« PrécédentContinuer »
Federal Register / Vol. 49, No. 236 / Thursday, December 6, 1984 / Rules and Regulations
potential adverse environmental the public, which is covered by the impacts as may arise from the
system guideline (1 960.5–1(a)(2)), and to management and disposal of mine spoils clarify the need for protecting the are covered by the second potentially environment both now and in the future. adverse condition. Another commenter Furthermore, the word "programmatic" asked that the DOE “recognize local or was added to the list of factors to be regional engineered water supply weighed in determining the acceptability systems as a potentially adverse or a of the results of impact mitigation. disqualifying condition." The DOE
A commenter asked whether disagrees since impacts on such systems mitigation in this and other places are covered by other potentially adverse includes compensation. It does, as and disqualifying conditions, such as indicated in the definition of the term in potentially adverse condition 2 and $ 960.2 of the guidelines. disqualifying condition 1. One
Numerous comments were received commenter said that the term
on the second disqualifying condition, "potentially adverse condition" is vague. which referred to the coincidence of the The term has been defined in the
restricted area or repository support glossary (960.2 of the guidelines). facilities with the resources named;
The greatest number of comments on some expressed concern that it was too the environmental guideline, both in the narrow, others suggested that it was proposed guidelines and in the
appropriate. Several commenters argued al:ernative guidelines, pertained to two that proximity to a protected area disqualifying conditions. Both of these should be a disqualifying condition, disqualifying conditions were retained while others suggested that the word in the rule of November 1983, but were "proximity" should be eliminated from modified in response to comments, and, the rule to minimize the opportunity for in response to comments, a third was subjectivity in decision making. Some added.
commenters objected to the two-part In its November 1983 version, the test in the disqualifying condition phrase "cannot be mitigated" was
arguing that location of a repository modified by the phrase "by reasonable within the boundaries of a protected measures, taking into account technical, area is evidence of an irreconcilable social, and economic, and
conflict. environmental factors." In addition, the In this regard, the proposed guidelines teren "unsatisfactory" was changed to did not automatically disqualify a site "unacceptable." "Unsatisfactory" was located within a protected area, because originally chosen to be consistent with the DOE contends that it could be the descriptions of the environmental possible, in certain situations, to locate referral process in Part 1504 of the a repository within a protected area in Council on Environmental Quality such a way that it would not adversely regulations implementing the National affect the dedicated purpose of the area. Environmental Policy Act of 1969. However, in response to the concerns However, this change was made to more expressed, the alternative guideline was clearly reflect the fact that a judgment made more specific with respect to the on the acceptability of environmental potential conflict between a proposed impacts is involved here. Upon further repository site and a significant national consideration, this wording was
protected resource. The gideline of modified in the final guidelines as
November 1983 was made even more discussed below.
specific in that it enumerated the The first disqualifying condition is resources to be protected. The second now amended in the final guidelines to . disqualifying condition was expanded include "siting" in the list of activities into two conditions, as follows: that the condition covers. This stage (2) Any part of the restricted area or was inadvertenty omitted from an repository support facilities would be earlier draft.
located within the boundaries of a The phrase "would result in an
component of the National Park System. unacceptable adverse impact on the the National Wildlife Refuge System, the health and welfare of the public or the National Wilderness Preservation quality of the environment, if such System, or the National Wild and Scenic impact cannot be mitigated by
Rivers System. reasonable measures" has been
(3) The presence of the restricted area replaced by "the quality of the
or the repository support facilities would environment in the affected area could conflict irreconcilably with the not be adequately protected or projected previously designated use of a environmental impacts in the affected component of the National Park System, area could not be mitigated to an the National Wildlife Refuge System, the acceptable degree." This change was National Wilderness Preservation made to delete a redundancy in
System, or the National Wild and Scenic considering the health and welfare of Rivers System, or any comparably
significant State protected resource that was dedicated to resource preservation at the time of the enactment of the Act.
