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Title 10 Part 960

Title 10 → Chapter III → Part 960

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations e-CFR

Title 10 Part 960

e-CFR data is current as of August 10, 2018

Title 10Chapter III → Part 960


Title 10: Energy


PART 960—GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR THE PRELIMINARY SCREENING OF POTENTIAL SITES FOR A NUCLEAR WASTE REPOSITORY


Contents

Subpart A—General Provisions

§960.1   Applicability.

These guidelines were developed in accordance with the requirements of Section 112(a) of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 for use by the Secretary of Energy in evaluating the suitability of sites. The guidelines will be used for suitability evaluations and determinations made pursuant to Section 112(b). The guidelines set forth in this part are intended to complement the requirements set forth in the Act, 10 CFR part 60, and 40 CFR part 191. The DOE recognizes NRC jurisdiction for the resolution of differences between the guidelines and 10 CFR part 60. The guidelines have received the concurrence of the NRC. The DOE contemplates revising the guidelines from time to time, as permitted by the Act, to take into account revisions made to the above regulations and to otherwise update the guidelines as necessary. The DOE will submit the revisions to the NRC and obtain its concurrence before issuance.

[49 FR 47752, Dec. 6, 1984, as amended at 66 FR 57334, Nov. 14, 2001]

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§960.2   Definitions.

As used in this part:

Accessible environment means the atmosphere, the land surface, surface water, oceans, and the portion of the lithosphere that is outside the controlled area.

Act means the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, as amended.

Active fault means a fault along which there is recurrent movement, which is usually indicated by small, periodic displacements or seismic activity.

Affected area means either the area of socioeconomic impact or the area of environmental impact, each of which will vary in size among potential repository sites.

Affected Indian tribe means any Indian tribe (1) within whose reservation boundaries a repository for radioactive waste is proposed to be located or (2) whose federally defined possessory or usage rights to other lands outside the reservation's boundaries arising out of congressionally ratified treaties may be substantially and adversely affected by the locating of such a facility: Provided, That the Secretary of the Interior finds, upon the petition of the appropriate governmental officials of the tribe, that such effects are both substantial and adverse to the tribe.

Affected State means any State that (1) has been notified by the DOE in accordance with Section 116(a) of the Act as containing a potentially acceptable site; (2) contains a candidate site for site characterization or repository development; or (3) contains a site selected for repository development.

Application means the act of making a finding of compliance or noncompliance with the qualifying or disqualifying conditions specified in the guidelines of subparts C and D of this part.

Aquifer means a formation, a group of formations, or a part of a formation that contains sufficient saturated permeable material to yield significant quantities of water to wells and springs.

Barrier means any material or structure that prevents or substantially delays the movement of water or radionuclides.

Candidate site means an area, within a geohydrologic setting, that is recommended by the Secretary of Energy under section 112 of the Act for site characterization, approved by the President under section 112 of the Act for characterization, or undergoing site characterization under section 113 of the Act.

Closure means final backfilling of the remaining open operational areas of the underground facility and boreholes after the termination of waste emplacement, culminating in the sealing of shafts.

Confining unit means a body of impermeable or distinctly less permeable material stratigraphically adjacent to one or more aquifers.

Containment means the confinement of radioactive waste within a designated boundary.

Controlled area means a surface location, to be marked by suitable monuments, extending horizontally no more than 10 kilometers in any direction from the outer boundary of the underground facility, and the underlying subsurface, which area has been committed to use as a geologic repository and from which incompatible activities would be prohibited before and after permanent closure.

Cumulative releases of radionuclides means the total number of curies of radionuclides entering the accessible environment in any 10,000-year period, normalized on the basis of radiotoxicity in accordance with 40 CFR part 191. The peak cumulative release of radionuclides refers to the 10,000-year period during which any such release attains its maximum predicted value.

Decommissioning means the permanent removal from service of surface facilities and components neceessary for preclosure operations only, after repository closure, in accordance with regulatory requirements and environmental policies.

Determination means a decision by the Secretary that a site is suitable for site characterization for the selection of a repository, consistent with applications of the guidelines of subparts C and D of this part in accordance with the provisions set forth in subpart B of this part.

Disposal means the emplacement in a repository of high-level radioactive waste, spent nuclear fuel, or other highly radioactive material with no foreseeable intent of recovery, whether or not such emplacement permits the recovery of such waste, and the isolation of such waste from the accessible environment.

Disqualifying condition means a condition that, if present at a site, would eliminate that site from further consideration.

Disturbed zone means that portion of the controlled area, excluding shafts, whose physical or chemical properties are predicted to change as a result of underground facility construction or heat generated by the emplaced radioactive waste such that the resultant change of properties could have a significant effect on the preformance of the geologic repository.

DOE means the U.S. Department of Energy or its duly authorized representatives.

Effective porosity means the amount of interconnected pore space and fracture openings available for the transmission of fluids, expressed as the ratio of the volume of interconnected pores and openings to the volume of rock.

Engineered-barrier system means the manmade components of a disposal system designed to prevent the release of radionuclides from the underground facility or into the geohydrologic setting. Such term includes the radioactive-waste form, radioactive-waste canisters, materials placed over and around such canisters, any other components of the waste package, and barriers used to seal penetrations in and into the underground facility.

Environmental assessment means the document required by section 112(b)(1)(E) of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982.

Environmental impact statement means the document required by section 102(2)(C) of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. Sections 114(a) and 114(f) of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 include certain limitations on the National Environmental Policy Act requirements as they apply to the preparation of an environmental impact statement for the development of a repository at a characterized site.

EPA means the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or its duly authorized representatives.

Evaluation means the act of carefully examining the characteristics of a site in relation to the requirements of the qualifying or disqualifying conditions specified in the guidelines of subparts C and D. Evaluation includes the consideration of favorable and potentially adverse conditions.

Excepted means assumed to be probable or certain on the basis of existing evidence and in the absence of significant evidence to the contrary.

Expected repository performance means the manner in which the repository is predicted to function, consideration those conditions, processes, and events that are likely to prevail or may occur during the time period of interest.

Facility means any structure, system, or system component, including engineered barriers, created by the DOE to meet repository-performance or functional objectives.

Fault means a fracture or a zone of fractures along which there has been displacement of the side relative to one another parallel to the fracture or zone of fractures.

Faulting means the process of fracturing and displacement that produces a fault.

Favorable condition means a condition that, though not necessary to qualify a site, is presumed, if present, to enhance confidence that the qualifying condition of a particular guideline can be met.

Finding means a conclusion that is reached after evaluation.

Geohydrologic setting means the system of geohydrologic units that is located within a given geologic setting.

Geohydrologic system means the geohydrologic units within a geologic setting, including any recharge, discharge, interconnections between units, and any natural or man-induced processes or events that could affect ground-water flow within or among those units.

Geohydrologic unit means an aquifer, a confining unit, or a combination of aquifers and confining units comprising a framework for a reasonably distinct geohydrologic system.

Geologic repository means a system, requiring licensing by the NRC, that is intended to be used, or may be used, for the disposal of radioactive waste in excavated geologic media. A geologic repository includes (1) the geologic-repository operations area and (2) the portion of the geologic setting that provides isolation of the radioactive waste and is located within the controlled area.

Geologic-repository operations area means a radioactive-waste facility that is part of the geologic repository, including both surface and subsurface areas and facilities where waste-handling activities are conducted.

Geologic setting means the geologic, hydrologic, and geochemical systems of the region in which a geologic-repository operations area is or may be located.

Geomorphic processes means geologic processes that are responsible for the general configuration of the Earth's surface, including the development of present landforms and their relationships to underlying structures, and are responsible for the geologic changes recorded by these surface features.

Ground water means all subsurface water as distinct from surface water.

Ground-water flux means the rate of ground-water flow per unit area of porous or fractured media measured perpendicular to the direction of flow.

Ground-water sources means aquifers that have been or could be economically and technologically developed as sources of water in the foreseeable future.

Ground-water travel time means the time required for a unit volume of ground water to travel between two locations. The travel time is the length of the flow path divided by the velocity, where velocity is the average ground-water flux passing through the cross-sectional area of the geologic medium through which flow occurs, perpendicular to the flow direction, divided by the effective porosity along the flow path. If discrete segments of the flow path have different hydrologic properties, the total travel time will be the sum of the travel times for each discrete segment.

Guideline means a statement of policy or procedure that may include, when appropriate, qualifying, disqualifying, favorable, or potentially adverse conditions as specified in the “guidelines.”

Guidelines means part 960 of title 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations—General Guidelines for the Recommendation of Sites for Nuclear Waste Repositories.

High-level radioactive waste means (1) the highly radioactive material resulting from the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel, including liquid waste produced directly in reprocessing and any solid material derived from such liquid waste that contains fission products in sufficient concentrations and (2) other highly radioactive material that the NRC, consistent with existing law, determines by rule requires permanent isolation.

Highly populated area means any incoporated place (recognized by the decennial reports of the U.S. Bureau of the Census) of 2,500 or more persons, or any census designated place (as defined and delineated by the Bureau) of 2,500 or more persons, unless it can be demonstrated that any such place has a lower population density than the mean value for the continental United States. Counties or county equivalents, whether incorporated or not, are specifically excluded form the definition of “place” as used herein.

Host rock means the geologic medium in which the waste is emplaced, specifically the geologic materials that directly encompass and are in close proximity to the underground facility.

Hydraulic conductivity means the volume of water that will move through a medium in a unit of time under a unit hydraulic gradient through a unit area measured perpendicular to the direction of flow.

Hydraulic gradient means a change in the static pressure of ground water, expressed in terms of the height of water above a datum, per unit of distance in a given direction.

Hydrologic process means any hydrologic phenomenon that exhibits a continuous change in time, whether slow or rapid.

Hydrologic properties means those properties of a rock that govern the entrance of water and the capacity to hold, transmit, and deliver water, such as porosity, effective porosity, specific retention, permeability, and the directions of maximum and minimum permeabilities.

Igneous activity means the emplacement (intrusion) of molten rock material (magma) into material in the Earth's crust or the expulsion (extrusion) of such material onto the Earth's surface or into its atmosphere or surface water.

Isolation means inhibiting the transport of radioactive material so that the amounts and concentrations of this material entering the accessible environment will be kept within prescribed limits.

Likely means processing or displaying the qualities, characteristics, or attributes that provide a reasonable basis for confidence that what is expected indeed exists or will occur.

Lithosphere means the solid part of the Earth, including any ground water contained within it.

Member of the public means any individual who is not engaged in operations involving the management, storage, and disposal of radioactive waste. A worker so engaged is a member of the public except when on duty at the geologic-repository operations area.

Mitigation means: (1) Avoiding the impact altogether by not taking a certain action or parts of an action; (2) minimizing impacts by limiting the degree or magnitude of the action and its implementation; (3) rectifying the impact by repairing, rehabilitating, or restoring the affected environment; (4) reducing or eliminating the impact over time by preservation and maintenance operations during the life of the action; or (5) compensating for the impact by replacing or providing substitute resources or environments.

Model means a conceptual description and the associated mathematical representation of a system, subsystem, component, or condition that is used to predict changes from a baseline state as a function of internal and/or external stimuli and as a function of time and space.

NRC means the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission or its duly authorized representatives.

Perched ground water means unconfined ground water separated from an underlying body of ground water by an unsaturated zone. Its water table is a perched water table. Perched ground water is held up by a perching bed whose permeability is so low that water percolating downward through it is not able to bring water in the underlying unsaturated zone above atmospheric pressure.

Performance assessment means any analysis that predicts the behavior of a system or system component under a given set of constant and/or transient conditions. Performance assessments will include estimates of the effects of uncertainties in data and modeling.

