July 1998


James David Ballard

Assistant Professor

Grand Valley State University

School of Criminal Justice, MAK 223

Allendale MI 49401-9403

Full text and graphics available as report number NWPO-TN-018096, September 1997.
Please request original full text report from either the:

Agency for Nuclear Projects  or  NWPO
Capital Complex 1802 North Carson Street #252
Carson City, Nevada 89710 Carson City, Nevada 89701

Recognition and appreciation are given to the sponsors of this study who recognize the importance of identifying and addressing the risk of terrorist attacks on shipments of high-level nuclear waste across the nation. Additional appreciation is extended to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Department of Sociology and Department of Geology. Lastly, thanks to the researchers and graduate students at the University of Saint Andrews, Scotland UK, Rand/St. Andrews Center for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence

The Nevada Agency for Nuclear Projects/Nuclear Waste Project Office was created by the Nevada Legislature to oversee federal high-level radioactive waste activities in the State. As part of its oversight role, the Agency has contracted for studies designed to assess socioeconomic and transportation risks/impacts associated with a repository and repository-related activities. This study was funded using Federal Nuclear Waste Funds appropriated by Congress for the State of Nevada through the U. S. Department of Energy.


The Nevada Agency for Nuclear Projects was created by the Nevada Legislature to oversee federal high-level radioactive waste activities in the state. As part of its oversight role, the Agency has contracted for this preliminary study of the risk of terrorism against shipments of high-level nuclear waste and spent nuclear fuel. This study continues the Agency's assessment of socioeconomic and transportation risks/impacts associated with the proposed Yucca Mountain repository. This study was funded using Federal Nuclear Waste Funds appropriated by Congress for the State of Nevada through the U.S. Department of Energy.

This study begins by identifying the potential risk of terrorism against waste shipments to the proposed repository. Section Two examines Rand Corporation records of international terrorist activity to help establish that a risk exists. Additional data sources (FBI, ATF, etc.) are examined to assess risks of terrorism domestically and/or within the state of Nevada. The report finds that a potential risk of terrorist attack exists for the transportation of nuclear waste.

Section Three analyzes the economic, environmental, social, and moral consequences of a terrorist attack. Drawing from the existing research on the potential consequences of a severe transportation accident, the report finds that significant consequences could result from a successful terrorist attack using armor-piercing weapons. In addition to the human health, environmental, and economic consequences, a terrorist attack may exacerbate public perceptions of the risks of nuclear waste transportation. This report suggests that, as a result of these potential consequences, shipment safeguards and prevention countermeasures become a vital part of any risk reduction strategy for the proposed Yucca Mountain facility.

Section Four analyzes various methodologies for risk reduction (e.g., safeguards). The report pays particular attention to counter-terrorism intelligence systems, transportation engineering designs, transportation plans, and relevant regulations.

The report concludes with recommendations for additional research including studies of the preparedness level of Nevada's law enforcement and emergency management agencies, consequences of attacks using armor-piercing weapons, and rural impact studies. Funding for these independent research projects should become a priority for the Department of Energy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. DOE should incorporate the results of these research efforts into the transportation planning for the proposed Yucca Mountain repository and the Environmental Impact Statement that must be submitted to the NRC.


This section begins with background information on the Yucca Mountain repository project and the roles of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and the State of Nevada Agency for Nuclear Projects/Nuclear Waste Project Office (NWPO) with respect to that proposed facility. Next, the reasons for studying potential terrorism against high-level nuclear waste (HLW) and spent nuclear fuel (SNF) shipments to the proposed Yucca Mountain facility are addressed. Finally, the goals of this study and its relationship to previous research on the risk of terrorism are defined.

1.1 Background

The Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 (NWPA) set forth national policy and procedures governing the disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive wastes. Congress directed DOE to construct federal storage and disposal facilities and develop a transportation system, all licensed and regulated by the NRC. Additionally, the NWPA provided a special oversight role for individual states where potential nuclear waste repository sites were identified. This state role involves overseeing DOE's Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management (OCRWM) and conducting impact assessment studies of potential repository sites. The establishment of oversight capability by potential host states was designed to alleviate fears of, and build trust in, DOE management of the nation's spent nuclear fuel and high-level nuclear wastes.