The protected areas listed in these Iwo disqualifying conditions did not include National Forests. Because the charters of National Forest Lands call for multiple uses, including mining, the DOE's position was that the appropriateness of including a repository among these multiple uses would have to be evaluated case by case.
The term "disturbed zone" was changed to "restricted area," which can be more reasonably applied to the required assessment (i.e., the disturbed zone is a projected fringe area far below ground that is related to postclosure, not preclosure, requirements). The phrase "any part of" was added to the second disqualifying condition to alleviate concerns that the entire restricted area or repository support facilities would have to lie within the protected area to trigger the disqualifying condition. Another commenter suggested replacing the word "would" with the word “could" in the second disqualifying condition. The DOE disagrees. The elimination of a site on the basis of what amounts to speculation at the screening stage may unnecessarily eliminate a good site.
Although several commenters suggested alternative phrases, the phrase "would conflict irreconcilably with the previously designated use“ was used in the new disqualifying condition, though modified (see below) because the DOE maintains that a conflict can be adequately determined to be "irreconcilable."
The third disqualifying condition addresses State concerns about significant State protected resources. The intent is to afford both national and comparably significant State protected resources the same kind of protection.
The third disqualifying condition was further revised during the NRC concurrence process by the addition of two terms. The first, "resource preservation," is the previously designated use" which the DOE considers the appropriate baseline condition against which to measure "irreconcilable conflicts." Second, in its concurrence condition the NRC requested the addition of National Forest Lands to the list of resources covered by this disqualifier. After considering this request, the DOE agreed that the irreconcilable conflict with a previously designated resourcepreservation use of a National Forest should disqualify a site. The
Federal Register / Vol. 49. No. 236 / Thursday, December 6, 1984 / Rules and Regulations
disqualifying condition now reads as follows:
(1) The presence of the restricted area or the repository support facilities would conflict irreconcilably with the previously designated resourcepreservation 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.
Several commenters raised various miscellaneous points and concerns. One commenter was concerned that the . displacement of homes and families is considered to be a favorable condition and that priority is given to wildlife over people. The DOE disagrees that the guidelines either express or imply either situation. The DOE states, in several places in the guidelines, that the first priority of the site-selection process is the health and safety of the public.
Another commenter said that the environmental quality guideline does not ensure the suitability of the geologic corfditions of the site. It is implicit in this guideline that, in order to protect the environment, the geologic conditions must be suitable. Moreover, such suitability is ensured by the postclosure system and technical guidelines.
Finally, several commenters suggested that the DOE include the environmental quality guideline in the postclosure guidelines. The DOE disagrees. The object of the environmental quality guideline, as stated at the beginning of this section of the preamble, is to protect the quality of the environment throughout all stages of geologic repository siting. Postclosure protection will be provided by the system guidelines, which mandate compliance with 10 CFR Part 60 and 40 CFR Part 191.
Section 960.5-2-6 Socioeconomic Impacts. The objective of the technical guideline on socioeconomic impacts is to ensure that any significant adverse socioeconomic impacts of repository siting, construction, operation, closure, and decommissioning can be offset by reasonable mitigation or compensation and the requirements of system guideline $ 960.5–1(a)(2) can be met.
The DOE is committed to a program of socioeconomic-impact measurement and mitigation. Mitigation, as defined by the Council on Environmental Quality, includes actions that will avoid, minimize, reduce, or compensate for adverse impacts (40 CFR 1508.20).
The potential social and economic impacts of geologic repositories were of concern to a number of com enters. The principal issues were (1) the socioeconomic impacts associated with the labor-force requirements of the repository, (2) adverse effects on primary sectors of local economies (e.g.. tourism). (3) adverse effects on water supplies, and (4) the psychological effects of perceived risk.
