42 USC 10133 - Site characterization

(a) In general 
The Secretary shall carry out, in accordance with the provisions of this section, appropriate site characterization activities at the Yucca Mountain site. The Secretary shall consider fully the comments received under subsection (b)(2) of this section and section 10132 (b)(2) of this title and shall, to the maximum extent practicable and in consultation with the Governor of the State of Nevada, conduct site characterization activities in a manner that minimizes any significant adverse environmental impacts identified in such comments or in the environmental assessment submitted under subsection (b)(1) of this section.
(b) Commission and States 

(1) Before proceeding to sink shafts at the Yucca Mountain site, the Secretary shall submit for such candidate site to the Commission and to the Governor or legislature of the State of Nevada, for their review and comment
(A) a general plan for site characterization activities to be conducted at such candidate site, which plan shall include

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(i) a description of such candidate site;
(ii) a description of such site characterization activities, including the following: the extent of planned excavations, plans for any onsite testing with radioactive or nonradioactive material, plans for any investigation activities that may affect the capability of such candidate site to isolate high-level radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel, and plans to control any adverse, safety-related impacts from such site characterization activities;
(iii) plans for the decontamination and decommissioning of such candidate site, and for the mitigation of any significant adverse environmental impacts caused by site characterization activities if it is determined unsuitable for application for a construction authorization for a repository;
(iv) criteria to be used to determine the suitability of such candidate site for the location of a repository, developed pursuant to section 10132 (a) of this title; and
(v) any other information required by the Commission;
(B) a description of the possible form or packaging for the high-level radioactive waste and spent nuclear fuel to be emplaced in such repository, a description, to the extent practicable, of the relationship between such waste form or packaging and the geologic medium of such site, and a description of the activities being conducted by the Secretary with respect to such possible waste form or packaging or such relationship; and
(C) a conceptual repository design that takes into account likely site-specific requirements.
(2) Before proceeding to sink shafts at the Yucca Mountain site, the Secretary shall
(A)  make available to the public the site characterization plan described in paragraph (1); and
(B)  hold public hearings in the vicinity of such candidate site to inform the residents of the area in which such candidate site is located of such plan, and to receive their comments.

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(3) During the conduct of site characterization activities at the Yucca Mountain site, the Secretary shall report not less than once every 6 months to the Commission and to the Governor and legislature of the State of Nevada, on the nature and extent of such activities and the information developed from such activities.
(c) Restrictions 

(1) The Secretary may conduct at the Yucca Mountain site only such site characterization activities as the Secretary considers necessary to provide the data required for evaluation of the suitability of such site for an application to be submitted to the Commission for a construction authorization for a repository at such site, and for compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.).
(2) In conducting site characterization activities
(A) the Secretary may not use any radioactive material at a site unless the Commission concurs that such use is necessary to provide data for the preparation of the required environmental reports and an application for a construction authorization for a repository at such site; and
(B) if any radioactive material is used at a site
(i) the Secretary shall use the minimum quantity necessary to determine the suitability of such site for a repository, but in no event more than the curie equivalent of 10 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel; and
(ii) such radioactive material shall be fully retrievable.
(3) If the Secretary at any time determines the Yucca Mountain site to be unsuitable for development as a repository, the Secretary shall
(A) terminate all site characterization activities at such site;
(B) notify the Congress, the Governor and legislature of Nevada of such termination and the reasons for such termination;
(C) remove any high-level radioactive waste, spent nuclear fuel, or other radioactive materials at or in such site as promptly as practicable;
(D) take reasonable and necessary steps to reclaim the site and to mitigate any significant adverse environmental impacts caused by site characterization activities at such site;
(E) suspend all future benefits payments under part F of this subchapter with respect to such site; and
(F) report to Congress not later than 6 months after such determination the Secretarys recommendations for further action to assure the safe, permanent disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste, including the need for new legislative authority.
(d) Preliminary activities 
Each activity of the Secretary under this section that is in compliance with the provisions of subsection (c) of this section shall be considered a preliminary decisionmaking activity. No such activity shall require the preparation of an environmental impact statement under section 102(2)(C) of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4332 (2)(C)), or to[1] require any environmental review under subparagraph (E) or (F) of section 102(2) of such Act.
[1] So in original. The word “to” probably should not appear.