In 1983, DOE identified Yucca Mountain, Nevada as a potential site for a high-level waste repository, and the Nevada Nuclear Waste Project Office was created to conduct such oversight responsibilities. In 1985, the Nevada Legislature established the Nevada Agency for Nuclear Projects and a Commission on Nuclear Projects to oversee the agency.(1) In 1986, Yucca Mountain, as well as sites in Washington and Texas, were chosen for in-depth site characterization, the first step in the determination of suitability for development as a repository.

Congress enacted the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act (NWPAA) in December 1987. The NWPAA eliminated the two potential repository sites in Washington and Texas and canceled a program designed to site a second repository in the eastern section of the United States. Most significantly, the NWPAA specifically identified Yucca Mountain as the only site for evaluation as a repository. If the Nevada site proved unsuitable, DOE was to report back to Congress for further instructions.

As a direct result of the NWPAA, the burden on the State of Nevada and on NWPO was dramatically increased. With Yucca Mountain the sole site for characterization, oversight became critical in the process of building public trust and confidence. NWPO's oversight role regarding public health and safety and protection of the environment became equally important for the citizens of Nevada. Specific areas where the Agency could provide independent oversight included geo-technical, environmental, and socioeconomic studies of the potential effects of the Yucca Mountain facility, and the risks and impacts of transporting highly radioactive materials to the facility.

NWPO's socioeconomic and transportation research activities have been strongly influenced by the need to effectively engage in planning for DOE's Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) proceedings (NANP 1995, p. 3). The NWPA empowered Nevada to participate in the creation of a viable EIS and to protect the citizens of Nevada from potential harm associated with this project. As part of that role, the State has the mandate to construct baseline assessments of the proposed Yucca Mountain facility and related activities, including transportation to and from the facility.

This study continues research necessary for the generation of baseline information and independent impact assessment capabilities per the State's mandated oversight role. The information contained herein discusses the potential threat of terrorism and sabotage against rail or highway transportation of SNF and HLW. This report constitutes a pre-baseline assessment of one critical human factor in transportation risk: terrorism. Additionally, this report offers insights helpful to the development of response plans that would be needed in the event of an attack, accident, or other transportation emergency.

1.2 Study Justifications

This report addresses the following question: What justifies the study of potential terrorist threats against nuclear waste shipments to the proposed Yucca Mountain repository? Currently, no single document exists that attempts to systematically examine this issue. Transportation planners may well want to consider the potential for terrorism as it relates to the movement of high-level nuclear waste and spent nuclear fuel to the proposed Yucca Mountain repository. This study begins the process of risk assessment. Additionally, it is a prudent, logical safeguard to have programmatic responses in place in the event of a terrorist incident. Constructing such plans requires studies of the relevant risk factors. This study begins that process by defining some initial risk factors that planners should consider in their transportation strategies. Lastly, due to the perceived risk of radioactivity by the general public, policy planners should consider what effect their actions have on the public.

Thus, accountability is one critical reason for studying terrorism against proposed shipments of nuclear waste to Yucca Mountain. A second reason is that public policy planners have an important obligation to protect people from the potential hazards of nuclear waste. While these two reasons may be justification enough, this report offers additional reasons for studying the problem of terrorism and Yucca Mountain transportation plans. In the course of the discussion that follows, three important questions should be in the forefront for policy planners.

