The U.S. Department of Energy is accepting applications from the public for membership on a Citizens Advisory Board. The board will provide recommendations for the development of an Environmental Management Program at Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant.
The announcement of the creation of a citizens group came at a public meeting that took place March 18, in Piketon. About 60 people were on hand to hear comments from DOE and Lata/Parallax Portsmouth, DOE's environment remediation contractor at the plant.
In February, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) wrote Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman, asking for creation of a plan and involving the local community in it.
"Frankly, I was confused as to how the department could even develop such a cleanup strategy without engaging the community," he said. "No such community advisory board existed for the Piketon site. I was concerned that the department might be returning to the old announce- and-defend policies of the past."
Brown said the community advisory board is an important first step, and will go a long way in improving communications as the Piketon cleanup increases in coming years.
"This is a major victory for the community, which has fought for over a decade to get such a board," he said.
While decisions on the plan ultimately would be DOE's, Brown said community advisory boards could serve a vital role, working with the department on issues such as which buildings are to be built, which are to be razed, what the future use of the site will be and how the cleanup will be carried out.
The March 18 meeting provided an update on cleanup operations at the plant, which generated waste materials that were stored on the site during nearly 50 years of uranium enrichment operations.
John McCoy talked about the DUF6 conversion plant process. Other subjects discussed included cold shutdown of the gaseous diffusion plant, and planning for decontamination and decommissioning of the plant.
DOE announced at a public hearing late last summer, the cleanup contractors working for it had removed more than 49,000 containers of hazardous and mixed waste from the X-7725 building, making it available for turnover from DOE to USEC Inc., for industrial reuse.
LATA officials said the volume of waste removed from the building would have covered a football field nearly 14 feet deep.
The company removed the last containers from the building on May 31, freeing up more than 260,000 square feet of storage space for reuse by the commercial American Centrifuge plant being built by USEC and scheduled to begin full operations in 2012.
Brown announced in early March, the Senate Budget Committee approved additional funding for DOE to clean up former nuclear sites, including Piketon.
The deadline for receiving applications to the advisory board is April 11. Applications can be downloaded from LPP's Web site, www.lpports.com.
They can be mailed to:
Lata/Parallax Portsmouth LLC
ATTN: Human Resources,
3930 U.S. Route 23 South
P. O. Box 855,
Piketon, OH 45661
G. SAM PIATT can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 236.