Permanent closure is synonymous with “closure.”

Postclosure means the period of time after the closure of the geologic repository.

Potentially acceptable site means any site at which, after geologic studies and field mapping but before detailed geologic data gathering, the DOE undertakes preliminary drilling and geophysical testing for the definition of site location.

Potentially adverse condition means a condition that is presumed to detract from expected system performance, but further evaluation, additional data, or the identification of compensating or mitigating factors may indicate that its effect on the expected system performance is acceptable.

Preclosure means the period of time before and during the closure of the geologic repository.

Pre-waste-emplacement means before the authorization of repository construction by the NRC.

Qualifying condition means a condition that must be satisfied for a site to be considered acceptable with respect to a specific guideline.

Quaternary Period means the second period of the Cenozoic Era, following the Tertiary, beginning 2 to 3 million years ago and extending to the present.

Radioactive waste or “waste” means high-level radioactive waste and other radioactive materials, including spent nuclear fuel, that are received for emplacement in a geologic repository.

Radioactive-waste facility means a facility subject to the licensing and related regulatory authority of the NRC pursuant to Sections 202(3) and 202(4) of the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974 (88 Stat. 1244).

Radionuclide retardation means the process or processes that cause the time required for a given radionuclide to move between two locations to be greater than the ground-water travel time, because of physical and chemical interactions between the radionuclide and the geohydrologic unit through which the radionuclide travels.

Reasonably available technology means technology which exists and has been demonstrated or for which the results of any requisite development, demonstration, or confirmatory testing efforts before application will be available within the required time period.

Repository is synonymous with “geologic repository.”

Repository closure is synonymous with “closure.”

Repository construction means all excavation and mining activities associated with the construction of shafts, shaft stations, rooms, and necessary openings in the underground facility, preparatory to radioactive-waste emplacement, as well as the construction of necessary surface facilities, but excluding site-characterization activities.

Repository operation means all of the functions at the site leading to and involving radioactive-waste emplacement in the underground facility, including receiving, transportation, handling, emplacement, and, if necessary, retrieval.

Repository support facilities means all permanent facilities constructed in support of site-characterization activities and repository construction, operation, and closure activities, including surface structures, utility lines, roads, railroads, and similar facilities, but excluding the underground facility.

Restricted area means any area access to which is controlled by the DOE for purposes of protecting individuals from exposure to radiation and radioactive materials before repository closure, but not including any areas used as residential quarters, although a separate room or rooms in a residential building may be set apart as a restricted area.

Retrieval means the act of intentionally removing radioactive waste before repository closure from the underground location at which the waste had been previously emplaced for disposal.

Saturated zone means that part of the Earth's crust beneath the water table in which all voids, large and small, are ideally filled with water under pressure greater than atmospheric.

Secretary means the Secretary of Energy.

Site means a potentially acceptable site or a candidate site, as appropriate, until such time as the controlled area has been established, at which time the site and the controlled area are the same.

Site characterization means activities, whether in the laboratory or in the field, undertaken to establish the geologic conditions and the ranges of the parameters of a candidate site relevant to the location of a repository, including borings, surface excavations, excavations of exploratory shafts, limited subsurface lateral excavations and borings, and in situ testing needed to evaluate the suitability of a candidate site for the location of a repository, but not including preliminary borings and geophysical testing needed to assess whether site characterization should be undertaken.

Siting means the collection of exploration, testing, evaluation, and decision-making activities associated with the process of site screening, site nomination, site recommendation, and site approval for characterization or repository development.

Source term means the kinds and amounts of radionuclides that make up the source of a potential release of radioactivity.

Spent nuclear fuel means fuel that has been withdrawn from a nuclear reactor following irradiation, the constituent elements of which have not been separated by reprocessing.

Surface facilities means repository support facilities within the restricted area.

Surface water means any waters on the surface of the Earth, including fresh and salt water, ice, and snow.

System means the geologic setting at the site, the waste package, and the repository, all acting together to contain and isolate the waste.

System performance means the complete behavior of a repository system in response to the conditions, processes, and events that may affect it.

Tectonic means of, or pertaining to, the forces involved in, or the resulting structures or features of, tectonics.

Tectonics means the branch of geology dealing with the broad architecture of the outer part of the Earth, that is, the regional assembling of structural or deformational features and the study of their mutual relations, origin, and historical evolution.

To the extent practicable means the degree to which an intended course of action is capable of being effected in a manner that is reasonable and feasible within a framework of constraints.

Underground facility means the underground structure and the rock required for support, including mined openings and backfill materials, but excluding shafts, boreholes, and their seals.

Unsaturated zone means the zone between the land surface and the water table. Generally, water in this zone is under less than atmospheric pressure, and some of the voids may contain air or other gases at atmospheric pressure. Beneath flooded areas or in perched water bodies, the water pressure locally may be greater than atmospheric.

Waste form means the radioactive waste materials and any encapsulating or stabilizing matrix.

Waste package means the waste form and any containers, shielding, packing, and other sorbent materials immediately surrounding an individual waste container.

Water table means that surface in a body of ground water at which the water pressure is atmospheric.

[49 FR 47752, Dec. 6, 1984, as amended at 66 FR 57334, Nov. 14, 2001]

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Subpart B—Implementation Guidelines

§960.3   Implementation guidelines.

The guidelines of this subpart establish the procedure and basis for applying the postclosure and the preclosure guidelines of subparts C and D, respectively, to evaluations of the suitability of sites. As may be appropriate during the siting process, this procedure requires consideration of a variety of geohydrologic settings and rock types, regionality, and environmental impacts and consultation with affected States, affected Indian tribes, and Federal agencies.

[49 FR 47752, Dec. 6, 1984, as amended at 66 FR 57334, Nov. 14, 2001]

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§960.3-1   Siting provisions.

The siting provisions establish the framework for the implementation of the siting process specified in §960.3-2. Sections 960.3-1-1 and 960.3-1-2 require that consideration be given to sites situated in different geohydrologic settings and different types of host rock, respectively. These diversity guidelines are intended to balance the process of site selection by requiring consideration of a variety of geologic conditions and media, and thereby enhance confidence in the technical suitability of sites selected for the development of repositories. As required by the Act, §960.3-1-3 specifies consideration of a regional distribution of repositories after recommendation of a site for development of the first repository. Section 960.3-1-4 describes the evidence that is required to support siting decisions. Section 960.3-1-5 establishes the basis for site evaluations against the postclosure and the preclosure guidelines of subparts C and D during the various phases of the siting process.

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§960.3-1-1   Diversity of geohydrologic settings.

Consideration shall be given to a variety of geohydrologic settings in which sites for the development of repositories may be located. To the extent practicable, sites recommended as candidate sites for characterization shall be located in different geohydrologic settings.

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§960.3-1-2   Diversity of rock types.

Consideration shall be given to a variety of geologic media in which sites for the development of repositories may be located. To the extent practicable, and with due consideration of candidate sites characterized previously or approved for such characterization if the circumstances apply, sites recommended as candidate sites for characterization shall have different types of host rock.

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§960.3-1-3   Regionality.

In making site recommendations for repository development after the site for the first repository has been recommended, the Secretary shall give due consideration to the need for, and the advantages of, a regional distribution in the siting of subsequent repositories. Such consideration shall take into account the proximity of sites to locations at which waste is generated or temporarily stored and at which other repositories have been or are being developed.

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§960.3-1-4   Evidence for siting decisions.

The siting process involves a sequence of four decisions: The identification of potentially acceptable sites; the nomination of sites as suitable for characterization; the recommendation of sites as candidate sites for site characterization; and after the completion of site characterization and nongeologic data gathering, the recommendation of a candidate site for the development of a repository. Each of these decisions will be supported by the evidence specified below.

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§960.3-1-4-1   Site identification as potentially acceptable.

The evidence for the identification of a potentially acceptable site shall be the types of information specified in appendix IV of this part. Such evidence will be relatively general and less detailed than that required for the nomination of a site as suitable for characterization. Because the gathering of detailed geologic data will not take place until after the recommendation of a site for characterization, the levels of information may be relatively greater for the evaluation of those guidelines in subparts C and D that pertain to surface-identifiable factors for such site. The sources of information shall include the literature in the public domain and the private sector, when available, and will be supplemented in some instances by surface investigations and conceptual engineering design studies conducted by the DOE. Geologic surface investigations may include the mapping of identifiable rock masses, fracture and joint characteristics, and fault zones. Other surface investigations will consider the aquatic and terrestrial ecology; water rights and uses; topography; potential offsite hazards; natural resource concentrations; national or State protected resources; existing transportation systems; meteorology and climatology; population densities, centers, and distributions; and general socioeconomic characteristics.

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§960.3-1-4-2   Site nomination for characterization.

The evidence required to support the nomination of a site as suitable for characterization shall include the types of information specified in appendix IV of this part and shall be contained or referenced in the environmental assessments to be prepared in accordance with the requirements of the Act. The source of this information shall include the literature and related studies in the public domain and the private sector, when available, and various meteorological, environmental, socioeconomic, and transportation studies conducted by the DOE in the affected area; exploratory boreholes in the region of such site, including lithologic logging and hydrologic and geophysical testing of such boreholes, laboratory testing of core samples for the evaluation of geochemical and engineering rock properties, and chemical analyses of water samples from such boreholes; surface investigations, including geologic mapping and geophysical surveys, and compilations of satellite imagery data; in situ or laboratory testing of similar rock types under expected repository conditions; evaluations of natural and man-made analogs of the repository and its subsystems, such as geothermally active areas, underground excavations, and case histories of socioeconomic cycles in areas that have experienced intermittent large-scale construction and industrial activities; and extrapolations of regional data to estimate site-specific characteristics and conditions. The exact types and amounts of information to be collected within the above categories, including such details as the specific types of hydrologic tests, combinations of geophysical tests, or number of exploratory boreholes, are dependent on the site-specific needs for the application of the guidelines of subparts C and D, in accordance with the provisions of this subpart and the application requirements set forth in appendix III of this part. The evidence shall also include those technical evaluations that use the information specified above and that provide additional bases for evaluating the ability of a site to meet the qualifying conditions of the guidelines of subparts C and D. In developing the above-mentioned bases for evaluation, as may be necessary, assumptions that approximate the characteristics or conditions considered to exist at a site, or expected to exist or occur in the future, may be used. These assumptions will be realistic but conservative enough to underestimate the potential for a site to meet the qualifying condition of a guideline; that is, the use of such assumptions should not lead to an exaggeration of the ability of a site to meet the qualifying condition.

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§960.3-1-4-3   Site recommendation for characterization.

The evidence required to support the recommendation of a site as a candidate site for characterization shall consist of the evaluations and data contained or referenced in the environmental assessment for such site, unless the Secretary certifies that such information, in the absence of additional preliminary borings or excavations, will not be adequate to satisfy applicable requirements of the Act.

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§960.3-1-5   Basis for site evaluations.

(a) Evaluations of individual sites and comparisons between and among sites shall be based on the postclosure and preclosure guidelines specified in subparts C and D of this part, respectively. Except for screening for potentially acceptable sites as specified in §960.3-2-1, such evaluations shall place primary significance on the postclosure guidelines and secondary significance on the preclosure guidelines, with each set of guidelines considered collectively for such purposes. Both the postclosure and the preclosure guidelines consist of a system guideline or guidelines and corresponding groups of technical guidelines.

(b) The postclosure guidelines of subpart C of this part contain eight technical guidelines in one group. The preclosure guidelines of subpart D of this part contain eleven technical guidelines separated into three groups that represent, in decreasing order of importance, preclosure radiological safety; environment, socioeconomics, and transportation; and ease and cost of siting, construction, operation, and closure.

