- CARSON CITY, NV
(BUSINESS WIRE) -Southern California could be heavily impacted if the federal
government is successful in constructing a disposal facility for spent
nuclear reactor fuel and other high-level radioactive wastes 100 miles
north of Las Vegas.
- That is the conclusion of a review by the State of Nevada
commenting of the U. S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Draft Environmental
Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository.
The Nevada review also found DOE intentionally hid from the public the
proposed highway and rail routes that would be used in shipping waste to
- The Draft EIS, which is the subject of a public hearing
in San Bernardino, California Tuesday, February 22, contains no information
on what routes will be used or what communities will be affected. Bob Loux,
Executive Director of the Nevada Agency for Nuclear Projects, the State's
Yucca Mountain watchdog agency, notes that the omission seems intentional.
- ``DOE clearly knows the highway and rail routes to be
used for waste shipments,'' Loux said. ``In fact, that information is buried
in reference materials used to put the Draft EIS together. The fact that
these routes are not made explicit in the document can only be seen as
an attempt by DOE to keep people ignorant of the impacts and risks and
suppress public involvement in the program outside Nevada for political
- During a 24 to 39 year period, there would be between
50,000 and 96,000 truck shipments of deadly radioactive materials nationwide,
an average of 2,000 to 2,500 per year. Under various scenarios, there would
also be between 11,000 and 20,000 rail shipments, averaging 460 to 510
per year. Because of the geography of the nation's rail and interstate
highway systems, large metropolitan areas, such as the greater Los Angeles
area, will be directly impacted.
- ``At first glance, DOE's transportation scenarios can
be bewildering, perhaps intentionally so,'' observed Loux. ``The bottom
line is that, under any credible scenario, spent nuclear fuel shipments
will be a daily occurrence in southern California for the next four decades.''
- In its review of DOE's draft EIS, the Nevada Agency for
Nuclear Projects found that:
- -- Under the DOE's least impacting scenario, between
1,400 and 2,500 rail shipments of spent nuclear fuel would pass through
southern California. Additionally, 2,900 rail shipments of defense high-level
radioactive waste could pass through northern California. There would be
an average of one to two rail shipments per week every week through California
for 39 years.
- -- Under DOE's transportation scenario where all of
the spent fuel and most of the high-level waste are shipped by truck, a
minimum of 6,100 to 12,900 shipments would impact the southern California
area, an average of one truckload per day every day for 24 to 39 years.
Under DOE's preferred routing, truck shipments from California reactors
enter the Los Angeles basin on I-5, I-10, I-210 and I-605. Shipments from
other states enter California on I-10 and I-40 from Arizona. The three
streams of shipments converge on I-15 at San Bernardino and at Barstow.
Maps showing nuclear waste shipping routes are attached as files and can
also be found on the web at: http:www.state.nv.us/nucwaste/trans/images/16-1.gif
- -- DOE evaluated six alternative highway routing
options. Three of the six alternates would route all 96,000 truck shipments
to Yucca Mountain through southern California. Under these three scenarios,
there would be five to seven truck shipments through southern California
every day for 24 to 39 years.
- -- Under any of these scenarios, the number of
shipments through southern California will substantially exceed the total
number of such shipments nationally during the entire history of the U.S.
Nuclear power industry.
- -- State of Nevada consultants prepared an independent
analysis of DOE's shipment numbers, assuming that each reactor ships by
truck or by rail according to its current capabilities, and assuming that
shipments use consolidated cross country routes to minimize adverse impacts
and facilitate emergency response planning and training. Nevada's analysis
concludes that the maximum credible number of shipments through southern
California would be 26,400 truck shipments and 9,800 rail shipments over
39 years, a combined average of 2.5 shipments per day.
- -- Studies by the State of Nevada indicate:
- -- DOE misrepresented the radiological hazards of the
spent fuel that would be transported, using reference fuel that is less
radioactive than fuel types which will actually be shipped to the repository;
-- DOE grossly underestimated routine radiological exposures along highway
routes in Nevada; -- DOE significantly understated the consequences of
severe transportation accidents and successful terrorist attacks resulting
in release of radioactive materials; -- DOE ignored the economic impacts
of cleaning up after severe accidents and terrorist attacks; -- DOE completely
ignored the social and economic impacts of public perception of transportation
risks including adverse impacts on property values and business activities
along shipping corridors.
- The DOE public hearing on the Draft Yucca Mountain EIS
is scheduled to be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
on February 22 at the Radisson Hotel, 295 North E Street, in the city of
- Nuclear waste transportation expert Robert J. Halstead
will be available for media interviews before, during, and after the hearing.
Halstead can be reached at 909/381-6181 on the day of the hearing, or at
the State of Nevada Agency for Nuclear Projects 775/687-3744.
- Contact: State of Nevada Agency for Nuclear Projects
Robert J. Halstead, 775/687-3744
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