considerably among the sites, the cumulative total risk minimization strategy should ultimately be determined on a site-specific basis.

In keeping with an overall risk minimization criterion, and with the recognition that any selected technology must satisfy technical disposal requirements, the following criteria were used to choose among potential alternatives to the baseline system:

  • Can the technology contribute to a program of disposal and associated storage that is safer than that of the baseline program?

  • Can the technology treat agent, energetics, metal parts, and dunnage?

  • Can the technology destroy all agents?

  • Do waste products meet environmental disposal requirements?

  • Can the technology achieve treaty requirements for irreversible agent destruction?

The primary criterion—safety—involves a number of issues, including the basic chemistry of the agents, operating temperature and pressure, the composition and quantity of waste streams, the disposal system complexity, and timely implementation. These issues are considered in the evaluation of potential alternative technologies in Chapter 6. Combinations of technologies may be necessary to satisfy some criteria. No technology can single-handedly satisfy both treaty and hazardous waste disposal requirements. For example, incineration must be followed by an effective pollution abatement system.

While it is the purpose of this report to recommend technologies on the basis of these criteria, technology decisions may ultimately be dictated by other than technical criteria. If, for example, those who oppose incineration demand use of an alternative technology, timely exploration and development of potential alternatives will be necessary even though "substantially safer" options may not be available.


With cumulative total risk minimization as the overriding criterion for the consideration of stockpile disposal technologies, it is important to clearly define what is meant by risk, particularly health risk. The U.S. chemical stockpile presents two distinctly different and important types of health risk to workers at the sites, persons living near the sites, or plant and animal life in the regions surrounding the sites:

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