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

17.   Nevada Implications: The End of the Funnel

The end of the funnel for the prospective national shipment campaign is Nevada, where rail and truck shipments from 80 sites in 35 states would converge. Under default routing, rail shipments would move on the Union Pacific rail line north from California or south from Utah to an intermodal transfer facility at the Lincoln County community of Caliente. From Caliente, shipments would continue by heavy-haul truck along U.S. highways and state roads, accessing NTS Area 25 via a newly constructed road across a corner of the Nellis Air Force Range, or continuing on public highways along a circuitous route north and west of the Nellis Air Force Range. Truck shipments would move on Interstate 15 north from California or south from Utah and Arizona to a major interchange with US-95/93 in the heart of Las Vegas, locally known as "the Spaghetti Bowl." From the Spaghetti Bowl, truck shipments would continue northwest on US-95, entering the Nevada Test Site at Lathrop Wells in the Nye County community of Amargosa Valley.

Figure 17-1 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 17-2 and Figures 17-3 present similar information for the "MPC base case" and "maximum rail" scenarios of transportation choices.

Table 17-1 presents total cask shipments over the 30-year shipment campaign, under the current capabilities, MPC base case and maximum rail scenarios. Under the current capabilities scenario assuming default routing, Nevada would receive about 12,600 rail cask shipments, of which about 9.2 percent would move north from California through Las Vegas. The state would also receive about 79,300 truck shipments (31,300 using the high-capacity T-4/9 cask) of uncanistered fuel, of which about 8.3 percent would move north from California to the Spaghetti Bowl.

Under the MPC base case scenario of transportation choices, rail cask shipments into the state would increase from 12,600 to about 13,900 while truck cask shipments would decrease from 79,300 to 26,100 (from 31,300 to 6,300 using the high-capacity T-4/9 cask). Assuming default routing, the portion of rail and truck shipments moving north into the state from California or south from Utah would change only slightly.

Under the maximum rail scenario of transportation choices, rail cask shipments would increase to 16,800 while truck cask shipments would decrease to 4,700 (to 1,200 using the high-capacity T-4/9 cask). Again, assuming default routing, the portion of rail and truck shipments moving north into the state from California or south from Utah would change only slightly.

Part of a strategy to limit the impacts of transportation shipments in Nevada could involve efforts to avoid Las Vegas, the major urban center of the state. Such a strategy would emphasize rail shipment from the north (where shipments can be intercepted at Caliente) rather than rail shipment from the south or truck shipment on I-15, from the north or south. Among the alternatives considered in this assessment, the maximum rail scenario using default routing (combined with truck shipment using the high-capacity T-4/9 cask) goes the farthest towards this objective. Unfortunately implementation of the maximum rail scenario requires an expensive and not yet devised set of incentives for the choice of rail over truck shipment, and for large rail over small rail shipment. Furthermore, default routing has implications for corridor communities "upstream" in the route system for shipments of SNF and HLW, which we address in the next section. In addition, even if these arrangements and commitments could be made, it is difficult to envision that they could be implemented in time for a shipment campaign beginning in 1998.


Table 17-1. Life of Operations Rail and Highway Cask Shipments
Nevada Rail and Highway Route Segments

  CURRENT MPC BASE MAXIMUM
  CAPABIL CASE RAIL
Rail Segments: ------- ------- -------
   NV: UP @ UT line 11485 12399 15405
   NV: UP @ LV Strip 1151 1517 1387
       
Hwy Segments: ------- ------- -------
   NV: I-15 @ Moapa 72768 6277 1150
   NV: I-15 @ Strip 6577 45 0
  ========= ========= =========

Figure 17-1. Life of Operations Rail & Highway Shipments in Southern NV Region
Current Capabilities Transportation Choices/Default Routing

Rail

Figure 17-1a

 

Highway

Figure 17-1b

 


Figure 17-2. Life of Operations Rail & Highway Shipments in Southern NV Region
MPC Base Case Choices/Default Routing

Rail

Figure 17-2a

 

Highway

Figure 17-2b

 


Figure 17-3. Life of Operations Rail & Highway Shipments in Southern NV Region
Maximum Rail Transportation Choices/Default Routing

Rail

Figure 17-3a

 

Highway

Figure 17-3b

 



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