The Transportation of Spent Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Radioactive Waste
A Systematic Basis for Planning and Management at the National, Regional, and Community Levels
Planning Information Corporation
At many storage locations, a rail line extends to the plant site and to the cask receiving area in the fuel handling building and/or the dry storage facility or barge loading platform. At some such locations, however, the onsite rail line requires upgrading for spent fuel rail shipments.
Locations without onsite rail may choose to transport the rail cask by heavy-haul truck or barge to an offsite railhead where the cask can be loaded onto a rail car for cross-country shipment. Such a decision, however, can introduce complications which could persuade a utility to choose to ship by legal- weight truck, or at least to hesitate before choosing to ship by rail.
The additional load/unload operation in heavy-haul truck or barge transport is both costly and logistically complex.
Heavy-haul truck transport involves state regulatory agencies in ways that legal-highway-weight transport does not.
The communities along the heavy-haul route may object to such shipments.
Due to branch rail line abandonments, a number of storage locations which had onsite rail when the reactor was constructed do not have onsite rail now, or may not have onsite rail by the time a national shipment campaign begins. For example:
The Central Railroad of New Jersey branch rail line, which provided onsite rail access when the Oyster Creek plant was constructed in 1969, has since been abandoned. The nearest currently available railhead is on the Conrail line at Lakehurst, New Jersey, and would be reached via a somewhat circuitous 30-mile heavy-haul truck shipment.
The Elgin Joliet and Eastern branch rail line which has provided onsite rail access to General Electric's storage facility at Morris, Illinois is being considered for abandonment. The nearest available offsite railhead is on the Santa Fe Railroad at Coal City, and would be reached via a seven-mile heavy-haul truck shipment.
DOE's Near-Site Transportation Infrastructure (NSTI) project18 assessed the existing capabilities and upgrade potentials of transportation networks near 76 spent fuel storage sites. The assessment was conducted in 1989, and has not been systematically updated. Also, the NSTI final report makes clear that it does not recommend which transportation mode or shipping route should be used at the 76 sites, or imply that the utility or plant operator for any facility or transportation system has expressed the intention of completing the upgrades assessed (Table 8-1).
In fact, the utility's transportation choice will not be made on the basis of either near-site transportation or storage facility infrastructure, but on the combination of these factors with other considerations. This assessment generally assumes that a site will ship by rail if onsite rail is available and if the storage location facilities are able to load a 75 or 125-ton rail cask. In other words, it is generally assumed that a utility will find it advantageous to ship by rail if the additional investment required is small. For example,
Arkansas Nuclear 1 and 2, located near Russellville, Arkansas, about 65 miles northwest of Little Rock, is a site which has operating onsite rail, and two separate pools—each capable of loading casks up to 9'6" in diameter and 19'2" in length, and each with an operating crane capacity of 100 tons. In this case, rail shipment using 75-ton casks would appear to require limited additional investment in pool facilities or near-site infrastructure, and it is assumed that this would be the choice of Arkansas Power and Light.
Perry, located on the south shore of Lake Erie about 35 miles northeast of Cleveland, has operating onsite rail with modest upgrade requirements and two separate pools—each capable of loading casks up to 10'0" in diameter and 20'11" in length, and each with an operating crane capacity of 125 tons. In this case, rail shipment using 125-ton casks would appear to require limited additional investment in pool facilities or near-site infrastructure, and it is assumed this would be the choice of Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company.
This assessment generally assumes that a site will ship by truck if on-site rail is not available and if current storage location facilities are unable to load a 75 or 125-ton rail cask. In other words, it is generally assumed that a utility will ship by legal-weight truck if the additional cost (in facility upgrades or logistical complication) to ship by rail is large. For example:
Indian Point, located on the Hudson River about 35 miles north of Times Square, does not have onsite rail, though an offsite railhead is less than five miles distant. The pool at reactor #1, which was shut down in 1980, is capable of loading casks only 3'1" in diameter and 12'11" in length. The pools at reactors 2 and 3 are capable of loading casks of only 7'6" and 8'0" in diameter and 15'10" to 16'2" in length. The operating capacities of the pool cranes are 40 tons or less. In this case, rail shipment would appear to require substantial investment in pool dimensions, crane capacity and heavy-haul logistics. It is assumed that Consolidated Edison would avoid this investment, and ship by legal-weight truck.
