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.



Potential barge routes, on U.S. surface waters, to ship high-level radioactive waste to NV, NM, TX and/or UT


E&E News: Hard questions around fuel shipping remain third rail of Yucca debate

An article published by E&E News entitled "Hard questions around fuel shipping remain third rail of Yucca debate," by David Iaconangelo, begins:

Lawmakers are reviving the debate over the licensing of Yucca Mountain in Nevada as the nation's major nuclear waste repository, galvanized by a Trump administration that wants to recommit federal resources to the project.

[The rest of the article is behind a pay wall.]


H.R. 3053, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2017

See the bill, as amended (see the four amendments), passed by the U.S. House of Represenatives Energy & Commerce Committee by a vote of 49 to 4 on June 28, 2017, here.

Here is more info. on the status of H.R. 3053, such as the list of co-sponsors.

This bill would authorize both private, de facto permanent, surface "parking lot dump" storage of commercial irradiated nuclear fuel, a.k.a. centralized interim storage, as well as U.S. Department of Energy operated consolidated interim storage. H.R. 3053 would also revive the Yucca Mountain, Nevada permanent burial dump scheme.

If any of these dumps open, unprecedented numbers of shipments of irradiated nuclear fuel (high-risk Mobile Chernobyls, Floating Fukushimas, Dirty Bombs on Wheels, Mobile X-ray Machines That Can't Be Turned Off) would be launched onto the roads, rails, and/or waterways, for decades on end. Learn more about these transport risks, here.

Please take action to oppose this dangerously bad bill.


Mobile Chernobyls, Floating Fukushimas, Dirty Bombs on Wheels, and Mobile X-ray Machines that can't be turned off, through most states, many major cities, and most congressional districts?!

A "game" of radioactive Russian roulette on the roads, rails, and waterways, anyone?! How about unprecedented thousands of rolls of those dice?!

H.R. 3053, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2017, poised for a full U.S. House floor vote by the end of July, could launch these high-risks through most states, many major cities, and most congressional districts!

Thank you to the State of Nevada Agency for Nuclear Projects for its ongoing leadership in documenting and educating the country on the risks of irradiated nuclear fuel transportation. (When it comes to irradiated nuclear fuel transportation, we ALL live in Nevada!)

Here are the latest maps by the State of Nevada Agency for Nuclear Projects, regarding road and rail routes for shipping highly radioactive waste from reactor sites to Yucca Mountain, Nevada:

Note that, although the maps depict Yucca-bound waste shipments, there is a lot of overlap of routing, regarding centralized interim storage facilities targeted at west Texas (Waste Control Specialists, LLC, Andrews County) and/or southeast New Mexico (Eddy-Lea [Counties] Energy Alliance).

The State of Nevada Agency for Nuclear Projects keeps a repository of documents and scholarship regarding high-level radioactive waste transport risks at its website.

In addition to the road and rail routes shown above, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has also identified numerous potential surface water barging routes across the U.S., from the Great Lakes, to rivers, to sea coasts, in its 2002 Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the proposed Yucca dump.

Further updates, and details, regarding DOE's potential barging, and other transport, schemes have come to light in recent years.

Irradiated nuclear fuel shipments can also be considered "Mobile X-Ray Machines That Can't Be Turned Off" (Loren Olson, sister of Mary Olson, NIRS S.E. office director, coined this phrase two decades ago). This is because of a "region of influence" due to hazardous gamma radiation and neutron radiation emitted by the irradiated nuclear fuel, 800 feet (a half-mile) in radius, extending in all directions from the cask. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) permissive regulations allow for 10 millirem per hour dose rates (equivalent to one to two chest X-rays per hour), in terms of penetrating gamma radiation, at a distance of 6 feet (2 meters) away from the outer surface of the shipping cask. At the surface itself, dose rates of 200 millirem per hour (equivalent to 20 to 40 chest X-rays per hour) are allowed. NRC's lax regulations save the nuclear power industry money, in terms of the radiation shielding required on shipping casks. But the price tag for such industry-cost savings comes at the expense of worker and public health.

[Also see "Representative Transportation Routes to Yucca Mountain and Transportation Impacts (Cask Shipments by State)".]


Nuke waste bill to House floor soon?


FULL SPEED AHEAD! House Energy and Commerce Environment Subcommittee Chairman John Shimkus tells ME he's optimistic comprehensive nuclear waste legislation that would revive the Yucca Mountain site will get a full chamber vote before Congress steps away for August recess. Though longtime Yucca opponent Sen. Dean Heller called the legislation "dead on arrival in the Senate," Shimkus shot back that Energy and Commerce's 49-4 vote in support of the measure was "as good as anyone could have expected" and "probably troubling for those who want to keep the status quo."