Waste to snake through West

  • Likely rail route and alternative to proposed nuclear waste plant

    Diane Sylvain
 

Nuclear waste may be coming soon through rural Western communities. As early as June, the U.S. Department of Energy plans to ship five loads of nuclear waste through Concord, Calif., to a federal storage facility near Idaho Falls in eastern Idaho.

The waste, spent nuclear fuel rods from Asia, is a legacy of the Eisenhower administration's 1950s Atoms for Peace program, which allowed Asian countries to use U.S.-produced uranium for research. To reduce the threat of nuclear terrorism, the countries promised to return the waste to the United States for safe storage.

After passing under the Golden Gate Bridge, the waste will travel by rail through Sacramento, Calif.; Reno, Nev.; Ogden, Utah; Pocatello, Idaho, and numerous small towns in the four states. It will be shipped in 25-ton lead and steel casks, each containing more radioactive material than a nuclear bomb, said John Hadder, a spokesman for Citizen Alert, a Nevada grassroots group for government accountability.

The shipments have provoked protests all along the 1,400-mile route and lawsuits from California's Contra Costa County and the city of Concord. On Feb. 16, activists started traveling the route with a mock cask, telling the public about the risks involved with the plan.

But there is virtually no chance of a leak, according to John Belluardo, a DOE spokesman in Oakland. The casks are designed to withstand smashes, 2,000-foot plunges and head-on collisions with diesel locomotives traveling 80 miles an hour, he said. Nevertheless, federal officials have been training emergency personnel from Concord to Idaho on how to handle a nuclear accident - just in case.

For information, contact John Hadder at Citizen Alert (702/827-4200) or the Department of Energy (510/637-2015).

High Country News Classifieds
  • COPPER STAIN: ASARCO'S LEGACY IN EL PASO
    Tales from scores of ex-employees unearth the human costs of an economy that runs on copper.
  • FEATURES DIRECTOR - HIGH COUNTRY NEWS
    High Country News, an award-winning news organization covering the communities and environment of the Western United States, seeks a Features Director to join our editorial...
  • GENERAL MANAGER
    The Board of UYWCD seeks a new GM to manage operations & to implement our robust strategic plan. Details at www.upperyampawater.com. EOE
  • IN TUCSON, FOR SALE: A BEAUTIFUL, CLASSIC MID-CENTURY MODERN HOME
    designed by architect David Swanson in 1966. Located a block from Saguaro National Forest, yet minutes to Downtown and the UofA campus, 3706 sqft, 6...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Friends of the San Juans is seeking a new leader guide our efforts to protect and restore the San Juan Islands and the Salish...
  • 80 ACRES
    straddles North Platte Fishery, Wyoming. Legal access 2 miles off 1-80. Call 720-440-7633.
  • DIRECTOR OF PRODUCT AND MARKETING
    High Country News seeks a Director of Product and Marketing to join our senior team during an exciting chapter of innovation and growth. This individual...
  • OWN A THRIVING MOUNTAIN GUIDE SERVICE.
    Eastern Sierra guide service for sale to person with vision & expertise to take it onwards. Since 1995 with USFS & NPS permits. Ideal for...
  • IMPROVED LOT
    Private road, hillside, views. Well, pad, septic, 99 sq.ft. hut. Dryland permaculture orchard. Wildlife. San Diego--long growing season
  • UNIQUE INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY
    Profitable off-the-grid business located 2 miles from Glacier National Park. Owner has 6 years operating experience. Seeking investor or partner for business expansion and enhancement....
  • REMOTE SITKA ALASKA FLOAT HOUSE VACATION RENTAL
    Vacation rental located in calm protected waters 8 miles from Sitka, AK via boat with opportunities to fish and view wildlife. Skiff rental also available.
  • EXPERT LAND STEWART
    Available for site conservator, property manager. View resume at http://skills.ojadigital.net.
  • CONSERVATIONIST? IRRIGABLE LAND?
    Stellar seed-saving NGO is available to serious partner. Package must include financial support. Details: http://seeds.ojaidigital.net.
  • CANYONLANDS FIELD INSTITUTE
    Colorado Plateau Natural & Human History Field Seminars. Lodge, river, hiking options. Small groups, guest experts.
  • WESTERN NATIVE SEED
    Specializing in native seeds and seed mixes for western states.
  • CHUCK BURR'S CULTUREQUAKE.COM BLOG
    Change will happen when we see a new way of living. Thinking to save the world.
  • COMING TO TUCSON?
    Popular vacation house, furnished, 2 bed/1 bath, yard, dog-friendly. Lee at [email protected] or 520-791-9246.
  • OJO CALIENTE COMMERCIAL VENTURE
    Outstanding location near the world famous Ojo Caliente Mineral Spring Resort. Classic adobe Mercantile complete w/living quarters, separate 6 unit B&B, metal building and spacious...