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

16.   The National Shipment Campaign: Life of Operations

What are the overall effects of the national shipment campaign, aggregated for each origin site and all major rail and highway segments over the entire prospective 30-year shipment campaign? What are the effects under the "current capabilities" scenario of transportation choices, or under the "MPC base case" or "maximum rail" scenarios? What are the effects of using a high capacity cask for legal-weight truck shipments,* rather than the currently-available casks limited to one PWR or 2 BWR assemblies?

This section uses maps to present the rail and highway segments affected, and tables to present the total (life of operations) cask shipments in the 30-year shipment campaign. Both maps and tables reflect factors discussed in previous sections容.g., the current and projected inventory, the acceptance rate and pickup schedule. Under these assumptions, shipments of HLW from DOE sites begin in year 17 and extend through year 44; only those shipments in years 17 through 31 (54 percent of the total) are included in this summary. Subsequent sections consider implications for Nevada (section 17), regional routing alternatives (section 18), the phasing of shipments during the 30-year campaign (section 19), and transportation operations variables (section 20).

   *A cask similar to the GA-4/9 cask designed by General Atomics, with the capacity for 4 PWR or 9 BWR uncanistered assemblies.

Mapping Routes and Cask Shipments

To visualize the cask shipment findings of a multi-faceted assessment process, this study has developed a map presentation in which route segments are scaled according to the number of projected shipments on each segment over the 30-year shipment campaign. The scale is consistent among cask options and among transportation choice scenarios. That is, in this presentation, 100 prospective cask shipments are shown at the same map scale whether the shipments are truck casks containing 1 PWR or 2 BWR assemblies, high-capacity truck casks containing 4 PWR or 9 BWR assemblies, a small rail cask containing 12 PWR or 24 BWR assemblies or a large rail cask containing 21 PWR or 40 BWR assemblies.* The amount of waste shipped in these casks ranges from about 800 pounds in the case of the small truck cask to about 14,800 pounds in the case of the large rail cask, a factor of 18. Another map presentation might be developed to show the amount of waste shipped, rather than the number of cask shipments.

   *Also, no attempt has been made to project rail consists. The maps indicate the number of casks shipped on each rail route segment, not the number of trains containing cask shipments.

Rail and Highway Routes Affected

Figure 16-1 shows the rail and highway routes affected by default routing under the current capabilities scenario of transportation choices, scaling the routes according to the number of projected shipments on each segment over the 30-year shipment campaign. Figures 16-2 and 16-3 present similar results for the "MPC base case" and "maximum rail" scenarios of transportation choices.* Over the 30- year shipment campaign (and assuming default routing), about 18,800 miles of the nation's railroads carry shipments of SNF or HLW, a figure which increases to 21,200 miles under the MPC base case and to 23,500 under the maximum rail scenario of transportation choices. Rail rather than highway shipment from certain sites (e.g., Turkey Point, FL, Diablo Canyon, CA, Kewanee, WI) adds significantly to total affected rail route mileage, but from other sites (e.g., Dresden, IL, Browns Ferry, AL) has much less effect.

   *Route mileage excludes 162 miles of heavy-haul from an intermodal transfer facility

Over the 30-year shipment campaign (again, assuming default routing) about 13,700 miles of the nation's highways carry shipments of SNF or HLW, a figure which decreases to 10,200 miles under the MPC base case and to 4,200 under the maximum rail scenario of transportation choices.* Rail rather than highway shipment from certain sites (e.g., Grand Gulf, MS, Surry, VA, Peachbottom, PA) significantly reduces highway route mileage, but from other sites (e.g., Calvert Cliffs, MD, Salem, NJ) has much less effect.

Total Cask Shipments

Table 16-1 presents total cask shipments over the 30-year campaign, under the current capabilities, MPC base case and maximum rail scenarios. Rail cask shipments of SNF* increase from about 9,900 in the current capabilities scenario of transportation choices to about 11,200 under the MPC base case and 14,100 under the maximum rail scenario. The changes reflect both the number of sites shipping by rail (and their projected inventory) and the type of rail cask used. Compared to the current capabilities scenario, the MPC base case and maximum rail scenarios include more rail shipment sites (increasing the number of rail cask shipments) making greater use of the large MPC (reducing the number of rail cask shipments). Shipments of uncanistered fuel in currently-available legal-weight truck casks are estimated at 79,300 under the current capabilities scenario of transportation choices, a figure which decreases to 26,100 under the MPC base case and to 4,700 under the maximum rail scenario. The decreases reflect the number of sites shipping by truck rather than by rail, and the projected inventory requiring shipment.

The high-capacity legal-weight truck cask (if available and consistently used throughout the 30- year shipment campaign) dramatically reduces the number of truck cask shipments from 79,300 to 31,400 under the current capabilities scenario, from 26,100 to 6,300 under the MPC base case, and from 4,700 to 1,150 under the maximum rail scenario. Even so, truck cask shipments of SNF would comprise about 71 percent of total cask shipments under the current capabilities scenario, about 31 percent under the MPC base case scenario, and over 6 percent under the maximum rail scenario of transportation choices.

   *An additional 2,700 rail cask shipments of HLW are expected between years 17 and 31

The Use of Affected Rail and Highway Routes

How intensively would the nation's rail and highway networks be used by the national shipment campaign? Over the 30-year campaign, each affected rail route mile would receive an average of about 1,500 cask shipments under the current capabilities scenario, with similar figures for a somewhat more extensive affected rail route network under the MPC base case and maximum rail scenarios. More intensively used rail route segments, however, could receive up to 8.5 times the national average.

