Waste Transportation

The transportation of radioactive waste already occurs, but will become frequent on our rails, roads and waterways, should irradiated reactor fuel be moved to interim or permanent dump sites.



House panel highlights risks over nuclear-storage stalemate

As reported by AP.

Regarding high-level radioactive waste shipping risks, Don Hancock of Southwest Research and Information Center (SRIC) in Albuquerque, New Mexico is quoted as saying in the article:

Building a long-term storage site would lead to another question: How would the radioactive waste get there from nuclear power plants?

“There is not consensus about health and safety standards, including whether commercial spent fuel is safe where it is,” said Don Hancock of the Southwest Research and Information Center, a nonprofit watchdog group. “If it is safe where it is, why move it? If it’s not safe where it is, how can it be safe to transport through many other communities?”

If opened, the Yucca Mountain permanent repository, on Western Shoshone Indian land in Nevada, would result in more than 12,000 road, rail, and waterway shipments of irradiated nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste through 44 states, many major cities, and 75% of U.S. congressional districts. 

So-called "consolidated interim" storage sites, as targeted at Hispanic communities of the New Mexico/Texas border area, would result in significantly more shipments than that.

Yucca's current legal limit is 70,000 metric tons of highly radioactive wastes. But the CISF proposed by Holtec in NM would "store" 173,600 MT; the CISF proposed by Interim Storage Partners at Waste Control Specialists in TX would store an additional 40,000 MT. Both CISFs taken together would represent three times the amount of highly radioactive waste as at Yucca. The number of shipments would thus be three times larger, as well. And that's just to get the waste to TX/NM. If truly "temporary," the waste would have to leave again (no one knows where to), so the already high transport risks of CISFs would then be doubled.


Environmental coalition letter to Congress, opposing Yucca dump and CISFs, and the Mobile Chernobyls these dumps would launch

Beyond Nuclear joined eight other national groups, and more than 50 state and local grassroots groups, on an environmental coalition letter to both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, expressing opposition to the permanent repository (dump-site) for irradiated nuclear fuel, long targeted at Western Shoshone Indian land at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, as well as opposition to so-called "consolidated interim" storage facilities (CISFs, more accurately "de facto permanent surface dumps") currently targeted at southeastern New Mexico and western Texas. See the group letter, here.

Specifically, the letter expresses opposition to: H.R. 2699, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act (NWPAA) of 2019; H.R. 2699's U.S. Senate equivalent, also entitled the NWPAA, which is a discussion draft and does not have a bill number yet; S. 1234, the Nuclear Waste Administration Act of 2019; and any appropriations for the Yucca dump and CISFs.

The letter warns that the proposed CISFs would "[trigger] double the amount of radioactive waste transport, through most states for decades. Each of the thousands of shipments would have more radioactive cesium than the Hiroshima atomic bomb released."

In fact, each irradiated nuclear fuel assembly contains about 10 times the radioactive cesium released by the Hiroshima atomic bomb. Holtec's latest shipping containers holds 37 pressurized water reactor irradiated nuclear fuel assemblies. So each shipping cask would hold hundreds of times the amount of radioactive cesium released by the Hiroshima atomic bomb.

The letter concludes:

"Not only would this pose an immediate danger to Nevadans, but the waste bound for Yucca Mountain could be transported through 44 states, putting more than 50 million people who live near potential rail, road, or barge shipping routes to Yucca in unnecessary danger. Transport to the new sites targeted for 'interim' storage would threaten even more shipments."

As you can see, when it comes to radioactive waste transportation, we all live in Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas!


The day a lorry leaked radioactive waste across Yorkshire during 130-mile trip


Do not send 50 years of spent nuclear fuel to New Mexico

An op-ed by James Eagle published in the Santa Fe New Mexican.

James Eagle, Ph.D., is a retired chairman of the Department of Operations Research, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, Calif. In his U.S. Navy career, he served on three nuclear submarines, retiring as a captain in the U.S. Naval Reserve. He and his wife, Maj-Britt, live in Santa Fe.

The op-ed focuses on high-level radioactive waste transportation risks.


House Democrats want $25 million for program to move nuclear waste from San Onofre and other sites

As reported by La Jolla Light.

Yucca Mountain, NV is targeted for off-site transportation, for permanent disposal.

The TX and NM borderlands are targeted for off-site consolidated interim storage facilities, at risk of becoming de facto permanent surface storage.