(c) The relative significance of any technical guideline to its corresponding system guideline is site specific. Therefore, for each technical guideline, an evaluation of compliance with the qualifying condition shall be made in the context of the collection of system elements and the evidence related to that guideline, considering on balance the favorable conditions and the potentially adverse conditions identified at a site. Similarly, for each system guideline, such evaluation shall be made in the context of the group of technical guidelines and the evidence related to that system guideline.

(d) For purposes of recommending sites for development as repositories, such evidence shall include analyses of expected repository performance to assess the likelihood of demonstrating compliance with 40 CFR part 191 and 10 CFR part 60, in accordance with §960.4-1. A site shall be disqualified at any time during the siting process if the evidence supports a finding by the DOE that a disqualifying condition exists or the qualifying condition of any system or technical guideline cannot be met.

(e) Comparisons between and among sites shall be based on the system guidelines, to the extent practicable and in accordance with the levels of relative significance specified above for the postclosure and the preclosure guidelines. Such comparisons are intended to allow comparative evaluations of sites in terms of the capabilities of the natural barriers for waste isolation and to identify innate deficiencies that could jeopardize compliance with such requirements. If the evidence for the sites is not adequate to substantiate such comparisons, then the comparisons shall be based on the groups of technical guidelines under the postclosure and the preclosure guidelines, considering the levels of relative significance appropriate to the postclosure and the preclosure guidelines and the order of importance appropriate to the subordinate groups within the preclosure guidelines. Comparative site evaluations shall place primary importance on the natural barriers of the site. In such evaluations for the postclosure guidelines of subpart C of this part, engineered barriers shall be considered only to the extent necessary to obtain realistic source terms for comparative site evaluations based on the sensitivity of the natural barriers to such realistic engineered barriers. For a better understanding of the potential effects of engineered barriers on the overall performance of the repository system, these comparative evaluations shall consider a range of levels in the performance of the engineered barriers. That range of performance levels shall vary by at least a factor of 10 above and below the engineered-barrier performance requirements set forth in 10 CFR 60.113, and the range considered shall be identical for all sites compared. The comparisons shall assume equivalent engineered barrier performance for all sites compared and shall be structured so that engineered barriers are not relied upon to compensate for deficiencies in the geologic media. Furthermore, engineered barriers shall not be used to compensate for an inadequate site; mask the innate deficiencies of a site; disguise the strengths and weaknesses of a site and the overall system; and mask differences between sites when they are compared. Releases of different radionuclides shall be combined by the methods specified in appendix A of 40 CFR part 191.

(f) The comparisons specified in paragraph (e) of this section shall consist of two comparative evaluations that predict radionuclide releases for 100,000 years after repository closure and shall be conducted as follows. First, the sites shall be compared by means of evaluations that emphasize the performance of the natural barriers at the site. Second, the sites shall be compared by means of evaluations that emphasize the performance of the total repository system. These second evaluations shall consider the expected performance of the repository system; be based on the expected performance of waste packages and waste forms, in compliance with the requirements of 10 CFR 60.113, and on the expected hydrological and geochemical conditions at each site; and take credit for the expected performance of all other engineered components of the repository system. The comparison of isolation capability shall be one of the significant considerations in the recommendation of sites for the development of repositories. The first of the two comparative evaluations specified in the paragraph (e) of this section shall take precedence unless the second comparative evaluation would lead to substantially different recommendations. In the latter case, the two comparative evaluations shall receive comparable consideration. Sites with predicted isolation capabilities that differ by less than a factor of 10, with similar uncertainties, may be assumed to provide equivalent isolation.

[66 FR 57334, Nov. 14, 2001]

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§960.3-2   Siting process.

The siting process begins with site screening for the identification of potentially acceptable sites. This process was completed for purposes of the first repository before the enactment of the Act, and the identification of such sites was made after enactment in accordance with the provisions of section 116(a) of the Act. The screening process for the identification of potentially acceptable sites for the second and subsequent repositories shall be conducted in accordance with the requirements specified in §960.3-2-1 of this subpart. The nomination of any site as suitable for characterization shall follow the process specified in §960.3-2-2, and such nomination shall be accompanied by an environmental assessment as specified in section 112(b)(1)(E) of the Act. The recommendation of sites as candidate sites for characterization shall be accomplished in accordance with the requirements specified in §960.3-2-3.

[49 FR 47752, Dec. 6, 1984, as amended at 66 FR 57335, Nov. 14, 2001]

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§960.3-2-1   Site screening for potentially acceptable sites.

To identify potentially acceptable sites for the development of other than the first repository, the process shall begin with site-screening activities that consider large land masses that contain rock formations of suitable depth, thickness, and lateral extent and have structural, hydrologic, and tectonic features favorable for waste containment and isolation. Within those large land masses, subsequent site-screening activities shall focus on successively smaller and increasingly more suitable land units. This process shall be developed in consultation with the States that contain land units under consideration. It shall be implemented in a sequence of steps that first applies the applicable disqualifying conditions to eliminate land units on the basis of the evidence specified in §960.3-1-4-1 and in accordance with the application requirements set forth in appendix III of this part. After the disqualifying conditions have been applied, the favorable and potentially adverse conditions, as identified for each remaining land unit, shall be evaluated. The presence of favorable conditions shall favor a given land unit, while the presence of potentially adverse conditions shall penalize that land unit. Recognizing that favorable conditions and potentially adverse conditions for different technical guidelines can exist in the same land unit, the DOE shall seek to evaluate the composite favorability of each land unit. Land units that, in the aggregrate, exhibit potentially adverse conditions shall be deferred in favor of land units that exhibit favorable conditions. The siting provisions that require diversity of geohydrologic settings and rock types and consideration of regionality, as specified in §§960.3-1-1, 960.3-1-2, and 960.3-1-3, respectively, may be used to discriminate between land units and to establish the range of options in site screening. To identify a site as potentially acceptable, the evidence shall support a finding that the site is not disqualified in accordance with the application requirements set forth in appendix III of this part and shall support the decision by the DOE to proceed the continued investigation of the site on the basis of the favorable and potentially adverse conditions identified to date. In continuation of the screening process after such identification and before site nomination, the DOE may defer from further consideration land units or potentially acceptable sites or portions thereof on the basis of additional information or by the application of the siting provisions for diversity of geohydrologic settings, diversity of rock types, and regionality (§§960.3-1-1, 960.3-1-2, and 960.3-1-3, respectively). The deferral of potentially acceptable sites will be described in the environmental assessments that accompany the nomination of at least five sites as suitable for characterization. In order to identify potentially acceptable sites for the second and subsequent repositories, the Secretary shall first identify the State within which the site is located in a decision-basis document that describes the process and the considerations that led to the identification of such site and that has been issued previously in draft for review and comment by such State. Second, when such document is final, the Secretary shall notify the Governor and the legislature of that State and the tribal council of any affected Indian tribe of the potentially acceptable site.

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§960.3-2-2   Nomination of sites as suitable for characterization.

From the sites identified as potentially acceptable, the Secretary shall nominate at least five sites determined suitable for site characterization for the selection of each repository site. For the second repository, at least three of the sites shall not have been nominated previously. Any site nominated as suitable for characterization for the first repository, but not recommended as a candidate site for characterization, may not be nominated as suitable for characterization for the second repository. The nomination of a site as suitable for characterization shall be accompanied by an environmental assessment as specified in section 112(b)(1)(E) of the Act. Such nomination shall be based on evaluations in accordance with the guidelines of this part, and the bases and relevant details of those evaluations and of the decision processes involved therein shall be contained in the environmental assessment for the site in the manner specified in this subpart. The evidence required to support such evaluations and siting decisions is specified in §960.3-1-4-2.

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§960.3-2-2-1   Evaluation of all potentially acceptable sites.

First, in considering sites for nomination, each of the potentially acceptable sites shall be evaluated on the basis of the disqualifying conditions specified in the technical guidelines of subparts C and D, in accordance with the application requirements set forth in appendix III of this part. This evaluation shall support a finding by the DOE that such sites is not disqualified.

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§960.3-2-2-2   Selection of sites within geohydrologic settings.

Second, the siting provision requiring diversity of geohydrologic settings, as specified in §960.3-1-1, shall be applied to group all potentially acceptable sites according to their geohydrologic settings. Third, for those geohydrologic settings that contain more than one potentially acceptable site, the preferred site shall be selected on the basis of a comparative evaluation of all potentially acceptable sites in that setting. This evaluation shall consider the distinguishing characteristics displayed by the potentially acceptable sites within the setting and the related guidelines from subparts C and D. That is, the appropriate guidelines shall be selected primarily on the basis of the kinds of evidence among sites for which distinguishing characteristics can be identified. Such comparative evaluation shall be made on the basis of the qualifying conditions for those guidelines, considering, on balance, the favorable conditions and potentially adverse conditions identified at each site. Due consideration shall also be given to the siting provisions specifying the basis for site evaluations in §960.3-1-5, to the extent practicable, and diversity of rock types in §960.3-1-2, if the circumstances so apply. If less than five geohydrologic settings are available for consideration, the above process shall be used to select two or more preferred sites from those settings that contain more than one potentially acceptable site, as required to obtain the number of sites to be nominated as suitable for characterization. For purposes of the second and subsequent repositories, due consideration shall also be given to the siting provision for regionality as specified in §960.3-1-3. Fourth, each preferred site within a geohydrologic setting shall be evaluated as to whether such site is suitable for the development of a repository under the qualifying condition of each guideline specified in subparts C and D that does not require site characterization as a prerequisite for the application of such guideline. The guidelines considered appropriate to this evaluation have been selected on the basis of their exclusion under the definition of site characterization as specified in §960.2. Although the final application of these guidelines, in accordance with the provisions set forth in appendix III of this part, does not require geologic data from site-characterization activities, such application will require additional data beyond those specified in appendix IV of this part, which will be obtained concurrently with site characterization. Such guidelines include those specified in §960.4-2-8-2 (Site Ownership and Control) of subpart C; §§960.5-1(a)(1) and 960.5-1(a)(2) of subpart D (preclosure system guidelines for radiological safety and environmental quality, socioeconomics, and transportation); and §§960.5-2-1 through 960.5-2-7 of subpart D (Population Density and Distribution, Site Ownership and Control, Meteorology, Offsite Installations and Operations, Environmental Quality, Socioeconomic Impacts, and Transportation). This evaluation shall consider on balance those favorable conditions and potentially adverse conditions identified as such at a preferred site in relation to the qualifying condition of each such guideline. For each such guideline, this evaluation shall focus on the suitability of the site for the development of a repository by considering the activities from the start of site characterization through decommissioning and shall support a finding by the DOE in accordance with the application requirements set forth in appendix III of this part. Fifth, each preferred site within a geohydrologic setting shall be evaluated as to whether such site is suitable for site characterization under the qualifying conditions of those guidelines specified in subparts C and D that require characterization (i.e., subsurface geologic, hydrologic, and geochemical data gathering). Such guidelines include those specified in §960.4-1(a) (postclosure system guideline); §§960.4-2-1 through 960.4-2-8-1 of subpart C (Geohydrology, Geochemistry, Rock Characteristics, Climatic Changes, Erosion, Dissolution, Tectonics, Human Interference, and Natural Resources); §960.5-1(a)(3) (preclosure system guideline for ease and cost of siting, construction, operation, and closure); and §960.5-2-8 through 960.5-2-11 of subpart D (Surface Characteristics, Rock Characteristics, Hydrology, and Tectonics). This evaluation shall consider on balance the favorable conditions and potentially adverse conditions identified as such at a preferred site in relation to the qualifying condition of each such guideline. For each such guideline, this evaluation shall focus on the suitability of the site for characterization and shall support a finding by the DOE in accordance with the application requirements set forth in appendix III of this part.

