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

20.   Transportation Operations Requirements

Planning and managing a national shipment campaign requires reliable information on total metric tons shipped, total cask shipments, affected rail and highway route mileage, and total cask shipment miles. These variables yield useful indexes for comparing scenarios for the national shipment campaign: e.g., cask shipments per MTU shipped, cask shipments per affected route mile. Presented on an overall basis in this section, these measures may in other contexts be reviewed on a year-by-year or sub-region basis.

MTU Shipped

Given the inventory assumptions discussed in Section 2 above, about 86,600 MTU of SNF would be shipped to a centralized storage facility in Nevada. Given the acceptance rate assumptions discussed in Section 3, about 4,440 MTU would be shipped in the first three acceptance years. Given current capabilities transportation choices discussed in Section 11, about 36 percent of total MTU would be shipped via public highways, about 66 percent in the first three acceptance years. (This assumes, of course, that the centralized storage facility would be capable of receiving legal-weight truck shipments and reloading its bare fuel into storage canisters and casks.) Given the MPC base case scenario of transportation choices, about 11 percent of total MTU would be shipped by public highways, about 27 percent in the first three acceptance years. (This assumes the implementation of policies required to persuade utilities and/or regional servicing agents to upgrade loading facilities and near-site infrastructure.)

Cask Shipments

Given the cask options discussed in Section 6 and the "current capabilities" transportation choices discussed in Section 11, about 92,000 cask shipments would be made over the 30-year shipment campaign, of which 86 percent would be on public highways by legal-weight truck. If the high-capacity GA-4/9 legal-weight truck were available and used throughout the shipment campaign, total cask shipments would be reduced to about 31,400, including about 71 percent by legal-weight truck.

During the first three acceptance years, about 8,200 casks shipments should be expected under the current capabilities scenario, almost all (96 percent) by legal-weight truck. Again, the high-capacity GA-4/9 cask, if available and used during the initial years, would reduce cask shipments substantially, from 8,200 to about 2,200. Even so, about 85 percent of the casks shipments would be by legal-weight truck on public highways. The MPC base case scenario of transportation choices, if implemented, would reduce total cask shipments from 92,000 to about 40,000 and the portion involving legal-weight truck shipments on public highways would be reduced from 86 percent to 65 percent. If, in addition, the high- capacity GA-4/9 cask were available and used, total casks shipments could be further reduced to 20,200, and the LWT portion of total cask shipment could be reduced to 31 percent.

Route Miles Affected

Given the transportation choices discussed in Section 11, and the default routing criteria discussed in Section 14, about 18,800 miles of railroad* and about 13,700 miles of public highways would receive shipments of SNF and/or HLW during the national shipment campaign. The MPC base case scenario of transportation choices increases the mileage of railroads impacted, from 18,800 to 21,200, and reduces the mileage of public highways impacted—from 13,700 to about 10,200. Total route mileage, however, is similar in the two cases—about 32,500 rail and highway route miles in the current capabilities scenario versus about 31,400 route miles in the MPC base case.

Route mileage impacted is the basic measure by which DOE proposes to allocate the variable amounts to be distributed to states for training local emergency responders and/or rail and highway inspectors. In addition to a base amount provided to any affected state for planning and coordination, the variable amount would be allocated to response areas of an 80-mile radius, with no double counting of rail or highway routes within a response area. Wyoming, for example, with over 400 I-80 route miles and another 400 miles of UP railroad impacted under default routing, might receive variable funds for 2˝ response areas. Nevada, where cask shipments could impact I-15, US-95, and the UP railroad, might receive variable funds for two response areas. The route mileage measure does not reflect the number of casks shipments along particular segments, or the amount of radioactive material in those shipments.

  * Excluding the 162-mile heavy-haul route from Caliente to Yucca Mountain.

Cask Shipment Miles

Cask shipment miles, the product of cask shipments and distance from each origin site, is a measure which adjusts route mileage for the number of cask shipments expected along each segment. Given the cask options discussed in Section 6 and the current capabilities scenario of transportation choices discussed in Section 11, the national campaign would involve about 76 million cask shipment miles, 5 million in the first three acceptance years. Of these, 82 percent would be legal-weight truck shipments on public highways, 95 percent in the first three acceptance years.

The high-capacity GA-4/9 cask, if available and used, would substantially reduce total cask shipment miles, from 76 to 29 million, and from 5.1 million to 1.4 million over the first three acceptance years. The legal-weight truck portion of total cask shipment miles would be reduced (from 82 to 51 percent, from 95 to 82 percent in the first three acceptance years), but would still comprise a substantial majority of total cask shipment miles.

The MPC base case scenario of transportation choices, if implemented, would further reduce cask shipment miles, from 29 to 21 million and from 1.4 million to 1.0 million over the first three acceptance years. In the process, the legal-weight truck portion of total cask shipment miles would be reduced from 51 percent to about 27 percent, and from 82 percent to 66 percent in the first three acceptance years.

Identified by route segment, information on cask shipment miles would assist state and local officials to estimate route-specific accident and incident rates, allocate shipment monitoring and escorting efforts, estimate radiation exposure for corridor populations, etc.

