high-level transporation casks

Image of a high-level transportation cask (training only) cask have not be fully developed by the DOE for transportation high-level waste.


 DOE’s OCRWM Waste Acceptance and Transportation

Cold War Legacy (OCRWM Site)

Related Transportation Information

Current delays:

Delays since 2009
Since 2009, the Obama administration has been attempting to close the Yucca Mountain repository, despite current US law that designates Yucca Mountain as the nation's nuclear waste repository. The administration agency, DOE, began implementation of the President's plan in May 2009. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has also gone along with the administration's closure plan. Various state and Congressional entities have attempted to challenge the administration's closure plans, by statute and in court. Most recently, in August 2013, a US Court of Appeals decision has told the NRC and the Obama administration that they must either "approve or reject the Energy Department's application for [the] never-completed waste storage site at Nevada's Yucca Mountain." They cannot simply make plans for its closure in violation of US law. (source wikipedia)

The DOE was to begin accepting spent fuel at the Yucca Mountain repository by January 31, 1998. Years after this deadline, the future status of the repository at Yucca Mountain is unknown due to on-going litigation, and opposition by former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV).

Transporation of Spent Nuclear Fuel and High-level Radioactive waste to Yucca Mountain - Frequenlty Asked Questions

Nevada routes
Within Nevada, the planned primary mode of transportation was via rail through the Caliente Corridor. This corridor starts in Caliente, Nevada, traveling along the northern and western borders of the Nevada Test Site for approximately 200 miles (320 km). At this point, it turns south.[1]

Other options that were being considered included a rail route along the Mina corridor. This rail route would have originated at the Fort Churchill Siding rail line, near Wabuska. The proposed corridor would have proceeded southeast through Hawthorne, Blair Junction, Lida Junction and Oasis Valley. At Oasis Valley, the rail line would have turned north-northeast towards Yucca Mountain. Use of this rail corridor by the Department of Energy would have required permission from the Walker River Paiute Tribe in order to cross their land. As the first 54 miles (87 km) of the proposed corridor was owned by the Department of Defense, additional permission from the DoD would have to have been granted. [2]


Map of Nevada showing potential rail routes.

Spent nuclear fuel shipping cask

Sadia Labs Crash Tests of Nuclear Transport Casks


federal lands in nevada

Federal Lands in Nevada

Court of Appeals finds standard inconsistent with NAS recommendations
Shortly after the EPA first established these standards in 2001, the nuclear industry, several environmental and public interest groups, and the State of Nevada challenged the standards in court. In July 2004, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit found in favor of the Agency on all counts except one: the 10,000 year regulatory time frame. The court ruled that EPA's 10,000-year compliance period for isolation of radioactive waste was not consistent with National Academy of Sciences (NAS) recommendations and was too short.[1][2] The NAS report had recommended standards be set for the time of peak risk, which might approach a period of one million years.[3] By limiting the compliance time to 10,000 years, EPA did not respect a statutory requirement that it develop standards consistent with NAS recommendations. [4]

Record of Decision and Floodplain Statement of Findings – Nevada Rail Alignment for the Disposal of Spent Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Radioactive Waste at Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada

Historical Key Documents

The Department of Energy has released the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for a Geologic Repository for the Disposal of Spent Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Radioactive Waste at Yucca Mountain, Nye County, NevadaNevada Rail Transportation Corridor and Final Environmental Impact Statement for a Rail Alignment for the Construction and Operation of a Railroad in Nevada to a Geologic Repository at Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada (DOE/EIS-0250F-S2 and DOE/EIS-0369) (Final Nevada Rail Corridor SEIS and Final Rail Alignment EIS).

Churchill County Nuclear Waste Oversight Program has studied impacts to the county provided in the following linked document.

Fallon Impact Report - Transportation of Spent Nuclear Fuel by Highway to Yucca Mountain—Update 2007 If a high-level waste repository opens at Yucca Mountain, south of Fallon on US 95, a large number of truck shipments of nuclear waste are expected on US 95.  Truck shipments of nuclear waste through Fallon would lead to a radiation dose to the public even if the transport is incident-free, because no shielding material can reduce direct gamma radiation by 100 %.  As a result, residents, drivers, pedestrians and workers will get a radiation dose, which depends on the recipient’s exposure proximity and duration.  Depending on the population estimate, the population dose due to incident-free transportation of the entire waste that is planned to pass Fallon is as high as 9.45 person-rem.  Even though this dose and the resulting population risk are relatively small, it nevertheless increases the risk to develop cancer.

The Churchill County 1990 Master Plan discusses the transportation of hazardous materials, and recognizes that I-80, Hwy 50 and Hwy 95 as major highway routes used for the transportation of hazardous materials through Fallon and Churchill County. The more dangerous of these routes to the residents of Churchill County are Hwy 50 and Hwy 95 as they pass through Fallon. Local authorities can take steps to develop ordinances restricting the transportation of hazardous materials through their jurisdictions. In addition to transportation of hazardous materials by road, there must also be a concern for transportation by rail. Regional Inter-Modal Bypass Route Study

Currently, spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste are stored in temporary facilities at some 129 sites in 39 states. These storage sites are located in a mixture of cities, suburbs, and rural areas. Most are located near large bodies of water. In the United States today, more than 161 million people reside within 75 miles of temporarily stored nuclear waste.

Transportation brochure

Transportation of Spent Nuclear Fuel and High Level Radioactive Waste to Yucca Mountain, Frequently Asked Question