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§960.3-2-2-3   Comparative evaluation of all sites proposed for nomination.

Sixth, for those potentially acceptable sites to be proposed for nomination, as determined by the process specified in §960.3-2-2-2, a reasonable comparative evaluation of each such site with all other such sites shall be made. For each site and for each guideline specified in subparts C and D, the DOE shall summarize the evaluations and findings specified under §960.3-2-2-1 and under the fourth and fifth provisions of §960.3-2-2-2. Each such summary shall allow comparisons to be made among sites on this basis of each guideline.

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§960.3-2-2-4   The environmental assessment.

To document the process specified above, and in compliance with section 112(b)(1)(E) of the Act, an environmental assessment shall be prepared for each site proposed for nomination as suitable for characterization. Each such environmental assessment shall describe the decision process by which such site was proposed for nomination as described in the preceding six steps and shall contain or reference the evidence that supports such process according to the requirements of §960.3-1-4-2 and appendix IV of this part. As specified in the Act, each environmental assessment shall include an evaluation of the effects of the site-characterization activities at the site on public health and safety and the environment; a discussion of alternative activities related to site characterization that may be taken to avoid such impact; and an assessment of the regional and local impacts of locating a repository at the site. The draft environmental assessment for each site proposed for nomination as suitable for characterization shall be made available by the DOE for public comment after the Secretary has notified the Governor and legislature of the State in which the site is located, and the governing body of the affected Indian tribe where such site is located, of such impending availability.

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§960.3-2-2-5   Formal site nomination.

After the final environmental assessments have been prepared, the Secretary shall nominate at least five sites that he determines suitable for site characterization for the selection of a repository site, and, in so doing, he shall cause to have published in the Federal Register a notice specifying the sites so nominated and announcing the availability of the final environmental assessments for such sites. This determination by the Secretary shall be based on the final environmental assessments for such sites, including, in particular, consideration of the available evidence, evaluations, and the resultant findings for the guidelines of subparts C and D so specified under the fourth and fifth provisions of §960.3-2-2-2. Before nominating a site, the Secretary shall notify the Governor and legislature of the State in which the site is located, and the governing body of the affected Indian tribe where such site is located, of such nomination and the basis for such nomination.

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§960.3-2-3   Recommendation of sites for characterization.

After the nomination of at least five sites as suitable for site characterization for the selection of the first repository, the Secretary shall recommend in writing to the President not less than three candidate sites for such characterization. The recommendation decision shall be based on the available geophysical, geologic, geochemical, and hydrologic data; other information; associated evaluations and findings reported in the environmental assessments accompanying the nominations; and the considerations specified below, unless the Secretary certifies that such available data will not be adequate to satisfy applicable requirements of the Act in the absence of further preliminary borings or excavations. On the basis of the evidence and in accordance with the siting provision specifying the basis for site evaluations in §960.3-1-5, the sites nominated as suitable for characterization shall be considered as to their order of preference as candidate sites for characterization. Subsequently, the siting provisions specifying diversity of geohydrologic settings, diversity of rock types, and, after the first repository, consideration of regionality in §§960.3-1-1, 960.3-1-2, and 960.3-1-3, respectively, shall be considered to determine a final order of preference for the characterization of such sites. Considering this order of preference together with the available siting alternatives specified in the Act, the sites recommended as candidate sites for characterization shall offer, on balance, the most advantageous combination of characteristics and conditions for the successful development of repositories at such sites. The process for the recommendation of sites as candidate sites for characterization for the selection of any subsequent repository shall be the same as that specified above for the first repository.

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§960.3-3   Consultation.

The DOE shall provide to designated officials of the affected States and to the governing bodies of any affected Indian tribe timely and complete information regarding determinations or plans made with respect to the siting, site characterization, design, development, construction, operation, closure, decommissioning, licensing, or regulation of a repository. Written responses to written requests for information from the designated officials of affected States or affected Indian tribes will be provided within 30 days after receipt of the written requests. In performing any study of an area for the purpose of determining the suitability of such area for the development of a repository, the DOE shall consult and cooperate with the Governor and the legislature of an affected State and the governing body of an affected Indian tribe in an effort to resolve concerns regarding public health and safety, environmental impacts, socioeconomic impacts, and technical aspects of the siting process. After notifying affected States and affected Indian tribes that potentially acceptable sites have been identified, or that a site has been approved for characterization, the DOE shall seek to enter into binding written agreements with such affected States or affected Indian tribes in accordance with the requirements of the Act. The DOE shall also consult, as appropriate, with other Federal agencies.

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§960.3-4   Environmental impacts.

Environmental impacts shall be considered by the DOE throughout the site characterization, site selection, and repository development process. The DOE shall mitigate significant adverse environmental impacts, to the extent practicable, during site characterization and repository construction, operation, closure, and decommissioning.

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Subpart C—Postclosure Guidelines

§960.4   Postclosure guidelines.

The guidelines in this subpart specify the factors to be considered in evaluating and comparing sites on the basis of expected repository performance after closure. The postclosure guidelines are separated into a system guideline and eight technical guidelines. The system guideline establishes waste containment and isolation requirements that are based on NRC and EPA regulations. These requirements must be met by the repository system, which contains natural barriers and engineered barriers. The engineered barriers will be designed to complement the natural barriers, which provide the primary means for waste isolation.

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§960.4-1   System guideline.

(a) Qualifying Condition. The geologic setting at the site shall allow for the physical separation of radioactive waste from the accessible environment after closure in accordance with the requirements of 40 CFR part 191, subpart B, as implemented by the provisions of 10 CFR part 60. The geologic setting at the site will allow for the use of engineered barriers to ensure compliance with the requirements of 40 CFR part 191 and 10 CFR part 60 (see appendix I of this part).

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§960.4-2   Technical guidelines.

The technical guidelines in this subpart set forth qualifying, favorable, potentially adverse, and, in five guidelines, disqualifying conditions on the characteristics, processes, and events that may influence the performance of a repository system after closure. The favorable conditions and the potentially adverse conditions under each guideline are not listed in any assumed order of importance. Potentially adverse conditions will be considered if they affect waste isolation within the controlled area even though such conditions may occur outside the controlled area. The technical guidelines that follow establish conditions that shall be considered in determining compliance with the qualifying condition of the postclosure system guideline. For each technical guideline, an evaluation of qualification or disqualification shall be made in accordance with the requirements specified in subpart B.

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§960.4-2-1   Geohydrology.

(a) Qualifying condition. The present and expected geohydrologic setting of a site shall be compatible with waste containment and isolation. The geohydrologic setting, considering the characteristics of and the processes operating within the geologic setting, shall permit compliance with (1) the requirements specified in §960.4-1 for radionuclide releases to the accessible environment and (2) the requirements specified in 10 CFR 60.113 for radionuclide releases from the engineered-barrier system using reasonably available technology.

(b) Favorable conditions. (1) Site conditions such that the pre-waste-emplacement ground-water travel time along any path of likely radionuclide travel from the disturbed zone to the accessible environment would be more than 10,000 years.

(2) The nature and rates of hydrologic processes operating within the geologic setting during the Quaternary Period would, if continued into the future, not affect or would favorably affect the ability of the geologic repository to isolate the waste during the next 100,000 years.

(3) Sites that have stratigraphic, structural, and hydrologic features such that the geohydrologic system can be readily characterized and modeled with reasonable certainty.

(4) For disposal in the saturated zone, at least one of the following pre-waste-emplacement conditions exists:

(i) A host rock and immediately surrounding geohydrologic units with low hydraulic conductivities.

(ii) A downward or predominantly horizontal hydraulic gradient in the host rock and in the immediately surrounding geohydrologic units.

(iii) A low hydraulic gradient in and between the host rock and the immediately surrounding geohydrologic units.

(iv) High effective porosity together with low hydraulic conductivity in rock units along paths of likely radionuclide travel between the host rock and the accessible environment.

(5) For disposal in the unsaturated zone, at least one of the following pre-waste-emplacement conditions exists:

(i) A low and nearly constant degree of saturation in the host rock and in the immediately surrounding geohydrologic units.

(ii) A water table sufficiently below the underground facility such that the fully saturated voids continuous with the water table do not encounter the host rock.

(iii) A geohydrologic unit above the host rock that would divert the downward infiltration of water beyond the limits of the emplaced waste.

(iv) A host rock that provides for free drainage.

(v) A climatic regime in which the average annual historical precipitation is a small fraction of the average annual potential evapotranspiration.

Note: The DOE will, in accordance with the general principles set forth in §960.1 of these regulations, revise the guidelines as necessary, to ensure consistency with the final NRC regulations on the unsaturated zone, which were published as a proposed rule on February 16, 1984, in 49 FR 5934.

(c) Potentially adverse conditions. (1) Expected changes in geohydrologic conditions—such as changes in the hydraulic gradient, the hydraulic conductivity, the effective porosity, and the ground-water flux through the host rock and the surrounding geohydrologic units—sufficient to significantly increase the transport of radionuclides to the accessible environment as compared with pre-waste-emplacement conditions.

(2) The presence of ground-water sources, suitable for crop irrigation or human consumption without treatment, along ground-water flow paths from the host rock to the accessible environment.

(3) The presence in the geologic setting of stratigraphic or structural features—such as dikes, sills, faults, shear zones, folds, dissolution effects, or brine pockets—if their presence could significantly contribute to the difficulty of characterizing or modeling the geohydrologic system.

(d) Disqualifying condition. A site shall be disqualified if the pre-waste-emplacement ground-water travel time from the disturbed zone to the accessible environment is expected to be less than 1,000 years along any pathway of likely and significant radionuclide travel.

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§960.4-2-2   Geochemistry.

(a) Qualifying condition. The present and expected geochemical characteristics of a site shall be compatible with waste containment and isolation. Considering the likely chemical interactions among radionuclides, the host rock, and the ground water, the characteristics of and the processes operating within the geologic setting shall permit compliance with (1) the requirements specified in §960.4-1 for radionuclide releases to the accessible environment and (2) the requirements specified in 10 CFR 60.113 for radionuclide releases from the engineered-barrier system using reasonably available technology.

(b) Favorable conditions. (1) The nature and rates of the geochemical processes operating within the geologic setting during the Quaternary Period would, if continued into the future, not affect or would favorably affect the ability of the geologic repository to isolate the waste during the next 100,000 years.

(2) Geochemical conditions that promote the precipitation, diffusion into the rock matrix, or sorption of radionuclides; inhibit the formation of particulates, colloids, inorganic complexes, or organic complexes that increase the mobility of radionuclides; or inhibit the transport of radionuclides by particulates, colloids, or complexes.

(3) Mineral assemblages that, when subjected to expected repository conditions, would remain unaltered or would alter to mineral assemblages with equal or increased capability to retard radionuclide transport.

(4) A combination of expected geochemical conditions and a volumetric flow rate of water in the host rock that would allow less than 0.001 percent per year of the total radionuclide inventory in the repository at 1,000 years to be dissolved.

(5) Any combination of geochemical and physical retardation processes that would decrease the predicted peak cumulative releases of radionuclides to the accessible environment by a factor of 10 as compared to those predicted on the basis of ground-water travel time without such retardation.

(c) Potentially adverse conditions. (1) Ground-water conditions in the host rock that could affect the solubility or the chemical reactivity of the engineered-barrier system to the extent that the expected repository performance could be compromised.

(2) Geochemical processes or conditions that could reduce the sorption of radionuclides or degrade the rock strength.

(3) Pre-waste-emplacement ground-water conditions in the host rock that are chemically oxidizing.