Cask Shipment Miles Per MTU Shipped

Cask shipment miles per MTU shipped is a measure of the amount of radioactive material in shipments expected along particular routes, or along all affected routes. It is one measure of the efficiency of the overall shipment campaign, or of its effects in particular corridor segments.

Given the current capabilities scenario of transportation choices, the average cask shipment mileage per MTU shipped is about 2,400 miles, about 4,300 over the first three acceptance years. On average, each MTU shipped by legal-weight truck requires 5,900 cask shipment miles, compared with about 430 cask shipment miles when shipped by rail.

The high-capacity GA-4/9 cask, if available and used, would substantially reduce cask shipment miles per MTU shipped, from 2,400 to about 820. The reduction reflects the reduction in cask shipment miles required to ship an MTU on public highways by legal-weight truck.

The MPC base case scenario of transportation choices, if implemented, would also effect a substantial reduction in cask shipment miles per MTU shipped. This reduction reflects the mix of rail and truck shipment in the MPC base case scenario. Cask shipment miles per MTU shipped by legal- weight truck is actually higher in the MPC base case than in the current capabilities scenario. Sites which are more difficult to upgrade for rail shipment are among those most distant from the Yucca Mountain destination.

Cask Shipments Per Route Mile Affected

How many cask shipments are expected over each route mile affected by the national shipment campaign? How many cask shipments are expected over particular route segments?

Given the current capabilities scenario of transportation choices (Section 11) and default routing criteria (Section 13) each affected rail route mile should expect about 1,500 rail cask shipments over the 30-year shipment campaign, and each affected highway route mile should expect about 13,400 LWT cask shipments.

The high-capacity GA-4/9 legal-weight truck cask, if available and used, would reduce cask shipments along each affected highway route mile from 13,400 to about 3,200.

The MPC base case scenario of transportation choices would reduce cask shipments along each affected highway route mile from about 13,400 to about 6,500, and shipments along each affected rail route mile (more rail route mileage is affected in the MPC base case) from 1,500 to about 1,460 rail casks.

Table 20-1. MTU Shipped, Cask Shipments, Route Miles Affected Cask Shipment Miles
Life of Operations and Shipment Years 1 through 3 . . . Default Routing

  LIFE OF OPERATIONS (YRS 1-31)........
  --------- --------- --------- --------- ---------
RAIL HWY:T1/2 TOT:T1/2 HWY:T4/9 TOT:T4/9
MTU SHIPPED: -------- -------- -------- -------- --------
  Current Capabilities 55593 31045 86638 31045 86638
  MPC Base Case 76844 9855 86699 9855 86699
  Maximum Rail 84704 1995 86699 1995 86699
           
CASK SHIPMENTS:      
  Current Capabilities 12636 79345 91981 31370 44006
  MPC Base Case 13916 26093 40009 6322 20238
  Maximum Rail 16792 4722 21514 1150 17942
         
ROUTE MILES AFFECTED:        
  Current Capabilities 18805 13695 32500 13695 32500
  MPC Base Case 21210 10224 31434 10224 31434
  Maximum Rail 23507 4178 27685 4178 27685
         
CASK SHIPMENT MILES:MIL        
  Current Capabilities 14.0 62.3 76.3 14.7 28.7
  MPC Base Case 15.3 24.1 39.4 5.7 21.0
  Maximum Rail 16.8 4.0 20.8 1.0 17.8
         
CASK SHIP MI PER MTU:        
  Current Capabilities 425 5892 2384 1391 823
  MPC Base Case 345 6749 1073 1593 539
  Maximum Rail 362 5790 487 1472 439
           
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
  ======== ======== ======== ======== ========
 
  SHIPMENT YEARS 1-3......
  --------- --------- --------- --------- ---------
RAIL HWY:T1/2 TOT:T1/2 HWY:T4/9 TOT:T4/9
MTU SHIPPED: -------- -------- -------- -------- --------
  Current Capabilities 1495 2944 4439 2944 4439
  MPC Base Case 3240 1200 4440 1200 4440
  Maximum Rail 4185 255 4440 255 4440
           
CASK SHIPMENTS:      
  Current Capabilities 327 7856 8183 1855 2182
  MPC Base Case 574 3352 3926 791 1365
  Maximum Rail 781 692 1473 181 962
         
ROUTE MILES AFFECTED:        
  Current Capabilities 18805 13695 32500 13695 32500
  MPC Base Case 21210 10224 31434 10224 31434
  Maximum Rail 23507 4178 27685 4178 27685
         
CASK SHIPMENT MILES:MIL        
  Current Capabilities 0.8 18.2 19.1 4.3 5.1
  MPC Base Case 1.4 8.2 9.6 1.9 3.3
  Maximum Rail 1.9 1.7 3.6 0.4 2.4
         
CASK SHIP MI PER MTU:        
  Current Capabilities 2491 2322 2328 2322 2347
  MPC Base Case 2442 2458 2455 2458 2451
  Maximum Rail 2471 2476 2473 2416 2461
           
CASK SHIP PER RT-MILE:          
  Current Capabilities 43 1332 586 314 158
  MPC Base Case 75 438 513 103 178
  Maximum Rail 103 91 194 23 126
  ======== ======== ======== ======== ========

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