10 CFR 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.