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§960.4-2-3   Rock characteristics.

(a) Qualifying condition. The present and expected characteristics of the host rock and surrounding units shall be capable of accommodating the thermal, chemical, mechanical, and radiation stresses expected to be induced by repository construction, operation, and closure and by expected interactions among the waste, host rock, ground water, and engineered components. The characteristics of and the processes operating within the geologic setting shall permit compliance with (1) the requirements specified in §960.4-1 for radionuclide releases to the accessible environment and (2) the requirements set forth in 10 CFR 60.113 for radionuclide releases from the engineered-barrier system using reasonably available technology.

(b) Favorable Conditions. (1) A host rock that is sufficiently thick and laterally extensive to allow significant flexibility in selecting the depth, configuration, and location of the underground facility to ensure isolation.

(2) A host rock with a high thermal conductivity, a low coefficient of thermal expansion, or sufficient ductility to seal fractures induced by repository construction, operation, or closure or by interactions among the waste, host rock, ground water, and engineered components.

(c) Potentially adverse conditions. (1) Rock conditions that could require engineering measures beyond reasonably available technology for the construction, operation, and closure of the repository, if such measures are necessary to ensure waste containment or isolation.

(2) Potential for such phenomena as thermally induced fractures, the hydration or dehydration of mineral components, brine migration, or other physical, chemical, or radiation-related phenomena that could be expected to affect waste containment or isolation.

(3) A combination of geologic structure, geochemical and thermal properties, and hydrologic conditions in the host rock and surrounding units such that the heat generated by the waste could significantly decrease the isolation provided by the host rock as compared with pre-waste-emplacement conditions.

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§960.4-2-4   Climatic changes.

(a) Qualifying condition. The site shall be located where future climatic conditions will not be likely to lead to radionuclide releases greater than those allowable under the requirements specified in §960.4-1. In predicting the likely future climatic conditions at a site, the DOE will consider the global, regional, and site climatic patterns during the Quaternary Period, considering the geomorphic evidence of the climatic conditions in the geologic setting.

(b) Favorable conditions. (1) A surface-water system such that expected climatic cycles over the next 100,000 years would not adversely affect waste isolation.

(2) A geologic setting in which climatic changes have had little effect on the hydrologic system throughout the Quaternary Period.

(c) Potentially adverse conditions. (1) Evidence that the water table could rise sufficiently over the next 10,000 years to saturate the underground facility in a previously unsaturated host rock.

(2) Evidence that climatic changes over the next 10,000 years could cause perturbations in the hydraulic gradient, the hydraulic conductivity, the effective porosity, or the ground-water flux through the host rock and the surrounding geohydrologic units, sufficient to significantly increase the transport of radionuclides to the accessible environment.

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§960.4-2-5   Erosion.

(a) Qualifying condition. The site shall allow the underground facility to be placed at a depth such that erosional processes acting upon the surface will not be likely to lead to radionuclide releases greater than those allowable under the requirements specified in §960.4-1. In predicting the likelihood of potentially disruptive erosional processes, the DOE will consider the climatic, tectonic, and geomorphic evidence of rates and patterns of erosion in the geologic setting during the Quaternary Period.

(b) Favorable conditions. (1) Site conditions that permit the emplacement of waste at a depth of at least 300 meters below the directly overlying ground surface.

(2) A geologic setting where the nature and rates of the erosional processes that have been operating during the Quaternary Period are predicted to have less than one chance in 10,000 over the next 10,000 years of leading to releases of radionuclides to the accessible environment.

(3) Site conditions such that waste exhumation would not be expected to occur during the first one million years after repository closure.

(c) Potentially adverse conditions. (1) A geologic setting that shows evidence of extreme erosion during the Quaternary Period.

(2) A geologic setting where the nature and rates of geomorphic processes that have been operating during the Quaternary Period could, during the first 10,000 years after closure, adversely affect the ability of the geologic repository to isolate the waste.

(d) Disqualifying condition. The site shall be disqualified if site conditions do not allow all portions of the underground facility to be situated at least 200 meters below the directly overlying ground surface.

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§960.4-2-6   Dissolution.

(a) Qualifying condition. The site shall be located such that any subsurface rock dissolution will not be likely to lead to radionuclide releases greater than those allowable under the requirements specified in §960.4-1. In predicting the likelihood of dissolution within the geologic setting at a site, the DOE will consider the evidence of dissolution within that setting during the Quaternary Period, including the locations and characteristics of dissolution fronts or other dissolution features, if identified.

(b) Favorable condition. No evidence that the host rock within the site was subject to significant dissolution during the Quaternary Period.

(c) Potentially adverse condition. Evidence of dissolution within the geologic setting—such as breccia pipes, dissolution cavities, significant volumetric reduction of the host rock or surrounding strata, or any structural collapse—such that a hydraulic interconnection leading to a loss of waste isolation could occur.

(d) Disqualifying condition. The site shall be disqualified if it is likely that, during the first 10,000 years after closure, active dissolution, as predicted on the basis of the geologic record, would result in a loss of waste isolation.

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§960.4-2-7   Tectonics.

(a) Qualifying condition. The site shall be located in a geologic setting where future tectonic processes or events will not be likely to lead to radionuclide releases greater than those allowable under the requirements specified in §960.4-1. In predicting the likelihood of potentially disruptive tectonic processes or events, the DOE will consider the structural, stratigraphic, geophysical, and seismic evidence for the nature and rates of tectonic processes and events in the geologic setting during the Quaternary Period.

(b) Favorable condition. The nature and rates of igneous activity and tectonic processes (such as uplift, subsidence, faulting, or folding), if any, operating within the geologic setting during the Quaternary Period would, if continued into the future, have less than one chance in 10,000 over the first 10,000 years after closure of leading to releases of radionuclides to the accessible environment.

(c) Potentially adverse conditions. (1) Evidence of active folding, faulting, diapirism, uplift, subsidence, or other tectonic processes or igneous activity within the geologic setting during the Quaternary Period.

(2) Historical earthquakes within the geologic setting of such magnitude and intensity that, if they recurred, could affect waste containment or isolation.

(3) Indications, based on correlations of earthquakes with tectonic processes and features, that either the frequency of occurrence or the magnitude of earthquakes within the geologic setting may increase.

(4) More-frequent occurrences of earthquakes or earthquakes of higher magnitude than are representative of the region in which the geologic setting is located.

(5) Potential for natural phenomena such as landslides, subsidence, or volcanic activity of such magnitudes that they could create large-scale surface-water impoundments that could change the regional ground-water flow system.

(6) Potential for tectonic deformations—such as uplift, subsidence, folding, or faulting—that could adversely affect the regional ground-water flow system.

(d) Disqualifying condition. A site shall be disqualified if, based on the geologic record during the Quaternary Period, the nature and rates of fault movement or other ground motion are expected to be such that a loss of waste isolation is likely to occur.

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§960.4-2-8   Human interference.

The site shall be located such that activities by future generations at or near the site will not be likely to affect waste containment and isolation. In assessing the likelihood of such activities, the DOE will consider the estimated effectiveness of the permanent markers and records required by 10 CFR part 60, taking into account site-specific factors, as stated in §§960.4-2-8-1 and 960.4-2-8-2, that could compromise their continued effectiveness.

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§960.4-2-8-1   Natural resources.

(a) Qualifying condition. This site shall be located such that—considering permanent markers and records and reasonable projections of value, scarcity, and technology—the natural resources, including ground water suitable for crop irrigation or human consumption without treatment, present at or near the site will not be likely to give rise to interference activities that would lead to radionuclide releases greater than those allowable under the requirements specified in §960.4-1.

(b) Favorable conditions. (1) No known natural resources that have or are projected to have in the foreseeable future a value great enough to be considered a commercially extractable resource.

(2) Ground water with 10,000 parts per million or more of total dissolved solids along any path of likely radionuclide travel from the host rock to the accessible environment.

(c) Potentially adverse conditions. (1) Indications that the site contains naturally occurring materials, whether or not actually identified in such form that (i) economic extraction is potentially feasible during the foreseeable future or (ii) such materials have a greater gross value, net value, or commercial potential than the average for other areas of similar size that are representative of, and located in, the geologic setting.

(2) Evidence of subsurface mining or extraction for resources within the site if it could affect waste containment or isolation.

(3) Evidence of drilling within the site for any purpose other than repository-site evaluation to a depth sufficient to affect waste containment and isolation.

(4) Evidence of a significant concentration of any naturally occurring material that is not widely available from other sources.

(5) Potential for foreseeable human activities—such as ground-water withdrawal, extensive irrigation, subsurface injection of fluids, underground pumped storage, military activities, or the construction of large-scale surface-water impoundments—that could adversely change portions of the ground-water flow system important to waste isolation.

(d) Disqualifying conditions. A site shall be disqualified if—

(1) Previous exploration, mining, or extraction activities for resources of commercial importance at the site have created significant pathways between the projected underground facility and the accessible environment; or

(2) Ongoing or likely future activities to recover presently valuable natural mineral resources outside the controlled area would be expected to lead to an inadvertent loss of waste isolation.

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§960.4-2-8-2   Site ownership and control.

(a) Qualifying condition. The site shall be located on land for which the DOE can obtain, in accordance with the requirements of 10 CFR part 60, ownership, surface and subsurface rights, and control of access that are required in order that potential surface and subsurface activities as the site will not be likely to lead to radionuclide releases greater than those allowable under the requirements specified in §960.4-1.

(b) Favorable condition. Present ownership and control of land and all surface and subsurface rights by the DOE.

(c) Potentially adverse condition. Projected land-ownership conflicts that cannot be successfully resolved through voluntary purchase-sell agreements, nondisputed agency-to-agency transfers of title, or Federal condemnation proceedings.

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Subpart D—Preclosure Guidelines

§960.5   Preclosure guidelines.

The guidelines in this subpart specify the factors to be considered in evaluating and comparing sites on the basis of expected repository performance before closure. The preclosure guidelines are separated into three system guidelines and eleven technical guidelines.

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§960.5-1   System guidelines.

(a) Qualifying conditions—(1) Preclosure radiological safety. Any projected radiological exposures of the general public and any projected releases of radioactive materials to restricted and unrestricted areas during repository operation and closure shall meet the applicable safety requirements set forth in 10 CFR part 20, 10 CFR part 60, and 40 CFR 191, subpart A (see appendix II of this part).

(2) Environment, socioeconomics, and transportation. During repository siting, construction, operation, closure, and decommissioning the public and the environment shall be adequately protected from the hazards posed by the disposal of radioactive waste.

(3) Ease and cost of siting, construction, operation, and closure. Repository siting, construction, operation, and closure shall be demonstrated to be technically feasible on the basis of reasonably available technology, and the associated costs shall be demonstrated to be reasonable relative to other available and comparable siting options.

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§960.5-2   Technical guidelines.

The technical guidelines in this subpart set forth qualifying, favorable, potentially adverse, and, in seven guidelines, disqualifying conditions for the characteristics, processes, and events that influence the suitability of a site relative to the preclosure system guidelines. These conditions are separated into three main groups: Preclosure radiological safety; environment, socioeconomics, and transportation; and ease and cost of siting, construction, operation, and closure. The first group includes conditions on population density and distribution, site ownership and control, meteorology, and offsite installations and operations. The second group includes conditions related to environmental quality and socioeconomic impacts in areas potentially affected by a repository and to the transportation of waste to a repository site. The third group includes conditions on the surface characteristics of the site, the characteristics of the host rock and surrounding strata, hydrology, and tectonics. The individual technical guidelines within each group, as well as the favorable conditions and the potentially adverse conditions under each guideline, are not listed in any assumed order of importance. The technical guidelines that follow establish conditions that shall be considered in determining compliance with the qualifying conditions of the preclosure system guidelines. For each technical guideline, an evaluation of qualification or disqualification shall be made in accordance with the requirements specified in subpart B.