Some commenters were concerned that the labor-force requirements of a repository would impose undue hardship on the private and public service capabilities of affected localities. The viewpoints expressed were often conflicting: for example, some suggested that socioeconomic impacts could be mitigated through stringent siting requirements, such as requiring that two-thirds of the labor force live within a reasonable commuting distance of the repository, but others felt that the lack of an available labor force should be a favorable condition; one comment said that the potential for increased employment should not be considered a favorable condition. One commenter stated that disruption to primary sectors of the economy of the affected area should be a disqualifying condition. Another felt that irreversible changes in a chosen way of life should be a potentially adverse condition and . deplored the possible loss of agricultural land.
The DOE feels it would be inappropriate to specify quantitative labor-force requirements because there are so many variable factors that cannot be controlled. It would be possible, for' example, to construct housing at the site for transient labor if sufficient labor were not available within a reasonable commuting distance from the site. The creation of new jobs for locally available labor would be received favorably in most areas; however, an influx of new workers could have significant adverse socioeconomic impacts. For these reasons, the. potentially adverse and favorable conditions concerning the supply of labor were retained. in areas where new jobs might not be welcomed, the DOE will work with the State, affected Indian tribes, and the public to identify suitable means of mitigating unwanted impacts and preserving and enhancing the quality of life. Since adverse socioeconomic impacts on affected local economies can generally be mitigated, the DOE does not believe that such impacts are disqualifying. Where agriculture is a primary sector of the affected economy, the loss of
agricultural land would be a potentially adverse condition.
A commenter stated that a major disruption of the local economy is almost certain and observed that the guidelines on population density and distribution (8 960.5–2-1) and socioeconomic impacts ($ 960.5–2-6) are somewhat contradictory. Another asked that socioeconomic and environmental impacts along waste-transportation routes be addressed, and a third suggested that postclosure impacts be included in the socioeconomic guideline.
The DOE agrees that some disruption will be experienced by the local economy, just as it is as in most largescale industrial developments. However, because most socioeconomic impacts can be anticipated and mitigated, major disruptions can be avoided in most cases. When guidelines $$ 960.5-2-1 and 960.5-2-6 (population density and socioeconomics) are taken together, areas of low population density within a commuting distance of significant labor pools could gain favor in site comparisons if the technical qualifications are equal. Socioeconomic and environmental impacts along local transportation routes will be addressed in the siting process. Postclosure impacts, however difficult to assess, will be the subject of impact-mitigation discussions and agreements between affected States, affected Indian tribes, and the DOE.
Other comments said that (1) the guidelines should emphasize net gains in the overall economy and in employment, (2) the term "affected area" should be changed to "affected region," and (3) the cost of the repository should be taken into account as a socioeconomic impact.
The DOE agrees that net gains in employment and in the local economy should be considered a favorable condition and has revised the guideline accordingly. With respect to the use of "affected area" versus "affected region." repository development may produce socioeconomic impacts in an area of several counties, but it will probably have minimal effect on the economy of an entire region of the country. The costs of the repository need not be treated as a socioeconomic impact because they will be borne by the owners of the radioactive waste. Furthermore, cost ranks below public health and safety, the quality of the environment, and socioeconomic conditions.
Also mentioned were possible adverse impacts on agriculture, tourism, and recreation, but another commenter pointed out that the services and facilities developed for repository
Federal Register / Vol. 49, No. 236 / Thursday, December 6, 1984 / Rules and Regulations
Doenmoduleaterials and wapet
ng the in a specestora
workers and their families could enhance the ability of an area to accommodate tourists and seasonal populations.
The DOE is aware of the concern about adverse effects on agriculture, tourism, and recreation. One potentially adverse condition in the socioeconomics guideline is the potential for major disruptions of primary sectors of the economy of the affected area. The DOF will work with States, affected Indian tribes, and localities to anticipate and mitigate such effects if they arise.
Commenters on the alternative guidelines were also concerned about the potentially adverse condition regarding the acquisition of water rights and the effects thereof. One maintained that a model of water usage should be developed. Two commenters asked that disqualifying conditions be specified for water supplies. One commenter requested that the DOE add water use to acquisition of water rights as a potentially adverse condition. Several commenters asked for a guideline that would protect producing aquifers.
