentially exposed to transuranics at the GDP's and to place bounds on their potential range of doses. The information will be critical to the upcoming Congressional hearings on compensation legislation. (Bob Loesch, EH-52, 301-903-4443)

Mass Balance: Team members are finalizing the project plan. Site visits have been postponed pending resolution of funding issues. (Mark Williams, EH-34, 301-903-6892)

Meeting on Russian Radiation Health Effects Research Projects: On February 16-17, the Executive Committee to the U.S. - Russian Joint Coordinating Committee for Radiation Effects Research (JCCRER) will meet in Gaithersburg, MD. Items to be addressed include plans for new DOE-funded radiation health effects research; an upcoming public involvement workshop to be held in March in Chelyabinsk, Russia; the contribution of JCCRER research to standards review/setting; the programmatic role of the DOE-Russian Scientific Review Group; and the development of an agenda/date for the next JCCRER meeting in Moscow. (Paul Seligman, EH-6, 301-903-5926)

Savannah River Site (SRS) Health Effects Subcommittee (HES): On February 17-18, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sponsored SRS HES will meet in Charleston, SC. CDC plans to tell subcommittee members that Phase III of the SRS Dose Reconstruction will be postponed due to staffing changes. This may raise concern among local stakeholders. ATSDR is expected to provide an update on its activities at Savannah River and will present "Guidelines to Integrate Children's Issues into the Toxicological Profiles." (Paul Seligman, EH-6, 301-903-5926)

Type A Accident Investigation at Y-12: The Type A investigation of the December 8 chemical fire at Y-12 is continuing. The accident investigation board has developed the draft report and conducted a factual accuracy review with the appropriate organizations. The final report is to be submitted to EH-1 for acceptance by February 18. (David Stadler, EH-2, 301-903-6457)

Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on a Potential Radioactive Waste Disposal Repository at Yucca Mountain. On February 8, DOE published a notice in the Federal Register announcing an additional public hearing and an extension of the public comment period until February 28. The additional hearing on the Draft EIS will be in San Bernardino, California on February 22. The Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management has conducted all 20 previously-announced public hearings on the Draft EIS in 10 cities in Nevada and 10 other cities nationwide. Commentors at each of the moderate-to-well-attended hearings expressed concerns about transportation safety, and criticized the Department because the EIS does not explicitly disclose specific transportation routes. (Carol Borgstrom, EH-42, 202-586-4600)

Waste Management Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement. Environment, Safety and Health staff are working with Environmental Management and General Counsel staff on a draft Record of Decision for low-level and mixed low-level radioactive waste. Environmental Management has received five letters in response to the December 10 Federal Register Notice of Preferred Alternatives, including comments from the Governor of Nevada. (Carol Borgstrom, EH-42, 202-586-4600)

III. Work on Secretarial Initiatives

Beryllium Worker Initiative: On February 29-March 2, there will be a workshop to develop the Chronic Beryllium Disease Prevention Program Plan. Both plenary sessions in the Forrestal auditorium and one of the four concurrent breakout sessions will be accessible via videoconference. All sessions will be accessible via teleconference. Information on the workshop is located at the following Internet address: (Joe Fitzgerald, EH-5, 301-903-5532)