Over the 30-year shipment campaign, each affected rail route mile would receive an average of 13,700 cask shipments under the current capabilities scenario (using currently-available legal-weight truck casks), or about 1,500 shipments (using the high-capacity legal-weight truck cask) under the MPC base case, or about 700 under the maximum rail scenario. Again, more intensively used highway route segments could receive up to six times the national average.

A State-Level Review

Perspectives on nuclear waste transportation are highly correlated with the degree to which waste will be shipped out of, through or to one's own community葉hat is, the degree to which one's community serves as an origin, corridor or destination for shipments of these highly-toxic and long-lived radioactive materials. Origin communities have lived with nuclear sites for years, even decades, have directly benefited from the electricity and jobs produced, and, with shipment, have the opportunity to rid themselves of the resulting wastes. Corridor communities provide transportation routes for wastes whose origin and destination are elsewhere. Under safe, routine conditions, waste shipments will not linger in corridor communities, but they require attention by public officials and raise anxieties among residents. Destination communities receive the wastes generated elsewhere. In the case of spent nuclear fuel and high-level waste, there is only one prospective destination community, and the waste received, even if safely contained, will remain toxic for centuries.

Under the MPC base case scenario of transportation choices (assuming default routing) only seven states are neither origins, corridors, nor the destination for shipments of SNF or HLW (see Figure 16-3). Together, these jurisdictions comprise 2.4 percent of the nation's population. Another seven states located along the perimeter of the country are origins but not corridors for shipments of SNF and HLW. Together, these states comprise 18 percent of the nation's population. It should be observed, however, that many communities within these states will consider themselves as corridors rather than as origins for shipments of nuclear waste. Still another seven states (three east of the Mississippi River) plus the District of Columbia are corridors but not origins for shipments of SNF and HLW. Together, these states comprise seven percent of the nation's population.

Most states are both origins and corridors for prospective shipments of SNF and HLW under the MPC base case scenario of transportation choices with default routing. Together, these 28 states comprise 71 percent of the nation's population. Five of the 28 are origins for shipments from one (or in the case of Nebraska, two) nuclear site, but are corridors for shipments from 20 sites or more. These states are Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Arizona. Together, they comprise 6.2 percent of the nation's population.

Under the MPC base case scenario with default routing, 8 states are corridors for shipments from 25 or more sites. These states, including five with commercial reactors and two east of the Mississippi, comprise 11 percent of the nation's population. Illinois is a corridor state for 47 sites and an origin state for eight sites.

Nevada is the destination state, the end of the funnel for the national shipment campaign and the intended permanent disposal site for the nation's SNF and HLW. Nevada has 0.5 percent of the nation's population. Similar to origin-only states, parts of Nevada are likely to consider themselves more as corridors than as the destination for shipments of SNF and HLW. But these communities are corridors for all shipment sites, and are in the destination state where the wastes will be permanently stored, not an origin state that has previously chosen to developed nuclear power and is now removing the resulting wastes. Section 17 provides additional detail regarding cask shipments into the destination state.


Table 16-1. Route Miles Affected and Cask Shipments
Life of Operations (YR 1-31). . . . Default Routing
Currently-Available and High-Capacity Truck Cask

RAIL HWY:T1/2 TOT:T1/2 HWY:T4/9 TOT:T4/9
ROUTE MILES: -------- -------- -------- -------- --------
Current Capabilities 18805 13695 32500 13695 32500
MPC Base Case 21210 10224 31434 10224 31434
Maximum Rail 23507 4178 27685 4178 27685
           
CASK SHIPMENTS:      
Current Capabilities 12636 79345 91981 31370 44006
MPC Base Case 13916 26093 40009 6322 20238
Maximum Rail 16792 4722 21514 1150 17942
           
CASK SHIP PER RT-MILE:          
Current Capabilities 1496 13356 6493 3154 2194
MPC Base Case 1463 6505 3103 1536 1487
Maximum Rail 1494 2764 1686 703 1375
  ============ ========== ========== ========== ==========


Table 16-2. States by Origin/Corridor Status

Neither Origins Nor Corridors Origin Only States Corridor Only States Major Corridor States*
覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧
Rhode IslandMichiganIndianaUtah(65/0)
District of ColumbiaWisconsinKentuckyNebraska(60/2)
DelawareMaineOklahomaWyoming (58/0)
AlaskaNew JerseyWest VirginiaIllinois(47/8)
HawaiiFloridaNew MexicoIowa(32/1)
MontanaLouisianaUtahKansas(28/1)
North DakotaWashingtonWyomingMissouri(27/1)
South Dakota Indiana(25/0)
Percent of U.S. population:18 percent7 percent11 percent
* (60/2): corridor for 60 sites, origin for 2.


Figure 16-1.   Life of Operations Rail and Highway Cask Shipments:


Current Capabilities Transportation Choices/Default Routing

fig16-1a.gif
fig16-1b.gif

Figure 16-2.   Life of Operations Rail and Highway Cask Shipments:


MPC Base Case Transportation Choices/Default Routing

fig16-2a.gif fig16-2b.gif

Figure 16-3. Life of Operations Rail and Highway Cask Shipments:


Maximum Rail Transportation/Default Routing

fig16-3a.gif fig16-3b.gif

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