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Preclosure Radiological Safety

§960.5-2-1   Population density and distribution.

(a) Qualifying condition. The site shall be located such that, during repository operation and closure, (1) the expected average radiation dose to members of the public within any highly populated area will not be likely to exceed a small fraction of the limits allowable under the requirements specified in §960.5-1(a)(1), and (2) the expected radiation dose to any member of the public in an unrestricted area will not be likely to exceed the limit allowable under the requirements specified in §960.5-1(a)(1).

(b) Favorable conditions. (1) A low population density in the general region of the site.

(2) Remoteness of site from highly populated areas.

(c) Potentially adverse conditions. (1) High residential, seasonal, or daytime population density within the projected site boundaries.

(2) Proximity of the site to highly populated areas, or to areas having at least 1,000 individuals in an area 1 mile by 1 mile as defined by the most recent decennial count of the U.S. census.

(d) Disqualifying conditions. A site shall be disqualified if—

(1) Any surface facility of a repository would be located in a highly populated area; or

(2) Any surface facility of a repository would be located adjacent to an area 1 mile by 1 mile having a population of not less than 1,000 individuals as enumerated by the most recent U.S. census; or

(3) The DOE could not develop an emergency preparedness program which meets the requirements specified in DOE Order 5500.3 (Reactor and Non-Reactor Facility Emergency Planning, Preparedness, and Response Program for Department of Energy Operations) and related guides or, when issued by the NRC, in 10 CFR part 60, subpart I, “Emergency Planning Criteria.”

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§960.5-2-2   Site ownership and control.

(a) Qualifying condition. The site shall be located on land for which the DOE can obtain, in accordance with the requirements of 10 CFR 60.121, ownership, surface and subsurface rights, and control of access that are required in order that surface and subsurface activities during repository operation and closure will not be likely to lead to radionuclide releases to an unrestricted area greater than those allowable under the requirements specified in §960.5-1(a)(1).

(b) Favorable condition. Present ownership and control of land and all surface and subsurface mineral and water rights by the DOE.

(c) Potentially adverse condition. Projected land-ownership conflicts that cannot be successfully resolved through voluntary purchase-sell agreements, nondisputed agency-to-agency transfers of title, or Federal condemnation proceedings.

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§960.5-2-3   Meteorology.

(a) Qualifying condition. The site shall be located such that expected meteorological conditions during repository operation and closure will not be likely to lead to radionuclide releases to an unrestricted area greater than those allowable under the requirements specified in §960.5-1(a)(1).

(b) Favorable condition. Prevailing meteorological conditions such that any radioactive releases to the atmosphere during repository operation and closure would be effectively dispersed, thereby reducing significantly the likelihood of unacceptable exposure to any member of the public in the vicinity of the repository.

(c) Potentially adverse conditions. (1) Prevailing meteorological conditions such that radioactive emissions from repository operation of closure could be preferentially transported toward localities in the vicinity of the repository with higher population densities than are the average for the region.

(2) History of extreme weather phenomena—such as hurricanes, tornadoes, severe floods, or severe and frequent winter storms—that could significantly affect repository operation or closure.

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§960.5-2-4   Offsite installations and operations.

(a) Qualifying condition. The site shall be located such that present projected effects from nearby industrial, transportation, and military installations and operations, including atomic energy defense activities, (1) will not significantly affect repository siting, construction, operation, closure, or decommissioning or can be accommodated by engineering measures and (2), when considered together with emissions from repository operation and closure, will not be likely to lead to radionuclide releases to an unrestricted area greater than those allowable under the requirements specified in §960.5-1(a)(1).

(b) Favorable condition. Absence of contributing radioactive releases from other nuclear installations and operations that must be considered under the requirements of 40 CFR 191, subpart A.

(c) Potentially adverse conditions. (1) The presence of nearby potentially hazardous installations or operations that could adversely affect repository operation or closure.

(2) Presence of other nuclear installations and operations, subject to the requirements of 40 CFR part 190 or 40 CFR part 191, subpart A, with actual or projected releases near the maximum value permissible under those standards.

(d) Disqualifying condition. A site shall be disqualified if atomic energy defense activities in proximity to the site are expected to conflict irreconcilably with repository siting, construction, operation, closure, or decommissioning.

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Environment, Socioeconomics, and Transportation

§960.5-2-5   Environmental quality.

(a) Qualifying condition. The site shall be located such that (1) the quality of the environment in the affected area during this and future generations will be adequately protected during repository siting, construction, operation, closure, and decommissioning, and projected environmental impacts in the affected area can be mitigated to an acceptable degree, taking into account programmatic, technical, social, economic, and environmental factors; and (2) the requirements specified in §960.5-1(a)(2) can be met.

(b) Favorable conditions. (1) Projected ability to meet, within time constraints, all Federal, State, and local procedural and substantive environmental requirements applicable to the site and the activities proposed to take place thereon.

(2) Potential significant adverse environmental impacts to present and future generations can be mitigated to an insignificant level through the application of reasonable measures, taking into account programmatic, technical, social, economic, and environmental factors.

(c) Potentially adverse conditions. (1) Projected major conflict with applicable Federal, State, or local environmental requirements.

(2) Projected significant adverse environmental impacts that cannot be avoided or mitigated.

(3) Proximity to, or projected significant adverse environmental impacts of the repository or its support facilities on, a component of the National Park System, the National Wildlife Refuge System, the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, the National Wilderness Preservation System, or National Forest Land.

(4) Proximity to, and projected significant adverse environmental impacts of the repository or its support facilities on, a significant State or regional protected resource area, such as a State park, a wildlife area, or a historical area.

(5) Proximity to, and projected significant adverse environmental impacts of the repository and its support facilities on, a significant Native American resource, such as a major Indian religious site, or other sites of unique cultural interest.

(6) Presence of critical habitats for threatened or endangered species that may be compromised by the repository or its support facilities.

(d) Disqualifying conditions. Any of the following conditions shall disqualify a site:

(1) During repository siting, construction, operation, closure, or decommissioning the quality of the environment in the affected area could not be adequately protected or projected environmental impacts in the affected area could not be mitigated to an acceptable degree, taking into account programmatic, technical, social, economic, and environmental factors.

(2) Any part of the restricted area or repository support facilities would be located within the boundaries of a component of the National Park System, the National Wildlife Refuge System, the National Wilderness Preservation System, or the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.

(3) The presence of the restricted area or the repository support facilities would conflict irreconcilably with the previously designated resource-preservation use of a component of the National Park System, the National Wildlife Refuge System, the National Wilderness Preservation System, the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, or National Forest Lands, or any comparably significant State protected resource that was dedicated to resource preservation at the time of the enactment of the Act.

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§960.5-2-6   Socioeconomic impacts.

(a) Qualifying condition. The site shall be located such that (1) any significant adverse social and/or economic impacts induced in communities and surrounding regions by repository siting, construction, operation, closure, and decommissioning can be offset by reasonable mitigation or compensation, as determined by a process of analysis, planning, and consultation among the DOE, affected State and local government jurisdictions, and affected Indian tribes; and (2) the requirements specified in §960.5-1(a)(2) can be met.

(b) Favorable conditions. (1) Ability of an affected area to absorb the project-related population changes without significant disruptions of community services and without significant impacts on housing supply and demand.

(2) Availability of an adequate labor force in the affected area.

(3) Projected net increases in employment and business sales, improved community services, and increased government revenues in the affected area.

(4) No projected substantial disruption of primary sectors of the economy of the affected area.

(c) Potentially adverse conditions. (1) Potential for significant repository-related impacts on community services, housing supply and demand, and the finances of State and local government agencies in the affected area.

(2) Lack of an adequate labor force in the affected area.

(3) Need for repository-related purchase or acquisition of water rights, if such rights could have significant adverse impacts on the present or future development of the affected area.

(4) Potential for major disruptions of primary sectors of the economy of the affected area.

(d) Disqualifying condition. A site shall be disqualified if repository construction, operation, or closure would significantly degrade the quality, or significantly reduce the quantity, of water from major sources of offsite supplies presently suitable for human consumption or crop irrigation and such impacts cannot be compensated for, or mitigated by, reasonable measures.

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§960.5-2-7   Transportation.

(a) Qualifying condition. The site shall be located such that (1) the access routes constructed from existing local highways and railroads to the site (i) will not conflict irreconcilably with the previously designated use of any resource listed in §960.5-2-5(d) (2) and (3); (ii) can be designed and constructed using reasonably available technology; (iii) will not require transportation system components to meet performance standards more stringent than those specified in the applicable DOT and NRC regulations, nor require the development of new packaging containment technology; (iv) will allow transportation operations to be conducted without causing an unacceptable risk to the public or unacceptable environmental impacts, taking into account programmatic, technical, social, economic, and environmental factors; and (2) the requirements of §960.5-1(a)(2) can be met.

(b) Favorable conditions. (1) Availability of access routes from local existing highways and railroads to the site which have any of the following characteristics:

(i) Such routes are relatively short and economical to construct as compared to access routes for other comparable siting options.

(ii) Federal condemnation is not required to acquire rights-of-way for the access routes.

(iii) Cuts, fills, tunnels, or bridges are not required.

(iv) Such routes are free of sharp curves or steep grades and are not likely to be affected by landslides or rock slides.

(v) Such routes bypass local cities and towns.

(2) Proximity to local highways and railroads that provide access to regional highways and railroads and are adequate to serve the repository without significant upgrading or reconstruction.

(3) Proximity to regional highways, mainline railroads, or inland waterways that provide access to the national transportation system.

(4) Availability of a regional railroad system with a minimum number of interchange points at which train crew and equipment changes would be required.

(5) Total projected life-cycle cost and risk for transportation of all wastes designated for the repository site which are significantly lower than those for comparable siting options, considering locations of present and potential sources of waste, interim storage facilities, and other repositories.

(6) Availability of regional and local carriers—truck, rail, and water—which have the capability and are willing to handle waste shipments to the repository.

(7) Absence of legal impediment with regard to compliance with Federal regulations for the transportation of waste in or through the affected State and adjoining States.

(8) Plans, procedures, and capabilities for response to radioactive waste transportation accidents in the affected State that are completed or being developed.

(9) A regional meteorological history indicating that significant transportation disruptions would not be routine seasonal occurrences.

(c) Potentially adverse conditions. (1) Access routes to existing local highways and railroads that are expensive to construct relative to comparable siting options.

(2) Terrain between the site and existing local highways and railroads such that steep grades, sharp switchbacks, rivers, lakes, landslides, rock slides, or potential sources of hazard to incoming waste shipments will be encountered along access routes to the site.

(3) Existing local highways and railroads that could require significant reconstruction or upgrading to provide adequate routes to the regional and national transportation system.

(4) Any local condition that could cause the transportation-related costs, environmental impacts, or risk to public health and safety from waste transportation operations to be significantly greater than those projected for other comparable siting options.

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Ease and Cost of Siting, Construction, Operation, and Closure

§960.5-2-8   Surface characteristics.

(a) Qualifying condition. The site shall be located such that, considering the surface characteristics and conditions of the site and surrounding area, including surface-water systems and the terrain, the requirements specified in §960.5-1(a)(3) can be met during repository siting, construction, operation, and closure.

(b) Favorable conditions. (1) Generally flat terrain.

(2) Generally well-drained terrain.

(c) Potentially adverse condition. Surface characteristics that could lead to the flooding of surface or underground facilities by the occupancy and modification of flood plains, the failure of existing or planned man-made surface-water impoundments, or the failure of engineered components of the repository.

