Federal Government Sites:The White House

United States Department of Energy

Department of Energy National Transportation Program

Department of Energy Transportation External Coordination Working Group

Department of Energy Nevada Operations Office

Department of Energy Office of Scientific & Technical Information

Department of Energy NEPA Web Site

Department of Energy Foreign Research Reactor Spent Fuel Program

Department of Energy Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP)

U.S. Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board

U.S. Council on Environmental Quality

U.S. Department of Transportation

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

U.S. Government Accountability Office

U.S. Geological Survey

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Advisory Committee on Nuclear Waste

References

Code of Federal Regulations

Desert Research Institute

DOE LSN Document Collection

Federal Register Notices

New Mexico's WIPP Transportation Safety Program

NRC Licensing Support Network Office of Scientific and Technical Information

The Library of Congress

The University of Nevada at Las Vegas

The University of Nevada at Reno

THOMAS -- Legislative Information on the Internet

Transportation Resource Exchange Center

University and Community College System of Nevada

External Regulation

The following list oversee the proposed Yucca Mountain Nevada Radioactive Waste Repository

Regional Web Sites

History of Waste Transportation:

Since 1964, the U.S. nuclear energy industry has safely transported more than 10,000 used nuclear fuel assemblies over 1.7 million miles. During this period, nine accidents involving used nuclear fuel containers have occurred—four on highways, five during rail transport and none involving barges. Half of these accidents involved empty containers, and none of these accidents resulted in a breach of the container or any release of its radioactive cargo.

In 1971, for example, a tractor-trailer carrying a 25-ton shipping container holding used nuclear fuel swerved on a Tennessee road to avoid a head-on collision and overturned. The trailer, with the container still attached, separated from the tractor and skidded into a rain-filled ditch. The container suffered minor external damage but—as designed—prevented the release of radioactive material. This accident was the most severe of the nine involving used fuel containers.

Additionally, the US Navy has made 738 shipments involving some 1.0 million shipment miles since 1957. France and Britain average 650 shipments annually with no significant accident consequences.

Key Facts

The nuclear energy industry has completed more than 3,000 shipments of used nuclear fuel over the past 40 years with no injuries, fatalities or environmental damage as a result of the radioactive nature of the cargo, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

Shippers transport used nuclear fuel as a solid, ceramic material that is unable to leak or explode. Constructed of many layers of steel and lead, containers used to carry the fuel, are extremely robust. The NRC requires thorough tests and analyses prior to certifying used fuel containers. Facilities such as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and Sandia National Laboratories have tested containers under extreme circumstances to ensure they would protect the public in the unlikely event of an accident during transport. Tests have proven that containers can withstand high-speed crashes, extremely hot and long-lasting fires, and submersion in water.

Cask Testing

The NRC’s responsible for licensing nuclear facilities including transportation canisters and requires the following tests:
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A 30-foot free fall onto an unyielding surface, which would be equivalent to a head-on crash at 120 mph into a concrete bridge abutment

Drop

A puncture test allowing the container to fall 40 inches onto a steel rod 6 inches in diameter.

puncture

Submerging the same container under 50 feet of water. (Containers also are subject to separate testing beneath 650 feet (200 meters) of water for eight hours.)

Immersion

A 30-minute exposure to fire at 1,475 degrees Fahrenheit that engulfs the entire container.

Fire

Facilities such as Sandia National Laboratories have tested containers under extreme circumstances to ensure they would protect the public in the unlikely event of an accident during transport. Tests have proven that containers can withstand high-speed crashes, extremely hot and long-lasting fires, and submersion in water.

In addition to the tests required for NRC certification, engineers and scientists at Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico conducted a wide range of tests on used nuclear fuel transportation containers in the 1970s and 1980s. These tests included:

Running a flatbed tractor-trailer carrying a container into a concrete wall at 84 mph Placing a container on a rail car and driving it into a concrete wall at 81 mph Placing a container on a tractor-trailer and broad-siding it by a train traveling at 80 mph.

In all cases, post-crash assessments showed that the containers, although slightly dented and charred, would not have released their contents. (For more information please visit our website at http://mcnucprojects.com/transportation.htm.

NEPA Task Force - council on environmental quality

DOE's Proposed Policy & Procedures for the Safe Transportation of Spent Nuclear Fuel & Emergency Response Training Technical Assistance and Funding (Section 180(c) of the NWPA)

Notice of revised proposed policy and request for comments, October 31, 2008 [pdf]

Prior Section 180(c) comments

NRC regulations on Packaging and Transportation of Radioactive Material (10 CFR Part 71)
NRC regulations on Physical Protection of Plants and Materials (10 CFR Part 73)
DOT regulations on Transportation of Hazardous Materials; Driving and Parking Rules (49 CFR Part 397)
DOT Hazardous Materials Regulations and Procedures (49 CFR Part 107)