Pahrump Valley Times

NRC will review transport safety at Pahrump meeting

December 3, 1999

In response to a request by county officials, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has agreed to hold a public meeting Thursday in Pahrump to discuss its study of the safety of containers that may be used to haul high-level radioactive waste to the proposed repository at Yucca Mountain.

Thursday's meeting will be held inside the convention center at Mountain View Casino and its expected to last from 10 a.m. to noon

The purpose of the NRC's "Modal Study II" is to update a previous study of transportation safety sponsored by the commission in 1987. That study evaluated the level of safety provided by different high-level waste shipment containers under severe highway and railway accident conditions.

The original study is being updated using new information about the characteristics of spent nuclear fuel and the transportation containers, as well as new analytical methods and testing techniques developed in the past 12 years.

The NRC had planned to hold only one public meeting in Nevada — Wednesday in Henderson — in connection the study. Les Bradshaw, manager of the Nye County Department of Natural Resources and Federal Facilities, requested the meeting in Pahrump because "all potential transportation routes for spent fuel and high-level waste must necessarily terminate in Nye County."

In a letter to the NRC, Bradshaw argued, "The people most affected by that transportation, and therefore most concerned about it, are the residents of this county."

The purpose of Thursday's meeting is to solicit input from the county residents about the NRC study and the risks, real and perceived, associated with the transportation of high-level waste through the county.

Yucca Mountain, 20 miles east of Beatty, is the only site currently being considered as a permanent repository for more that 70.000 tons of the nation's high-level radioactive waste.