Biosciences Division


Ellen D. Smith

Ellen D. Smith

Environmental Analysis Group
Environmental Sciences Division
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Oak Ridge, TN 37831-6038
Phone:  (865)574-7396
Fax:  (865)576-8646

Professional Focus Areas

Environmental impact assessment and requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA); groundwater hydrology; and management and disposal of solid, hazardous and radioactive wastes, particularly waste disposal impacts on groundwater.


Professional Experience

Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Environmental Sciences Division, 1982 to present.

Ellen's responsibilities and accomplishments during her years at ORNL have included:

  • Principal investigator for ORNL technical support to the DOE Office of NEPA Policy and Compliance.
  • For U.S. DOE organizations including the Office of NEPA Policy and Compliance, Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, and Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Ellen coordinates and makes technical contributions to multidisciplinary reviews for U.S. DOE for NEPA and other required environmental review for proposed U.S. DOE projects and programs across the United States, including Yucca Mountain and WIPP radioactive waste repositories, electrical transmission lines, cellulosic biofuels conversion facilities, the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, and nuclear materials production and management, waste management, and environmental remediation activities.
  • Analyst for geology, water resources, and waste management impacts and issues in environmental impact statements and environmental assessments for hydroelectric and coal-related energy projects.
  • Developed practical guidance for integrating the requirements for NEPA environmental impact assessment into the Comprehensive Environmental Restoration, Cleanup & Liability Act (CERCLA) investigative and decision-making process for remedial actions at contaminated federal government sites.
  • Ellen was a principal author of the Defense Priority Model, a ranking methodology developed for and adopted by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) to set priorities for remedial action at DOD facilities.
  • Ellen participated in assessment of uncertainties in high-level radioactive waste repository performance assessment models and implications for Nuclear Regulatory Commission repository licensing.
  • Ellen provided staff support for groundwater protection program office supporting compliance activities at  five DOE sites and contributed to hydrogeologic investigations and evaluations of radioactive waste disposal impacts on the U.S. DOE Oak Ridge Reservation.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, Wisconsin. 1979-1981. Hydrogeologist, Bureaus of Solid Waste Management and Water Quality.

Selected Publications

Technical Papers and Reports NEPA Documents

Selected Civic Activities

  • Member of Oak Ridge City Council, elected to 4-year term in 2007, term extended until November 2012 due to charter referendum in 2010.
  • Oak Ridge Reservation Local Oversight Committee (LOC). Member, board of directors, 1993-1995 and 1998 to its dissolution in 2011; chairman 2007 to 2011.
  • City of Oak Ridge Environmental Quality Advisory Board. Member, 1991 to 2007. Vice-Chairperson, 1991-1993, 1995-1998; Chairperson, 1993-1995 and 1998-2007.