Ginna, located on Lake Ontario about 15 miles east of Rochester, New York, does not have onsite rail, though an offsite railhead is less than five miles distant. Its pools is capable of loading casks of 8'7" in diameter, but only 16'9" in length, and its operating crane capacity is only 30 tons. In this case, rail shipment would appear to require substantial investment in pool dimensions, crane capacity and heavy-haul logistics. It is assumed that Rochester Gas and Electric would avoid this investment, and ship by legal-weight truck.
Many sites have combinations of characteristics that complicate the utility's transportation choice:
Onsite rail is available but pool facilities are unable to load a 75 or 125-ton rail cask.
Pool facilities are sufficient but onsite rail is unavailable, or, if available, requires expensive upgrading.
Pool dimensions are sufficient, but operating crane capacity is insufficient to lift a loaded 75- or 125-ton rail cask.
Crane capacity could be improved, but requires substantial investment in equipment and drop tests.
An offsite railhead is available but would require an additional loading (to a heavy-haul truck), plus highway travel through nearby communities, plus state heavy-haul permits.
In such circumstances, utilities must choose among available transportation cask options and make the consequent investment in pool facilities or near-site infrastructure to support the choice. DOE/OCRWM, which is responsible for the national shipment campaign, has an interest in and influence on the utility's choice, but cannot force utility investment beyond what the utility considers reasonable and appropriate. Each utility also has an interest in the success of the national shipment campaign—that is, an interest beyond minimizing the cost of moving spent fuel off its particular sites. In sum, choices among available transportation cask options will be made pool by pool and site by site, based on each utility's choice criteria and in the context of federal policy and the various facility, site and transportation network circumstances at the time the choice must be made. For planning purposes, this assessment specifies the available cask options (section 6), and considers three sets of possible utility transportation choices (section 11). Before reviewing the transportation scenarios, we consider several other choice factors—federal policy, utility choice criteria, and changing circumstances.
Table 8-1. Near-Site Infrastructure: by storage Location
|FUEL STRG LOCATION:||OSR||OP?||OS$||OFD|
|1||ARKANSAS NUCLEAR 1||Y||Y||0||0|
|2||ARKANSAS NUCLEAR 2||Y||Y||0||0|
|3||ARKANSAS NUCLEAR DRY STRG||Y||Y||0||0|
|4||BEAVER VALLEY 1||Y||Y||0||0|
|5||BEAVER VALLEY 2||Y||Y||0||0|
|8||BIG ROCK 1||N||NA||0||13|
