Nuclear Waste Makes Haste

The Hazardous Roads to Yucca Mountain

What I find most shocking about the Yucca Mountain Project is that DOE [the Department of Energy] has no plan to transport spent nuclear fuel to its proposed repository. Secretary Abraham testified last week that the DOE is "just beginning to formulate its preliminary thoughts about a transportation plan."Jim Hall, former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, in testimony before the U.S. Senate, May 23, 2002


Tons of high-level nuclear waste to be shipped cross-country to Yucca Mountain, a proposed storage facility outside Las Vegas, Nevada, over either 24 or 38 years: 77,000

Number of truckloads of high-level radioactive waste to be shipped through the United States if all the waste is moved by truck over 38 years: 105,685

Number of railcars of high-level radioactive waste to be shipped through the United States if all the waste is moved by rail over 38 years: 18,243

Shipments of spent nuclear fuel within the United States over the last 30 years: 3025

Number of regulatory incidents involving those American shipments: 47

Number of accidents: 6

Number of resulting deaths: 1

Estimated number of shipments of spent nuclear fuel in the first year of the project: 2855

Number of truck accidents the Department of Energy predicts will occur over the 38-year life of the project: 66

Number of truck accidents other experts estimate will occur over the next 40 years: 129

Minutes it takes unshielded radiation from a fuel rod to kill the average person within three feet: 2

Number of rail accidents the Department of Energy predicts will occur over the 38-year life of the project: 10

Number of rail accidents other experts estimate will occur over the next 40 years: 440

Immediate deaths predicted should a train accident occur involving nuclear waste, if that accident is commensurate to last year's Baltimore tunnel fire, in which a train carrying hazmats derailed, exploded, and burned for four days: 250

Estimated cancer deaths in the 50 years following such an accident: 4000 to 28,000

Estimated clean-up costs of such an accident: $10 billion to $14 billion

Number of radiation-induced deaths the Department of Energy estimated would occur in a worst-case-scenario rail accident

in its draft Environmental Impacts of Transportation Statement: 31

Number of radiation-induced deaths the Department of Energy estimated would occur in a worst-case-scenario rail accident

in its final Environmental Impacts of Transportation Statement: 5

Number of train accidents throughout the United States in last 12 years: 88,000

Number of those trains carrying hazardous waste: 14,700

Number of accidents resulting in the release of hazardous materials: 448

Number of defects in tracks and signal equipment cited in 2001 by the Federal Railroad Administration: 108,000

Trade organization that opposes the rail transport of nuclear waste to Nevada on regular commercial freight trains:

The Association of American Railroads

Number of tractor-trailer wrecks each year on all roads in the United States: 200,000

Number of rollovers: 11,000

Major cities that high-level nuclear waste will be shipped near or through:

New York City; Atlanta; Washington, D.C.; Pittsburgh; St. Louis; Phoenix; Portland, Maine; Hartford, Connecticut;

Des Moines; Omaha; Kansas City; Sacramento; Baltimore; Cleveland; and Salt Lake City.

Proximity of Indian Point nuclear power plant to Manhattan: 37.3 miles

Metric tons of high-level nuclear waste currently stored at Indian Point: 891

Estimated metric tons of high-level nuclear waste remaining at Indian Point after Yucca Mountain is full: 519

Number of truckloads of high-level radioactive waste shipped through New York State if all the waste is moved by truck over 38 years: 8939

Number of fatal tractor-trailer wrecks from 1994 through 2000 in New York: 866

Number of those wrecks that were on interstates: 141

Number that involved rollovers: 30

Number of railcars of high-level nuclear waste to be shipped through New York if all the waste is moved by rail over 38 years: 1233

Number of train accidents in New York from 1990 through 2001: 1861

Number of New York schools within one mile of a proposed nuclear waste route: 598

New York schools within five miles: 1578

New York hospitals within one mile of a proposed nuclear waste route: 22

New York hospitals within five miles: 55

 
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