Nuclear Waste Transitting
Reno-Sparks Within Months
|High-level nuclear waste could be passing through the Truckee Meadows as early seven months from now, under plans described in a federal government study.|
| And if the
radioactive waste doesn't go through Reno-Sparks, it will
go through Quincy, California along the Feather River.
Lee Dazey, northern Nevada coordinator for Citizen Alert -- formed to oppose federal plans to store nuclear waste in Nevada -- says seven casks of spent nuclear reactor fuel from foreign nations are scheduled to be moved from the Concord Naval Weapons Station in California to the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory for temporary storage.
Each cask, said Dazey, carries nuclear material equal to the amount necessary for 60 Hiroshima-sized bombs.
Should the train stop in Sparks to refuel, she said, residents could be exposed to deadly levels of radioactivity. Someone standing within three feet of a cask without a shield would receive lethal radioactivity within 10 seconds, she said, while a person six feet away with a shield would receive the same radiation per hour as one chest X-ray.
"There is no safe dose," said Dazey, who hopes to contact Sparks Mayor Bruce Breslow to discuss the federal plan. Breslow, out of town, could not be reached for comment. Nor could federal officials.
The Truckee Meadows rail route would move the nuclear waste along the Interstate 80 corridor to Salt Lake City before arriving in Idaho. According to Dazey, the government study weighs moving the radioactive material by the fastest route to reduce risks (Reno-Sparks) or move the waste slowly through less populated areas (Quincy/Feather River) to reduce risks.
Noting that federal studies show trains carrying dangerous chemicals will have accidents, Dazey said the potential for
a nuclear waste spill along either route is
real. Casks used for transporting the spent waste can
withstand a fire of 1475 degrees Fahrenheit for 30
minutes, she said, but "many rail fires burn for
days .. at a much higher temperature."
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