The DOE will evaluate water usage during the engineering design of a repository in a specific rock type. With respect to the requests for disqualifying conditions for water supplies, the qualifying condition for the socioeconomic guideline indicates that a potential site is not qualified unless adverse impacts on water supplies can be mitigated or compensated. This guideline reflects the DOE's position that, if adverse impacts on water supplies can be mitigated, then it is not appropriate to disqualify a site because of potential adverse impacts on water supplies. The issue is the ability to mitigate or compensate for adverse impacts, not the potential for their occurrence. The DOE expects that, where water is scarce, there will be controls on its use. Where water usage is controlled by administrative means other than water rights per se, the DOE will consider the acquisition of water through such other administrative controls to be equivalent to the acquisition of water rights. Producing aquifers are protected through the system guideline on environmental quality and the technical guideline on socioeconomics.
One commenter was concerned that the perceived risk of a repository might induce anxiety and stress, causing some people to leave the area, and complained that the issue was not addressed in the guidelines.
The DOE recognizes that the risk of new technologies involving hazardous materials may be perceived to be greater by the general public than it is
by technical experts. However, past experience with other new technologies suggests that the anxieties of the public may be alleviated as the technology is seen to be effective and its benefits become more apparent. The overriding emphasis of the guidelines on public health and safety, as well as the DOE's commitment to open communication and public involvement throughout the siting process, is intended to help alleviate public concerns about the risks of a repository. Perceived risk, however, is not an appropriate topic for general repository-siting guidelines; it is a subjective condition that cannot be fairly compared among sites.
The DOE recognizes that the possible impacts of rapid, large-scale growth in sparsely populated rural areas are legitimate concerns in siting a major facility. Therefore, the socioeconomics guideline has been revised to more clearly indicate that the existing socioeconomic base (population, labor force, infrastructure, services, etc.) will be explicitly considered in site selection. The final guideline on socioeconomics includes a qualifying condition, a set of four favorable conditions, and a set of four potentially adverse conditions, Because of the complexity of socioeconomic interactions, the possibility of mitigation, and the extensive analysis and planning required by the Act, the DOE took the position in the guidelines of November 1983 that socioeconomic impacts do not represent an absolute disqualifying condition.
The qualifying condition in the final guideline will ensure that any significant adverse social or economic impacts will be addressed; it will also ensure that the system guideline, whose objective is to protect the socioeconomic well-being of the population, will be met. The qualifying condition also specifies the range of socioeconomic considerations that will be addressed in the analysis.
The four favorable conditions in the final guideline are (1) the ability of an affected area to absorb project-related population changes; (2) the availability of an adequate labor force: (3) projected net increases in employment and in public and private revenues; and (4) the lack of significant disruption to primary sectors of the economy of the affected area.
The four potentially adverse conditions are (1) potential for significant impacts on community services, housing, and public revenues: (2) the lack of an adequate labor force: (3) water-right acquisition that would have potential adverse impacts on the development of the affected area; and (4) potential for major disruption to
primary sectors of the economy of the affected area. Since these potentially adverse conditioos could be mitigated in many cases, they would not disqualify a site
In response to the NRC's preliminary concurrence condition 7, which requested additional disqualifying conditions that are directed at the specific factors listed in Section 112(a) of the Act, disqualifying condition
960.5-2-6(d) was added to the guideline on socioeconomic impacts. This disqualifying condition is concerned with potential effects on the rights of users of water and proximity to water supplies. It was not included in the November 1983 guidelines because these factors were implicitly or explicitly included in the system guideline on environmental quality and the qualifying condition for socioeconomic impacts ("competition for resources such as land, water, and construction materials"). However, to accommodate the NRC's request, the DOE developed an explicit disqualifier. Although this disqualifying condition could have been included in guideline $ 960.4-2-4-1, Natural Resources, it was included here because the DOE believes that the most serious effects of a significant degradation of major water sources would be socioeconomic. In editing the final guidelines, the explanatory paragraph that followed the statement of the qualifying condition was deleted because the parameters to be considered are now listed in Appendix IV.