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§960.5-2-9   Rock characteristics.

(a) Qualifying condition. The site shall be located such that (1) the thickness and lateral extent and the characteristics and composition of the host rock will be suitable for accommodation of the underground facility; (2) repository construction, operation, and closure will not cause undue hazard to personnel; and (3) the requirements specified in §960.5-1(a)(3) can be met.

(b) Favorable conditions. (1) A host rock that is sufficiently thick and laterally extensive to allow significant flexibility in selecting the depth, configuration, and location of the underground facility.

(2) A host rock with characteristics that would require minimal or no artificial support for underground openings to ensure safe repository construction, operation, and closure.

(c) Potentially adverse conditions. (1) A host rock that is suitable for repository construction, operation, and closure, but is so thin or laterally restricted that little flexibility is available for selecting the depth, configuration, or location of an underground facility.

(2) In situ characteristics and conditions that could require engineering measures beyond reasonably available technology in the construction of the shafts and underground facility.

(3) Geomechanical properties that could necessitate extensive maintenance of the underground openings during repository operation and closure.

(4) Potential for such phenomena as thermally induced fracturing, the hydration and dehydration of mineral components, or other physical, chemical, or radiation-related phenomena that could lead to safety hazards or difficulty in retrieval during repository operation.

(5) Existing faults, shear zones, pressurized brine pockets, dissolution effects, or other stratigraphic or structural features that could compromise the safety of repository personnel because of water inflow or construction problems.

(d) Disqualifying condition. The site shall be disqualified if the rock characteristics are such that the activities associated with repository construction, operation, or closure are predicted to cause significant risk to the health and safety of personnel, taking into account mitigating measures that use reasonably available technology.

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§960.5-2-10   Hydrology.

(a) Qualifying condition. The site shall be located such that the geohydrologic setting of the site will (1) be compatible with the activities required for repository construction, operation, and closure; (2) not compromise the intended functions of the shaft liners and seals; and (3) permit the requirements specified in §960.5-1(a)(3) to be met.

(b) Favorable conditions. (1) Absence of aquifers between the host rock and the land surface.

(2) Absence of surface-water systems that could potentially cause flooding of the repository.

(3) Availability of the water required for repository construction, operation, and closure.

(c) Potentially adverse condition. Ground-water conditions that could require complex engineering measures that are beyond reasonably available technology for repository construction, operation, and closure.

(d) Disqualifying condition. A site shall be disqualified if, based on expected ground-water conditions, it is likely that engineering measures that are beyond reasonably available technology will be required for exploratory-shaft construction or for repository construction, operation, or closure.

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§960.5-2-11   Tectonics.

(a) Qualifying Conditions. The site shall be located in a geologic setting in which any projected effects of expected tectonic phenomena or igneous activity on repository construction, operation, or closure will be such that the requirements specified in §960.5-1(a)(3) can be met.

(b) Favorable Condition. The nature and rates of faulting, if any, within the geologic setting are such that the magnitude and intensity of the associated seismicity are significantly less than those generally allowable for the construction and operation of nuclear facilities.

(c) Potentially Adverse Conditions. (1) Evidence of active faulting within the geologic setting.

(2) Historical earthquakes or past man-induced seismicity that, if either were to recur, could produce ground motion at the site in excess of reasonable design limits.

(3) Evidence, based on correlations of earthquakes with tectonic processes and features, (e.g., faults) within the geologic setting, that the magnitude of earthquakes at the site during repository construction, operation, and closure may be larger then predicted from historical seismicity.

(d) Disqualifying Condition. A site shall be disqualified if, based on the expected nature and rates of fault movement or other ground motion, it is likely that engineering measures that are beyond reasonably available technology will be required for exploratory-shaft construction or for repository construction, operation, or closure.

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Appendix I to Part 960—NRC and EPA Requirements for Postclosure Repository Performance

Under proposed 40 CFR part 191, subpart B—Environmental Standards for Disposal, §191.13, “Containment Requirements”, specifies that for 10,000 years after disposal (a) releases of radioactive materials to the accessible environment that are estimated to have more than one chance in 100 of occurring over a 10,000 year period (“reasonably foreseeable releases”) shall be projected to be less than the quantities permitted by Table 2 of that regulation's appendix; and (b) for “very unlikely releases” (i.e., those estimated to have between one chance in 100 and one chance in 10,000 of occurring over a 10,000 year period), the limits specified in Table 2 would be multiplied by 10. The basis for Table 2 is an upper limit on long term risks of 1,000 health effects over 10,000 years for a repository containing wastes generated from 100,000 metric tons of heavy metal of reactor fuel. For releases involving more than one radionuclide, the allowed release for each radionuclide is reduced to the fraction of its limit that insures that the overall limit on harm is not exceeded. Additionally, to provide confidence needed for compliance with the containment requirements specified above, §191.14, “Assurance Requirements”, specifies the disposal of radioactive waste in accordance with seven requirements, relating to prompt disposal of waste; selection and design of disposal systems to keep releases to the accessible environment as small as reasonably achievable; engineered and natural barriers; nonreliance on active institutional controls after closure; passive controls after closure; natural resource areas; and design of disposal systems to allow future recovery of wastes.

The guidelines will be revised as necessary after the adoption of final regulations by the EPA.

The implementation of 40 CFR part 191, subpart B is required by 10 CFR 60.112. 10 CFR 60.113 establishes minimum conditions to be met for engineered components and ground-water flow; specifically: (1) Containment of radioactive waste within the waste packages will be substantially complete for a period to be determined by the NRC taking into account the factors specified in 10 CFR 60.113(b) provided that such period shall be not less than 300 years nor more than 1,000 years after permanent closure of the geologic repository; (2) the release rate of any radionuclide from the engineered barrier system following the containment period shall not exceed one part in 100,000 per year of the inventory of that radionuclide calculated to be present at 1,000 years following permanent closure, or such other fraction of the inventory as may be approved or specified by the NRC, provided that this requirement does not apply to any radionuclide which is released at a rate less than 0.1% of the calculated total release rate limit. The calculated total release rate limit shall be taken to be one part in 100,000 per year of the inventory of radioactive waste originally emplaced in the underground facility that remains after 1,000 years of radioactive decay; and (3) the geologic repository shall be located so that pre-waste-emplacement ground-water travel time along the fastest path of likely radionuclide travel from the disturbed zone to the accessible environment shall be at least 1,000 years or such other travel time as may be approved or specified by the NRC.

The guidelines will be revised as necessary to ensure consistency with 10 CFR part 60.

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Appendix II to Part 960—NRC and EPA Requirements for Preclosure Repository Performance

Under proposed 40 CFR part 191, subpart A—Environmental Standards for Management and Storage, Section 191.03, “Standards for Normal Operations”, specifies: (1) That operations should be conducted so as to reduce exposure to members of the public to the extent reasonably achievable, taking into account technical, social, and economic considerations; and (2) that, except for variances permitted for unusual operations under Section 191.04 as an upper limit, normal operations shall be conducted in such a manner as to provide reasonable assurance that the combined annual dose equivalent to any member of the public due to: (i) operations covered by 40 CFR part 190, (ii) planned discharges of radioactive material to the general environment from operations covered by this subpart, and (iii) direct radiation from these operations; shall not exceed 25 millirems to the whole body, 75 millirems to the thyroid, or 25 millirems to any other organ.

The guidelines will be revised as necessary after the adoption of final regulations by the EPA.

The implementation of 40 CFR part 191, subpart A and 10 CFR part 20 is required by 10 CFR 60.111. 10 CFR 60.111 also specifies requirements for waste retrieval, if necessary, including considerations of design, backfilling, and schedule. 10 CFR part 20 establishes (a) exposure limits for operating personnel and (b) permissible concentrations of radionuclides in uncontrolled areas for air and water. The latter are generally less restrictive than 40 CFR 191, subpart A, but may be limiting under certain conditions (i.e., if used as a maximum for short durations rather than annual averages).

The guidelines will be revised as necessary to ensure consistency with 10 CFR part 60.

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Appendix III to Part 960—Application of the System and Technical Guidelines During the Siting Process

1. This appendix presents a table that specifies how the guidelines of subparts C and D are to be applied at certain decision points of the siting process. The decision points, as referenced in the table, are defined as follows:

“Potentially acceptable” means the decision point at which a site is identified as potentially acceptable.

“Nomination and recommendation” means the decision point at which a site is nominated as suitable for characterization or recommended as a candidate site for characterization.

2. The findings resulting from the application of a disqualifying condition for any particular guideline at a given decision point are denoted in the table by the numeral 1 or 2. The numerals 1 and 2 signify the types of findings that are required and are defined as follows:

“1” means either of the following:

(a) The evidence does not support a finding that the site is disqualified.

         or

(b) The evidence supports a finding that the site is disqualified.

“2” means either of the following:

(a) The evidence supports a finding that the site is not disqualified on the basis of that evidence and is not likely to be disqualified.

         or

(b) The evidence supports a finding that the site is disqualified or is likely to be disqualified.

3. The findings resulting from the application of a qualifying condition for any particular guideline at a given decision point are denoted in the table by the numeral 3 or 4. The numerals 3 and 4 signify the types of findings that are required and are defined as follows:

“3” means either of the following:

(a) The evidence does not support a finding that the site is not likely to meet the qualifying condition.

         or

(b) The evidence supports a finding that the site is not likely to meet the qualifying condition, and therefore the site is disqualified.

4. If performance assessments are used to substantiate any of the above findings, those assessments shall include estimates of the effects of uncertainties in data and modeling.

5. For both the disqualifying and qualifying conditions of any guideline, a higher finding (e.g., a “2” finding rather than “1”) shall be made if there is sufficient evidence to support such a finding.

Findings Resulting From the Application of the Qualifying and Disqualifying Conditions of the Technical Guidelines at Major Siting Decisions

Section 960 Guideline Condition Siting decision
Potentially
acceptable
Nomination and recommendation
4-1(a)SystemQualifying3
4-2-1(a)Geohydrology......do3
4-2-1(d)......doDisqualifying1
4-2-2(a)GeochemistryQualifying3
4-2-3(a)Rock Characteristics......do3
4-2-4(a)Climatic Changes......do3
4-2-5(a)Erosion......do3
4-2-5(d)......doDisqualifying11
4-2-6(a)DissolutionQualifying3
4-2-6(d)......doDisqualifying11
4-2-7(a)TectonicsQualifying3
4-2-7(d)......doDisqualifying11
4-2-8-1(a)Natural ResourcesQualifying3
4-2-8-1(d)(1)......doDisqualifying11
4-2-8-1(d)(2)......do......do1
4-2-8-2(a)Site Ownership and ControlQualifying3
5-1(a)(1)System......do3
5-1(a)(2)......do......do3
5-1(a)(3)......do......do3
5-2-1(a)Population Density and Distribution......do3
5-2-1(d)(1)......doDisqualifying11
5-2-1(d)(2)......do......do11
5-2-1(d)(3)......do......do1
5-2-2(a)Site Ownership and ControlQualifying3
5-2-3(a)Meteorology......do3
5-2-4(a)Offsite Installations and Operations......do3
5-2-4(d)......doDisqualifying11
5-2-5(a)Environmental QualityQualifying3
5-2-5(d)(1)......doDisqualifying1
5-2-5(d)(2)......do......do11
5-2-5(d)(3)......do......do11
5-2-6(a)Socioeconomic ImpactsQualifying3
5-2-6(d)......doDisqualifying1
5-2-7(a)TransportationQualifying3
5-2-8(a)Surface Characteristics......do3
5-2-9(a)Rock Characteristics......do3
5-2-9(d)......doDisqualifying1
5-2-10(a)HydrologyQualifying3
5-2-10(d)......doDisqualifying1
5-2-11(a)TectonicsQualifying3
5-2-11(d)......doDisqualifying11

[49 FR 47752, Dec. 6, 1984, as amended at 66 FR 57335, Nov. 14, 2001]

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Appendix IV to Part 960—Types of Information for the Nomination of Sites as Suitable for Characterization

The types of information specified below are those that the DOE expects will be included in the evidence used for evaluations and applications of the guidelines of subparts C and D at the time of nomination of a site as suitable for characterization. The types of information listed under each guideline are considered to be the most significant for the evaluation of that guideline. However, the types of information listed under any particular guideline will be used, as necessary, for the evaluation of any other guideline. As stated in §960.3-1-4-2, the DOE will use technically conservative assumptions or extrapolations of regional data, where necessary, to supplement this information. The information specified below will be supplemented with conceptual models, as appropriate, and analyses of uncertainties in the data.

