This indicates a couple of things.....
People, including truckers, should be extra careful when driving in high winds.
The petrochemical industry and the military should consult the nuclear industry, with respect to shipping containers, when it comes to packaging and transporting hazardous materials.
From: Adam McLean [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Monday April 01, 2002 9:45 AM
To: Canadian Nuclear Discussion List
Subject: [cdn-nucl-l] Safety of Shipping Nuclear Waste
Posted in the Billingsgazette on March 29, 2002 and at:
The author was told (and even quoted the director of INEEL) clearly that
the contents were not waste, yet look at the title of the article...
See below for details for another article on risks of shipping wastes
given by the US DOE.
Wind flips trailer hauling nuke waste
ARLINGTON, Wyo. (AP) - A tractor-trailer hauling radioactive material
blew over on Interstate 80 early Thursday, according to Wyoming
Department of Transportation officials.
No radioactivity was released and no one was injured in the accident,
which happened around 7 a.m. about 35 miles west of Laramie, officials
WyDOT spokesman Bruce Burrows said the truck was carrying radioactive
liquid in two one-liter padded containers. The containers were the only
items inside the trailer.
Winds gusting up to 80 mph were recorded in the area when the trailer
flipped on its side at the Cooper Cove Road interchange.
At least six wind-related crashes were reported Thursday morning on
Interstates 80 and 25. Just north of Wheatland, an accident involving a
pickup pulling a trailer closed I-25 for about 45 minutes.
Westbound traffic was diverted on the interchange ramps around the wreck
until the tractor-trailer was righted and towed back to Laramie around
10:30 a.m. Eastbound traffic was unaffected.
The material remained on board the truck owned by Triad Transport Inc.,
of McAlester, Okla.
The material was headed to the Idaho National Engineering and
Environmental Laboratory near Idaho Falls, Idaho, from a Cold War-era
plutonium processing facility in Ohio, officials said.
The 1,050-acre former nuclear weapons plant, known as the Fernald site,
is located about 18 miles northwest of Cincinnati.
Glenn Griffiths, deputy director of the Fernald office, said the bottles
contained a liquid solution of plutonium and neptunium.
Although the solution is radioactive, "it is not waste and it is very
low activity from a nuclear perspective," he said.
If the solution had spilled, "at these quantities, it would have had to
be a very low risk."
The material is used to calibrate instruments and help analyze samples
that might contain radioactive materials, he said.
Copyright 2002 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may
not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Copyright C The Billings Gazette, a division of Lee Enterprises.
Posted in the Salt Lake Tribune on March 30, 2002 and at:
Safety of Shipping Nuclear Waste Questioned
Saturday, March 30, 2002
BY DOUG ABRAHMS
GANNETT NEWS SERVICE
WASHINGTON -- The Energy Department estimates the worst accident in
transporting nuclear waste across the country would be five deaths from
radiation leaks. Officials in Nevada, where the waste would come to a
proposed national nuclear waste dump, say the agency is low-balling the
number and not taking into account real-world rail and truck wrecks.
Over the past 30 years, more than a dozen U.S. rail and highway
wrecks were so severe they could have breached the container casks
designed for spent fuel from nuclear power plants, Nevada officials say.
* A train derailment that ignited propane tankers in Weyauwega,
Wis., in March 1996.
* The freeway collapse over the San Francisco Bay during an
earthquake in October 1989.
* A train derailment and explosion of 18 boxcars carrying military
explosives in Roseville, Calif., in April 1973.
* A train fire last July in a tunnel in downtown Baltimore that
burned for four days.
These are all accidents Nevada has called to the attention of the
Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which is studying whether they could have
breached a nuclear cask.
"The fact that it has a low statistical probability of occurrence
doesn't mean it won't happen tomorrow," said Nevada's transportation
consultant Robert Halstead.
Nevada lawmakers are using the safety issue to try to persuade
Congress in the coming months to vote against the Bush administration's
plan to make Yucca Mountain the nation's nuclear waste dump. The Energy
Department is proposing moving 77,000 tons of spent nuclear fuel now
stored at power plants across the country to Yucca Mountain by truck or
rail over the next 50 years.
If Congress and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission agree, starting as
early as 2010, truck or rail shipments of nuclear waste would pass
almost daily through cities like Nashville, Tenn.; Des Moines, Iowa; and
St. Louis on their way to Yucca Mountain, 100 miles northwest of Las
Scientists and politicians have been debating for more than 15 years
the dangers of moving and storing nuclear waste at one site compared
with leaving it where it is. Even now that the Bush administration has
made its choice, the question of just how likely a serious
transportation accident involving radioactive waste would be remains in
the realm of theory.
The Department of Energy projects 10 accidents if the nation's
nuclear waste is moved to Yucca Mountain by train and 66 if it's moved
by truck over the span of 24 years, according to its Yucca Mountain
environmental impact study.
Nevada officials have different estimates: 131 accidents if the
nuclear waste is moved by truck and 400 if by rail.
The maximum reasonably foreseeable accident -- Energy Department
lingo for worst-case scenario -- would result in five cancer deaths
caused by radioactive materials that leak out. The agency's cost
estimate for a worst-case accident ranges from $300,000 all the way to
$10 billion depending on location, weather conditions and other
Chances of a more dire accident are less than 1 in 10 million, said
Pam Adams, a consultant to the Energy Department on transporting nuclear
"All of us, on both sides of the issue, say that in 99 percent of
the accidents we don't have to worry about radioactive materials
escaping from the cask," Halstead said. "We're arguing about that 1
Experts agree that nearly all truck accidents or train derailments
would not release radiation from casks with shells of steel and lead at
least five inches thick. When the Department of Energy did 26 shipments
of radioactive material from Three Mile Island to Idaho, there were no
accidents, but two scares. A train hit a car on railroad tracks, but no
radiation was released. And a boxcar labeled flammable was hooked up to
nuclear-waste train, although it later turned out the car carried no
Last year, two events increased fears about transporting nuclear
waste: the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the Baltimore rail accident.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said in a preliminary report that a
nuclear cask wouldn't have ruptured in the rail accident. Nevada
officials say a cask's seals could have leaked and released cesium,
which would have caused dozens of latent cancer deaths and cost more
than $10 billion to clean up, he said.
The DOE said the worst-case scenario for a sabotage event would be
48 cancer deaths from leaked radiation. But the agency is reviewing its
protections for shipping the nuclear waste as a result of Sept. 11,
according to its Yucca Mountain report.
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