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
  • MEMBERSHIP MANAGER
    For more information visit www. wyofile.com/careers/
  • THRIVING LOCAL HEALTH FOOD STORE FOR SALE
    Turn-key business opportunity. Successful well established business with room to grow. Excellent highway visibility.
  • DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
    For more information, visit www.wyofile.com/careers/
  • SONORAN INSTITUTE, CEO
    Chief Executive Officer Tucson, Arizona ABOUT SONORAN INSTITUTE Since 1990, the Sonoran Institute has brought together diverse interests to successfully forge effective and enduring conservation...
  • STAFF ATTORNEY
    STAFF ATTORNEY POSITION OPENING www.westernlaw.org/about-us/clinic-interns-careers The Western Environmental Law Center (WELC) is a high-impact, nonprofit public interest environmental law firm with a 27-year legacy using...
  • PROJECT MANAGER
    Position Summary Join our Team at the New Mexico Land Conservancy! We're seeking a Project Manager who will work to protect land and water across...
  • SEEKING PROPERTY FOR BISON HERD
    Seeking additional properties for a herd of 1,000 AUM minimum. Interested in partnering with landowners looking to engage in commercial and/or conservation bison ranching. Location...
  • 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...
  • WILDLIFE HAVEN
    Beautiful acreage with Teton Creek flowing through it. Springs and ponds, lots of trees, moose and deer. Property has barn. Easy access. approx. 33 acres.
  • ARIZONA CONSERVATION CORPS PROGRAM DIRECTOR
    Arizona Conservation Corps is seeking a Program Director in Flagstaff or Tucson
  • 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.
  • 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...