Section 900.5-2-7 Transportation, The objective of the transportation guideline is to ensure that proper consideration is given to the transportation of waste to a repository site, as it could affect the health and safety of the public, the environment and the cost of waste disposal. The guideline requires the evaluation of a site's proximity to adequate highways and railroads, the characteristics of access routes from existing highways and railroads to the site, the costs and other impacts of designing and constructing the access routes, and the impacts of transporting waste over the access routes. The guideline indirectly requires the consideration of proximity to the sources of waste because one of the favorable conditions is stated in terms of a comparison of costs and risks among sites
In the proposed guidelines of February 1983, transportation was treated as a subset of population density and distribution. Many comments on the proposed guidelines emphasized the importance of transportation and the
Theechnologi he percen blic the
Federal Register / Vol. 49, No. 236 / Thursday, December 6, 1984 / Rules and Regulations
NASLEDONI Beruidely inced POP largeting
need for a separate, more comprehensive guideline. Some comments raised generic issues and problems that cannot be solved by the siting of a repository: such issues are not appropriate for guidelines that govern siting. Apparently, the purpose of including transportation in the siting guidelines was not clearly understood.
In response to the many requests, the DOE prepared a separate, more comprehensive guideline on transportation. This guideline is not intended to govern the movement of waste over the national system of highways and railroads; regulations of the NRC (10 CFR Part 71) and the Department of Transportation (49 CFR Parts 171-178) govern that part of waste transportation. The guideline is intended to govern only the transportation issues that are important in choosing sites for characterization and development. The guideline now makes clear that it is concerned primarily with site-specific conditions. It does not address the nationwide transportation of waste, beyond the comparative assessment of costs and risks for the considered sites.
A number of comments stated that there are transportation-related factors that would disqualify a site and called for specific disqualifying conditions in the guideline, The examples cited included transport over rivers, watersheds, reservoirs, high bridges, and through Indian reservations; rail access routes that are too long; concentration of routes through population centers; transport over routes that do not comply with DOT regulations; and the lack of direct rail access. Also cited were increased risk or environmental impact relative to other sites or radiation doses from transportation over local highways in excess of the EPA limit in 40 CFR Part 191.
The DOE does not feel justified in defining explicit disqualification thresholds, because transportation costs, risks, and impacts must be evaluated in relation to the repository system as a whole. None of the suggested disqualifying conditions would make the construction of a satisfactory repository system so difficult that a site should be eliminated simply because the condition is present. Consequently, no disqualifying conditions have been added to the transportation guideline. Furthermore, EPA standards cited above are not applicable to transportation, nor is it appropriate for the DOE to include such standards in its transportation exposure assessments. However, the maximum individual exposure along local access
routes is expected to be a very small fraction of that due to natural background radiation.
Some comments cited as adverse conditions (1) transport over bridges whose height above the terrain below exceeds the conditions of the NRC hypothetical accident tests or (2) local highways and railroads that are in poor condition. These considerations are included in the revised guideline under potentially adverse conditions that would require further evaluation or possibly mitigation measures.
Several comments cited transportation-related conditions that should be considered in siting the repository. Examples are access to the site; the feasibility of access route construction, cost and environmental impacts; visual impacts, air pollution, and noise impacts; adverse weather conditions; extremely heavy loads on railroads; and the availability of air and water transportation modes. Extremely heavy loading is not included because the loaded railroad cars serving the repository will meet standard railroad requirements on wheel loading and spacing and gross loadings.
Two commenters discussed the assumptions made by the DOE in previous transportation assessments and pointed out that the current Assumption about the fraction of waste transported by rail (90 percent) contradicts the current practices of nuclear-reactor facilities. They also suggested that rail access is a primary qualifying condition and that the DOE should use dedicated trains for transporting waste to the repository.