|10||BROWNS FERRY 1-2||N||NA||20||9|
|11||BROWNS FERRY 3||N||NA||20||9|
|13||BRUNSWICK 1 PWR POOL||Y||Y||0||0|
|15||BRUNSWICK 2 PWR POOL||Y||Y||0||0|
|18||CALVERT CLIFFS 1-2||N||NA||0||37|
|19||CALVERT DRY STORAGE||N||NA||0||37|
|23||COMANCHE PEAK 1||Y||Y||125||0|
|26||CRYSTAL RIVER 3||Y||Y||80||0|
|28||DAVIS-BESSE DRY STRG||Y||Y||0||0|
|29||DIABLO CANYON 1||N||NA||0||19|
|30||DIABLO CANYON 2||N||NA||0||19|
|35||ENRICO FERMI 2||Y||N||125||0|
|40||FORT ST VRAIN||Y||N||100||0|
|41||FORT ST VRAIN DRY STRG||Y||N||100||0|
|43||GRAND GULF 1||N||NA||0||24|
|46||HARRIS 1 BWR POOL||Y||Y||0||0|
|50||INDIAN POINT 1||N||NA||0||3|
|51||INDIAN POINT 2||N||NA||0||3|
|52||INDIAN POINT 3||N||NA||0||3|
|64||NINE MILE POINT 1||Y||Y||125||0|
|65||NINE MILE POINT 2||Y||Y||125||0|
|66||NORTH ANNA 1&2||Y||Y||50||0|
|67||NORTH ANNA DRY STRG||Y||Y||50||0|
|70||OCONEE DRY STORAGE||N||NA||0||35|
|71||OYSTER CREEK 1||N||NA||0||30|
|72||OYSTER CREEK DRY STRG||N||NA||0||30|
|74||PALISADES DRY STORAGE||N||NA||10||13|
|75||PALO VERDE 1||Y||Y||0||0|
|76||PALO VERDE 2||Y||Y||0||0|
|77||PALO VERDE 3||Y||Y||0||0|
|82||POINT BEACH 1&2||N||NA||0||16|
|83||POINT BEACH DRY STRG||N||NA||0||16|
|84||PRAIRIE ISLAND 1&2||Y||N||25||0|
|85||PRAIRIE ISLAND DRY STRG||Y||N||25||0|
|86||QUAD CITIES 1||Y||N||0||0|
|87||RANCHO SECO 1||Y||N||0||0|
|88||RANCHO SECO DRY STRG||Y||N||0||0|
|89||RIVER BEND 1||Y||N||175||0|
|91||ROBINSON DRY STORAGE||Y||Y||0||0|
|94||SAN ONOFRE 1||Y||Y||200||0|
|95||SAN ONOFRE 2||Y||Y||200||0|
|96||SAN ONOFRE 3||Y||Y||200||0|
|100||SOUTH TEXAS 1||Y||Y||85||0|
|101||SOUTH TEXAS 2||Y||Y||85||0|
|102||ST LUCIE 1||N||NA||0||10|
|103||ST LUCIE 2||N||NA||0||10|
|106||SURRY DRY STORAGE||N||NA||0||30|
|108||SUSQUEHANNA DRY STRG||Y||Y||0||0|
|109||THREE MILE ISLAND 1||Y||Y||0||0|
|111||TURKEY POINT 3||N||NA||0||30|
|112||TURKEY POINT 4||N||NA||0||30|
|113||VERMONT YANKEE 1||Y||Y||75||0|
|114||VOGTLE 1-2||Y N||N||25||0|
|115||WASH NUCLEAR 2||Y||Y||0||0|
|116||WATTS BAR 1&2|
|118||WOLF CREEK 1||Y||N||10||0|
|121||HANFORD SNF STRG||ND||ND||ND||ND|
|122||HANFORD SNF STRG||ND||ND||ND||ND|
|123||INEL SNF STRG||ND||ND||ND||ND|
|124||INEL SNF STRG||ND||ND||ND||ND|
|125||INEL SNF STRG||ND||ND||ND||ND|
|126||SAVANNAH RV SNF STRG||ND||ND||ND||ND|
|127||SAVANNAH RV SNF STRG||ND||ND||ND||ND|
|128||WEST VALLEY SNF STRG||ND||ND||ND||ND|
|129||WEST VALLEY SNF STRG||ND||ND||ND||ND|
Near-Site Infrastructure Considerations:
|OSR:||onsite rail (yes, no, not applic)|
|OP?:||onsite rail operating? (yes, no, not applic)|
|OS$:||onsite rail upgrade cost (000$)|
|OFD:||distance to offsite rail (miles)|
Shipment Cask Options:
|R125:||Large MPC for up to 21 PWR or 40 BWR|
|R75:||Small MPC for up to 12 PWR or 24 BWR|
|LWT:||Legal-weight truck casks.... GA-4/9 if avail, NLI-1/2 or NAC LWT otherwise|