There are some new faces on the Nevada Site Specific Advisory Board (NSSAB).
Beginning Oct. 1, six new members began their two-year term on the volunteer citizen advisory board, ready to work with the rest of the members to provide recommendations to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) regarding Environmental Management (EM) Nevada Program activities at the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS).
The six new members, who went through an application and interview process before their appointment, join 12 others who were re-appointed to the board. NSSAB members hail from Beatty, Pahrump, Amargosa Valley, Las Vegas, Henderson, Tonopah, North Las Vegas, Boulder City, and Mesquite, Nevada. The board also recently added its first ever member from Shoshone, California.
“Each member joins for their own unique reasons and come with their own unique backgrounds. This leads to a collection of knowledge and experiences that prove invaluable to both the board and the EM Nevada Program,” said Kelly Snyder, EM Nevada Program Public Affairs Director and Deputy Designated Federal Officer for the NSSAB. “It’s always great to receive a fresh perspective on things,” Snyder added.
The first task of the new fiscal year for the NSSAB was to receive a “crash course” introduction to the DOE EM Nevada Program. On Oct. 10, the new members, plus a majority of the returning members, participated in the NSSAB orientation, which included overview and status briefings on EM Nevada Program topics such as NNSS groundwater characterization, radioactive waste disposal, and public outreach activities. Throughout the half-day session, members asked insightful questions and held detailed discussions relating to the different topics presented. Their attention to detail demonstrated the group’s growing understanding of EM Nevada Program activities as well as their commitment to learning all they can for the good of their communities.
Then came the tour.
It’s one thing to view presentations about the NNSS and the EM activities taking place there. It’s another to see it in person. On Oct. 24, NSSAB members took a full-day bus tour of the NNSS, learning about both past and present activities at the NNSS, including stops at locations related to the FY 2019 NSSAB Work Plan. The board also visited historic locations such as Icecap and Sedan Crater, where a group photo was taken.
“When you go on a tour of the NNSS, you get a better understanding of the place – how the site functions today and how it developed in the past,” said Anthony Graham, intern-turned-full board member of the NSSAB. “Everyone who has an interest in the atomic past, the public lands of the west, or local Southern Nevada history should take the opportunity to visit the NNSS,” Graham added.
With the lessons learned at the orientation and the firsthand experience of visiting the NNSS, the NSSAB is well-prepared to take on its list of work plan items for FY 2019. Throughout the year, the board will provide recommendations to the EM Nevada Program on the following seven work plan item topics:
- Pahute Mesa Groundwater Sampling Well Prioritization
- Changes to Approach for Pahute Mesa Completion
- Waste Verification Strategy
- Evaluation of the Audit Determination Process
- Low-Level Waste (LLW) Visual Verification
- Offsite Groundwater Contamination Communication Plan
- FY 2021 Baseline Prioritization
These work plan items were presented by the EM Nevada Program to the NSSAB during the Sept. 26 board meeting. The members then voted on which work plan items to work on for the next fiscal year. In the end, all of the presented work plan items were approved and the board’s FY 2019 agenda was set.
All in all, the NSSAB is off to a fast and exciting start to the new fiscal year. With new members ready to provide a fresh perspective, and returning members committed to continue providing helpful insight as representatives of their communities, big things are in store for 2019 and beyond.
For meeting details, meeting minutes, recommendations, work plan items, and other information, visit www.nnss.gov/NSSAB/. NSSAB meetings are open to the public and the next meeting is scheduled for this Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018.