Various assumptions about the fractions of waste transported by rail and truck have been and will continue to be used by the DOE in assessing the risks, costs, and environmental impacts of transporting waste to a repository. It is neither necessary nor desirable to fix on this set of assumptions now; analyses will be done to cover a range of reasonable values. The actual values that will pertain 15 to 20 years hence, when operations begin, are difficult to predict now. Many logistic, economic, and service factors will be involved in the choice between rail and truck transport. The use of dedicated trains has been studied by the Interstate Commerce Commission. Whether they will be used is still under consideration, but is not an issue for aiting guidelines to specify.
One commenter cited the cost of access-route construction as a major factor and suggested that a limit be placed on transportation-related costs in terms of a maximum percentage of the
total disposal cost: exceeding this value would disqualify the site. The DOE does not agree that any minimum level of transportation-related cost alone should disqualify a site, because such costs may be offset by other site-specific factors, including the costs of the repository itself. Transportation-related costs, including access-route construction, will be included in the total system cost for comparison with the costs of other siting options.
One commenter stated that the guideline does not offer an adequate method for comparing transportation costs and risks and the DOE must develop such methods for accurately making such comparisons among siting options. The comment goes on to say that specific origin-and-destination pairs, specific routes, and route-specific data on population density. accident rates, travel restrictions, and the site should be considered.
The DOE contends that current methods and analytical tools are adequate, but is nevertheless continuing to make improvements in them. General guidelines for siting purposes are, in any case, not an appropriate place to require the development of improved methods.
A number of comments emphasized the importance of waste-shipment routing and the population density along such routes. This is largely a generic issue, inappropriate for siting guidelines. that the Department of Transportation (DOT) bas addressed in its recent final rule (49 CFR 177.825). The DOT has defined preferred routes but given to the States the opportunity to identify and analyze alternative routes, in accordance with DOT guidelines, and designate such routes that they may deem necessary to accommodate local conditions. This may include routes in the vicinity of the repository if considered necessary by State officials Thus, no specific treatment of this subject appears in the guidelines.
Several comments requested greater emphasis on the proximity of repositories to waste sources for both the first and subsequent repositories. A favorable condition in the transportation guideline requires the evaluation and comparison of total life-cycle wastetransportation costs and risks for each siting option. The guideline on regionality ( 960.3-1-3) requires consideration of the proximity of the second repository to locations where radioactive waste is generated or temporarily stored.
A number of comments addressed such generic issues as the role of the States in regulating the transportation of nuclear materials, the adequacy of
Foderal Register / Vol. 49, No. 236 / Thursday, December 6, 1984 / Rules and Regulations
shipping casks, the applicability of specific EPA standards, and defensewaste shipments to a commercial repository. In the opinion of the DOE these commento did not address issues that would allow differentiation among proposed sites, since the same conditions exist for the various siting options. In addition, many of these comments raised issues that are either not related to the guidelines or are covered ander other applicable Federal regulations that are the responsibility of other Federal agencies. Consequently, these comments are not reflected in the
these cuidelines final guides conditi
In editing the final guidelines, the statement of the qualifying condition (980.5-2-7(a)) was revised by simplifying the phrase "radiological or non-radiological risk to the public health and safety" to "risk to the public" and by inserting the phrase "taking into account programmatic, technical, social, economic, and environmental factors." Ease and cost of Siting. Construction, Operation, and Closure
Section 960.5-2-8 Surface Characteristics. The preclosure guideline on surface characteristics is concerned with conditions that are important to the ease and cost of siting constructing, operating and closing a repository. In sites that are prone to periodic flooding, are located in a rugged terrain, or have other adverse surface features, special measures may be necessary for repository construction, operation, and closure. The cost of repository construction, operation, and closure could rise to prohibitive levels if a large number of special measures were necessary for these phases. However, other features of the sitethose that would significantly enhance waste isolation could be more important than the higher costs associated with adverse surface characteristics.
