Shipping deadly nuclear waste without a plan is too risky. Transportation of deadly nuclear waste to Yucca Mountain would involve thousands of rail and truck shipments through 43 states. The DOE has no transportation plan and has not conducted a post-9/11 assessment. It matters because:
- Shipments would travel past millions of homes and schools;
- Shipments would travel through 100 of America’s largest cities;
- DOE expects 66 truck accidents and 10 rail accidents; and
- The NRC has no plans to physically test the shipping containers against fire, sabotage, water immersion, puncture and impact.
DOE’s proposal creates a target-rich environment for terrorists. Moving deadly shipments of nuclear cargo around the country would create tens of thousands of viable targets for terrorists. Terrorists wielding armor-piercing weapons could penetrate a shipping cask, causing thousands of cancer deaths and cost billions of dollars to cleanup.
Nuclear waste will remain at plants even if the Yucca Mountain plan moves forward. The nuclear power industry deceptively claims that Yucca Mountain will allow high-level nuclear waste from our country’s 131 nuclear power plants to be deposited in one central location. However, even DOE admits that Yucca Mountain can only store a fraction of our country’s waste. The Washington Post reported on Monday, July 8 th that “Waste shipped to Yucca will be replaced by an almost equal amount of new waste generated by nuclear power plants in the coming decades…” This means that when Yucca Mountain is filled up, there will be roughly the same amount of nuclear waste at power plants as there is today.
NRC Chairman says waste can safely be stored on site. Last month, NRC Chairman Meserve said that nuclear waste could be securely stored on-site. “We do have the capacity to store the materials safely for a period of decades,” he said. Dry cask storage is a licensed, proven, secure, and economical method for expanding a plant’s capability to store spent nuclear fuel. There are now twenty-one dry cask storage facilities across the country.