Before site-characterization studies and related nongeologic data gathering activities, the evidence is not expected to provide precise information, but, rather, to provide a reasonable basis for assessing the merits or shortcomings of the site against the guidelines of subparts C and D. Consequently, the types of information described below should be interpreted so as to accommodate differences among sites and differences in the information acquired before detailed studies.

The specific information required for the guideline applications set forth in appendix III of this part is expected to differ from site to site because of site-specific factors, both with regard to favorable and potentially adverse conditions and with regard to the sources and reliability of the information. The types of information specified in this appendix will be used except where the findings set forth in appendix III of this part can be arrived at by reasonable alternative means or the information is not required for the particular site.

Section 960.4-2-1   Geohydrology.

Description of the geohydrologic setting of the site, in context with its geologic setting, in order to estimate the pre-waste-emplacement ground-water flow conditions. The types of information to support this description should include—

  Location and estimated hydraulic properties of aquifers, confining units, and aquitards.

  Potential areas and modes of recharge and discharge for aquifers.

  Regional potentiometric surfaces of aquifers.

  Likely flow paths from the repository to locations in the expected accessible environment, as based on regional data.

  Preliminary estimates of ground-water travel times along the likely flow paths from the repository to locations in the expected accessible environment.

  Current use of principal aquifers and State or local management plans for such use.

Section 960.4-2-2   Geochemistry.

Description of the geochemical and hydrochemical conditions of the host rock, of the surrounding geohydrologic units, and along likely ground-water paths to locations in the expected accessible environment, in order to estimate the potential for the migration of radionuclides. The types of information to support this description should include—

  Petrology of the rocks.

  Mineralogy of the rocks and general characteristics of fracture fillings.

  Geochemical and mechanical stability of the minerals under expected repository conditions.

  General characteristics of the ground-water chemistry (e.g., reducing/oxidizing conditions and the principal ions that may affect the waste package or radionuclide behavior).

  Geochemical properties of minerals as related to radionuclide transport.

Section 960.4-2-3   Rock characteristics.

Description of the geologic and geomechanical characteristics of the site, in context with the geologic setting, in order to estimate the capability of the host rock and surrounding rock units to accommodate the thermal, mechanical, chemical, and radiation stresses expected to be induced by repository construction, operation, and closure and by expected interactions among the waste, host rock, ground-water, and engineered components of the repository system. The types of information to support this description should include—

  Approximate geology and stratigraphy of the site, including the depth, thickness, and lateral extent of the host rock and surrounding rock units.

  Approximate structural framework of the rock units and any major discontinuities identified from core samples.

  Approximate thermal, mechanical, and thermomechanical properties of the rocks, with consideration of the effects of time, stress, temperature, dimensional scale, and any major identified structural discontinuities.

  Estimates of the magnitude and direction of in situ stress and of temperature in the host rock and surrounding rock units.

Section 960.4-2-4   Climatic changes.

Description of the climatic conditions of the site region, in context with global and regional patterns of climatic changes during the Quaternary Period, in order to project likely future changes in climate such that potential impacts on the repository can be estimated. The types of information to support this description should include—

  Expected climatic conditions and cycles, based on extrapolation of climates during the Quaternary Period.

  Geomorphology of the site region and evidence of changes due to climatic changes.

  Estimated effects of expected climatic cycles on the surface-water and the ground-water systems.

Section 960.4-2-5   Erosion.

Description of the structure, stratigraphy, and geomorphology of the site, in context with the geologic setting, in order to estimate the depth of waste emplacement and the likelihood for erosional processes to uncover the waste in less than one million years. The types of information to support this description should include—

  Depth, thickness, and lateral extent of the host rock and the overlying rock units.

  Lithology of the stratigraphic units above the host rock.

  Nature and rates of geomorphic processes during the Quaternary Period.

Section 960.4-2-6   Dissolution.

Description of the stratigraphy, structure, hydrology, and geochemistry of the site, in context with the geologic setting, to delineate the approximate limits of subsurface rock dissolution, if any. This description should include such information as the following:

  The stratigraphy of the site, including rock units largely comprised of water-soluble minerals.

  The approximate extent and configuration of features indicative of dissolution within the geologic setting.

Section 960.4-2-7   Tectonics.

Description of the tectonic setting of the site, in context with its geologic setting, in order to project the tectonic stability of the site over the next 10,000 years and to identify tectonic features and processes that could be reasonably expected to have a potentially adverse effect on the performance of the repository. The types of information to support this description should include—

  The tectonic history and framework of the geologic setting and the site.

  Quaternary faults in the geologic setting, including their length, displacement, and any information regarding the age of latest movement.

  Active tectonic processes, such as uplift, diapirism, tilting, subsidence, faulting, and volcanism.

  Estimate of the geothermal gradient.

  Estimate of the regional in situ stress field.

  The historical seismicity of the geologic setting.

Section 960.4-2-8   Human interference.

Section 960.4-2-8-1   Natural resources.

Description of the mineral and energy resources of the site, in order to project whether past or future exploration and recovery could have a potentially adverse effect on the performance of the repository. The types of information to support this description should include—

  Known occurrences of energy and mineral resources, including ground water.

  Estimates of the present and projected value of these resources compared with resources contained in other areas of similar size in the geologic setting.

  Past and present drilling and mining operations in the vicinity of the site.

Section 960.4-2-8-2   Site ownership and control.

Description of the ownership of land for the geologic-repository operations area and the controlled area, in order to evaluate whether the DOE can obtain ownership of, and control access to, the site. The types of information to support this description should include—

  Present land ownership.

Section 960.5-2-1   Population density and distribution.

Description of the population density and distribution of the site region, in order to identify highly populated areas and the nearest 1 mile by 1 mile area having a population greater than 1,000 persons. The types of information to support this description should include—

  The most-recent U.S. census, including population composition, distribution, and density.

Section 960.5-2-2   Site ownership and control.

Description of current ownership of land, including surface and subsurface mineral and water rights, in order to evaluate whether the DOE can obtain control of land within the projected restricted area. The types of information to support this description should include—

  Present land ownership.

Section 960.5-2-3   Meteorology.

The meteorological setting, as determined from the closest recording station, in order to project meteorological conditions during repository operation and closure and their potential effects on the transport of airborne emissions. The types of information to support this description should include—

  Wind and atmospheric-dispersion characteristics.

  Precipitation characteristics.

  Extreme weather phenomena.

Section 960.5-2-4   Offsite installations and operations.

Description of offsite installations and operations in the vicinity of the site in order to estimate their projected effects on repository construction, operation, or closure. The types of information to support this description should include—

  Location and nature of nearby industrial, transportation, and military installations and operations, including atomic energy defense activities.

Section 960.5-2-5   Environmental quality.

Description of environmental conditions in order to estimate potential impacts on public health and welfare and on environmental quality. The types of information to support this description should include—

  Applicable Federal, State, and local procedural and substantive environmental requirements.

  Existing air quality and trends.

  Existing surface-water and ground-water quality and quantity.

  Existing land resources and uses.

  Existing terrestrial and aquatic vegetation and wildlife.

  Location of any identified critical habitats for threatened or endangered species.

  Existing aesthetic characteristics.

  Location of components of the National Park System, the National Wildlife Refuge System, the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, the National Wilderness Preservation System, or National Forest Land.

  Location of significant State or regional protected resource areas, such as State parks, wildlife areas, or historical areas.

  Location of significant Native American resources such as major Indian religious sites, or other sites of unique cultural interest.

Section 960.5-2-6   Socioeconomic impacts.

Description of the socioeconomic conditions of the site, including population density and distribution, economics, community services and facilities, social conditions, and fiscal and government structure, in order to estimate the impacts that might result from site characterization and from the development of a repository at that site. The types of information to support this description should include—

  Population composition, density, and distribution.

  Economic base and economic activity, including major sectors of local economy.

  Employment distribution and trends by economic sector.

  Resource usage.

  Community services and infrastructure, including trends in use and current capacity utilization.

  Housing supply and demand.

  Life style and indicators of the quality of life.

  Existing social problems.

  Sources of, and trends in, local government expenditures and revenues.

Section 960.5-2-7   Transportation.

Description of the transportation facilities in the vicinity of the site in order to evaluate existing or required access routes or improvements. The types of information to support this description should include—

  Estimates of the overall cost and risk of transporting waste to the site.

  Description of the road and rail network between the site and the nearest Interstate highways and major rail lines; also, description of the waterway system, if any.

  Analyses of the adequacy of the existing regional transportation network to handle waste shipments; the movement of supplies for repository construction, operation, and closure; removal of nonradioactive waste from the site; and the transportation of the labor force.

  Improvements anticipated to be required in the transportation network and their feasibility, cost, and environmental impacts.

  Compatibility of the required transportation network improvements with the local and regional transportation and land-use plans.

  Analysis of weather impacts on transportation.

  Analysis of emergency response requirements and capabilities related to transportation.

Section 960.5-2-8   Surface characteristics.

Description of the surface characteristics of the site, in order to evaluate whether repository construction, operation, and closure are feasible on the basis of site characteristics that influence those activities. The types of information to support this description should include—

  Topography of the site.

  Existing and planned surface bodies of water.

  Definition of areas of landslides and other potentially unstable slopes, poorly drained material, or materials of low bearing strength or of high liquefaction potential.

Section 960.5-2-9   Rock characteristics.

Description of the geologic and geomechanical characteristics of the site, in context with the geologic setting, in order to project the capability of the host rock and the surrounding rock units to provide the space required for the underground facility and safe underground openings during repository construction, operation, and closure. The types of information to support this description should include—

  Depth, thickness, and lateral extent of the host rock.

  Stratigraphic and structural features within the host rock and adjacent rock units.

  Thermal, mechanical, and thermomechanical properties and constructibility characteristics of the rocks, with consideration of the effects of time, stress, temperature, dimensional scale, and any major identified structural discontinuities.

  Fluid inclusions and gas content in the host rock.

  Estimates of the magnitude and direction of in situ stress and of temperature in the host rock.

Section 960.5-2-10   Hydrology.

Description of the hydrology of the site, in context with its geologic setting, in order to project compatibility with repository construction, operation, and closure. The types of information to support this description should include—

  Surface-water systems, including recharge and runoff characteristics, and potential for flooding of the repository.

  Nature and location of aquifers, confining units, and aquitards.

  Potentiometric surfaces of aquifers.

  Hydraulic properties of geohydrologic units.

Section 960.5-2-11   Tectonics.

Description of the tectonic setting of the site, in context with the regional setting, in order to estimate any expected effects of tectonic activity on repository construction, operation, or closure. The types of information to support this description should include—

  Quaternary faults.

  Active tectonic processes.

  Preliminary estimates of expected ground motion caused by the maximum potential earthquake within the geologic setting.

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