Four commenters expressed concern about repository flooding through the possible failure of shafts, shaft liners, seals, or other engineered components of the repository, they suggested that such failures be added to the first potentially adverse condition in the alternative guideline, which dealt specifically with flooding ( 900.5.2.8(bX1)). The DOE agrees with this suggestion because the flooding of surface or subsurface facilities could endanger the safety of personnel and interrupt repository operations. The phrase or the failure of engineered components of the repository" was therefore added to the potentially adverse condition in the final guideline. This phrase was selected because it is a
general statement that encompasses all of the concerns raised by the commenter.
One commenter requested that the potentially adverse condition concerned with flooding be elevated to a disqualifying condition. The DOE decided against this approach because the existence of surface characteristics with a significant potential for flooding does not necessarily mean that the repository will be flooded. Simple engineering measures, such as dikes or berms, could reduce the risk of flooding to an acceptable level that would meet applicable licensing requirements. Such measures have been used for both nuclear and nonnuclear facilities for many years.
Two commenters pointed out that in some specific instances the favorable condition of "generally flat terrain" would be unfavorable. One felt that slow and uniform drainage in flat areas might affect the hydrologic performance of the repository, the other felt that waste disposal in the side of a mountain (above surrounding floodplains) would not meet the favorable condition. After evaluating these concerns, the DOE still contends that a generally flat terrain is a favorable condition because it facilitates construction, operation, and closure; however, a favorable condition that specifically addresses the drainage question was added to the final guideline. The second commenter is correct in stating that a repository located in rugged terrain or in the side of a mountain may not be able to meet this favorable condition, but not meeting a favorable condition does not disqualify a site. It would, however, indicate the need for special measures, and hence potential increases in costs during construction, operation, and closure.
Three commenter requested that, in the alternative guideline, the statement "compliance with applicable nonradiological regulations" be expanded to include air quality standards and radiological requirements. The DOE modified the guideline by deleting the reference to applicable non-radiological regulations because they are already generally covered by the final guideline on environmental quality ( 960.5–2-5). The DOE believes that, for these general guidelines, a general treatment of nonradiological requirements is more appropriate than specific examples of such requirements. Similarly, air quality standards were already covered by the first two potentially adverse conditions and the first disqualifying condition of the alternative guideline on environmental quality. Preclosure radiological requirements are
specifically addressed in the first preclosure system guideline (960.5– 1(1)) by invoking the requirements of 10 CFR Part 20. 10 CFR Part 60, and proposed 40 CFR Part 191, Subpart A
Three commenters requested additions to the surface-characteristics guideline that are already covered in other preclosure guidelines-namely, personnel safety, the standards the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the offsite disposal of salt. Personnel safety and OSHA requirements are covered by the preclosure guideline on rock characteristics ( 960.5-2-9). The offsite disposal of salt is covered by the constraints imposed under the preclosure guideline on environmental quality ( 960.5-2-5).
Among the suggestions for the surface-characteristics guideline was the addition of favorable soil characteristics and conditions. Even though favorable soil characteristics and conditions might make construction and site restoration slightly easier, the DOE does not believe that these features should be significant in selecting a repository site. Two issues raised in the comments on the preclosure guideline on rock characteristics are not pertinent to this siting guideline: preclosure monitoring and reliance on engineered barrien (see Section III.A for DOE responses to the engineered-barrier issue).
Section 960.5-2-9 Rock Characteristics. The objective of the preclosure guideline on rock characteristics is to ensure that due consideration is given to those characteristics of the host rock that may affect (1) the ease and cost of repository construction, operation, and closure and (2) the safety of repository workers. Among those characteristics are the thickness and lateral extent of the host rock, geomechanical properties that are favorable for the maintenance of underground openings, and conditions that would allow the construction of shafts and the underground facility with reasonably available technology.
Ten commenters were concerned that the disqualifying condition in the draft revised guideline did not specifically include the safety requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Mine Safety and Health Administration. This concern arose because the proposed disqualifying condition stated that "the site shall be disqualified if the applicable nonradiological safety requirements of the DOE could not be met." To eliminate this concern, the DOE rewrote the disqualifying condition