A Little History
OREPA was established in 1989 to monitor the Oak Ridge Nuclear Reservation and provide information to the public on environmental restoration activities, the production/dismantlement of nuclear weapons and disposition of highly enriched uranium, and public health issues at the Reservation. In 1993, OREP merged with its sister organization, the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance (OREPA).
The Oak Ridge Nuclear Reservation is the world's oldest nuclear weapons facility, originally designed to supply the special nuclear materials needed for the research, development and production of the first atomic bomb. Since the 1940's, operations and waste management practices have released massive amounts of hazardous and radioactive substances to the environment. On-site waste disposal practices have led to devastating water and land contamination. OREP is currently the only local grassroots group serving the vital function of providing public information about environmental impacts of Oak Ridge Operations.
OREP's work takes two primary forms--public education and issue advocacy. OREP educates the public through its quarterly newsletter (with a circulation of approximately 700), and other publications, by sponsoring tours for colleges and other groups, by conducting workshops and teach-ins, and by effective and regular use of mass media. OREP advocates particular positions through public hearings, meetings with Department of Energy officials, mass media, publications, and by serving on official advisory committees of the state and federal governments.
In 1989 OREP published the Citizens Guide to Oak Ridge, which was updated and reprinted in 1992 and is recognized as one of the best sources of information on the nuclear weapons and environmental contamination problems in Oak Ridge. OREP's many successes include raising public awareness in 1990 of contamination in the Watts Bar Reservoir as a result of disposal practices at the Reservation. Working in coalition with local community groups, OREP released a Department of Energy/Martin Marietta study on contamination which led to widespread media attention and a series of public hearings. The expression of public concern led to remedial action on the part of the Department of Energy. Additionally, OREP hosts an annual Hiroshima Day commemoration event.
Check out the report entitled The Continuing Assault: How the Department of Energy Avoids the National Environmental Policy Act, Breaks Public Trust, and Fails to Protect the Environment in Oak Ridge, Tennessee