(a) Guidelines
Not later than 6 months after January 7, 1983, and notwithstanding the failure of other agencies to promulgate standards pursuant to applicable law, the Secretary, in consultation with the Commission, the Director of the United States Geological Survey, the Administrator, the Council on Environmental Quality, and such other Federal agencies as the Secretary considers appropriate, is authorized to issue, pursuant to section 553 of title 5, general guidelines for the selection of a site for a test and evaluation facility. Under such guidelines the Secretary shall specify factors that qualify or disqualify a site for development as a test and evaluation facility, including factors pertaining to the location of valuable natural resources, hydrogeophysics, seismic activity, and atomic energy defense activities, proximity to water supplies, proximity to populations, the effect upon the rights of users of water, and proximity to 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 Lands. Such guidelines shall require the Secretary to consider the various geologic media in which the site for a test and evaluation facility may be located and, to the extent practicable, to identify sites in different geologic media. The Secretary shall use guidelines established under this subsection in considering and selecting sites under this subchapter.

(b) Site identification by Secretary

(1) Not later than 1 year after January 7, 1983, and following promulgation of guidelines under subsection (a), the Secretary is authorized to identify 3 or more sites, at least 2 of which shall be in different geologic media in the continental United States, and at least 1 of which shall be in media other than salt. Subject to Commission requirements, the Secretary shall give preference to sites for the test and evaluation facility in media possessing geochemical characteristics that retard aqueous transport of radionuclides. In order to provide a greater possible protection of public health and safety as operating experience is gained at the test and evaluation facility, and with the exception of the primary areas under review by the Secretary on January 7, 1983, for the location of a test and evaluation facility or repository, all sites identified under this subsection shall be more than 15 statute miles from towns having a population of greater than 1,000 persons as determined by the most recent census unless such sites contain high-level radioactive waste prior to identification under this subchapter. Each identification of a site shall be supported by an environmental assessment, which shall include a detailed statement of the basis for such identification and of the probable impacts of the siting research activities planned for such site, and a discussion of alternative activities relating to siting research that may be undertaken to avoid such impacts. Such environmental assessment shall include—

(A) an evaluation by the Secretary as to whether such site is suitable for siting research under the guidelines established under subsection (a);

(B) an evaluation by the Secretary of the effects of the siting research activities at such site on the public health and safety and the environment;

(C) a reasonable comparative evaluation by the Secretary of such site with other sites and locations that have been considered;

(D) a description of the decision process by which such site was recommended; and

(E) an assessment of the regional and local impacts of locating the proposed test and evaluation facility at such site.

(2) When the Secretary identifies a site, the Secretary shall as soon as possible notify the Governor of the State in which such site is located, or the governing body of the affected Indian tribe where such site is located, of such identification and the basis of such identification. Additional sites for the location of the test and evaluation facility authorized in section 10222(d) of this title may be identified after such 1 year period, following the same procedure as if such sites had been identified within such period.

Change of Name

"United States Geological Survey" substituted for "Geological Survey" in subsec. (a) pursuant to provision of title I of Pub. L. 102–154, set out as a note under section 31 of Title 43, Public Lands.

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