DOE adds five new members to Citizens Advisory Board


The U.S. Department of Energy recently appointed five new members to the Idaho National Laboratory Site Environmental Management Citizens Advisory Board.

Board members, who serve two-year terms, keep up-to-date on issues involving nuclear cleanup and provide advice and recommendations to INL.

The new members are: Marvin Fielding, Keith Branter, Brad Christensen, Cathy Roemer and Trilby McAfee. They will fill positions left by those who either have retired or had their terms expire, said Robert Pence, federal coordinator for the DOE. The board, which was created in 1994, has 12 members.

“We are interested, obviously, in a board of varied demographics and varied interests,” Pence said. “We have members of our board who have worked in various groups such as medical groups (and) education groups.”

McAfee has served as the Butte County Clerk since 1992. Roemer is a Jerome County Commissioner, a spot she has held since 2008. Branter retired in 2011 after 46 years of working in the radiological controls field.

Christensen, an Ammon City Council member, said growing up near INL left

him wanting to know more about the lab.

“The lab is one of, if not the biggest, employer in the area,” Christensen

said. “No doubt our economy is tied to what happens out there. If we were to be part of that solution (nuclear cleanup), I think it could be a positive economic boost to the area and help the nation solve a problem that is substantial.”

While Christensen wasn’t sure what the role will entail, but he said he should know more after he participates in his first quarterly meeting July 10.

Fielding is an engineer with Keller Associates Inc. While he generally deals with water, Fielding said always has been interested in nuclear power. That interest has led to him going back to school in pursuit of a master’s degree in nuclear engineering.

“I think there is great opportunity there,” Fielding said. “There’s a lot of water-resource related issues in nuclear engineering.”

Fielding said he’s looking forward to participating on the committee. Issues such as cleaning up nuclear waste could play a big role in the nation’s future, he said, and it’s important to find long-term solutions.

“It’s an economic issue, it’s an environmental issue, it’s a people issue and it’s a social issue,” he said.

Reporter Aubrey Wieber can be reached at 542-6755.