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

Prepared By
Planning Information Corporation
Denver, Colorado
September, 1996

13.   Routing Criteria

Having determined the number of shipments of a particular cask type from each site each acceptance year, we must then determine the highway or rail shipment route. Aggregating shipments from each origin site, a community along a particular route segment in Pennsylvania, or in Indiana or Missouri could then understand, for example, that in the second acceptance year it should expect "x" shipments of certain cask types originating from certain storage locations, while in the fifth acceptance year it should expect "y" shipments from a somewhat different set of storage locations. This information should help state and local agencies conduct their planning in the context of the national shipment campaign.

In most cases, the routing decision will be made by the carrier, under certain constraints. Most notable is the requirement (based on 49 CFR§397.101(a), referred to as HM 164), that in transporting radioactive waste by truck, drivers must reduce transit time by using interstate highways or state- designated alternative routes.

In addition to the HM 164 requirement, we also assume that certain routing practices will be followed by shippers and carriers. For example, we assume that shippers will generally choose the closest Class I (highest volume) rail carrier, and that rail carriers will prefer Class A (highest volume) mainline rail segments.

Default (Quickest) Routes

To assist in identifying possible routes for waste shipments, DOE (through the Oak Ridge National Laboratory) has developed and made available two computer-assisted models, HIGHWAY and INTERLINE. In determining the truck shipment routes for this study, the HIGHWAY model23 was used to calculate the "quickest route" (minimizing travel time) subject to HM 164 requirements. In determining the rail shipment routes, the INTERLINE model24 was used to calculate the quickest route. In both cases, the models were run without other special limitations, such as avoidance of population centers and recognition of the BN/Santa Fe merger or the anticipated UP/SP merger.*

Consolidated Southern Routes

A second alternative for each route scenario was also developed to consolidate the rail and highway shipments into fewer routes, both to minimize the number of affected communities and to avoid certain seasonal weather conditions or problematic highway segments (e.g., the Eisenhower Tunnel and Glenwood Canyon on I-70 west of Denver). The consolidated route orients truck shipments from the Northeast, Southeast, and Midwest to I-40 in Oklahoma City, generally avoiding I-70 west of Kansas City and I-80 west of Omaha. Compared to their roles under the default routing criteria, I-44 between St. Louis and Oklahoma and I-70 east of St. Louis play more significant roles as a feeders to the consolidated southern route across the western states.

The consolidated route orients rail shipments from the Northeast, Southeast, and Midwest to the Santa Fe rail lines extending southwest from Kansas City through Amarillo and across New Mexico, and Arizona to Daggett in southeastern California. It thereby avoids the UP and SP lines west of Kansas City and Omaha. The route increases feeder shipments along the Burlington Northern lines between Chicago and Kansas City, and on the Norfolk Southern lines between Cleveland and Kansas City, but reduces shipments on the Chicago and North Western lines between Chicago and Omaha. Otherwise, it has limited effects on routing patterns east of the Missouri River.

Previous | Table of Contents: | Proceed

Return to the
Nuclear Waste Project Office
Home Page
State of Nevada
Nuclear Waste Project Office
Capitol Complex
Carson City, NV 89710
(702) 687-3744 voice
(702) 687-5277 fax e-mail