First, planners should ask why terrorists would attack shipments of spent nuclear fuel and high-level waste. After all, these materials are as dangerous for the attackers as for the public. Terrorists would know that a successful attack (one where radioactive materials are released) could cause severe health, economic, and environmental problems for everyone within the immediate proximity of the attack. Transportation planners must ask if it is possible that terrorists would not care about such consequences. Is it possible for a terrorist group, removed from social controls, to forsake their humanity regardless of the potential backlash? Maybe the questions should be rephrased to ask if it is possible that terrorists would be capable of performing acts of violence and not caring about the effects on the public. If this is a possibility, we should ask ourselves: Why not study terrorism? To not do so is to permit, if not encourage, additional and unacceptable risk.

Second, if planners accept an attack as a possibility, however remote, then their plans should further consider why terrorists would choose this type of target. Why would they focus on nuclear waste shipments when vast quantities of other hazardous materials are transported around the country every day? To answer this question, we may ask: What is the difference between those shipments and the potential nuclear waste shipments destined for Yucca Mountain. We should remember that the key difference is that most other hazardous materials do not have the same potential for long-term damage to the environment or public health, nor are they perceived by the public as being as dangerous as radioactive materials. A terrorist contemplating an assault on nuclear waste shipments could be looking for the actual or symbolic value in attacking such materials. The enormous disruption to normal public activities, a resulting sense of social panic, and/or the symbolic value of attacking the powerful federal government are but a few of the potential objectives for such an attack.

Finally, planners should consider the reasons why terrorists would attack these nuclear waste materials in transit and not those that are currently in storage sites around the country. This report discusses the vulnerability of fixed targets verses in-transit shipments of nuclear waste. Are shipping casks riskier, more attractive targets than hardened concrete containment buildings or other fixed site storage facilities? This report considers whether the security of nuclear waste storage facilities is quantitatively different from that for transportation methods.

Together, the ideas of official responsibility, accountability, and the potential consequences of terrorist attack against nuclear waste shipments (however remote) demand that planners study terrorism as a risk factor in the transportation of SNF and HLW to the proposed Yucca Mountain repository. Only by studying such risks do planners create the chance to incorporate relevant safeguards into their transportation strategies and thus help insure public confidence in the transportation process for the proposed repository.

1.3 Purpose and Goals of the Study

Since 1987, the socioeconomic studies undertaken by Nevada have included research activities related to the transportation of SNF and HLW and the effects such transportation activities might reasonably be expected to have on the State, its communities, economy, and environment. NWPO has published a summary of its nuclear waste transportation impact studies, including an annotated bibliography of 23 reports prepared between 1987 and 1993 (Halstead, 1993). The University of Nevada, Las Vegas Transportation Research Center (UNLV/TRC), conducted much of this research.

Two 1988 studies established the overall direction of NWPO's nuclear waste transportation risk and impact assessment program: the "Transportation Needs Assessment" (TNA), prepared by Mountain West Research (MWR) under contract to NWPO; and "A Report on High-Level Nuclear Waste Transportation" (generally referred to as the ACR 8 Report) prepared by NWPO in response to a directive from the Nevada Legislature. Both of these studies identified sabotage and terrorism as major aspects of transportation risk assessment and recommended specific research tasks related to sabotage and terrorism.

This report will build upon this previous work by using existing research to define the risk of terrorism against waste shipments to Nevada. Additionally, this report provides new information on sabotage and terrorism necessary for the eventual creation of baseline data that delineate transportation risks and their implications within recognizable study frames.

1.3.1 Purpose

Transportation of SNF and HLW to the proposed Yucca Mountain repository has been demonstrated to have significant implications for Nevada as well as for states through which such waste would be transported (NWPO-TN-001-88; NWPO-TN-002-89; Golding and White 1990; Souleyrette and Sathisan 1991; Freudenburg 1991a, 1991b; Halstead 1993). These effects will be multi-dimensional. Nevada will be impacted by events occurring in other states, and Nevada's decisions and actions will impact other states.

The objective of this report is to study and evaluate the risks of potential terrorism or sabotage incidents for the transportation of high-level radioactive waste.(2) This report addresses three key research tasks identified in the TNA: scenario assessment; vulnerability analysis; and screening of risk management options. Particular attention is given to MWR's contention that existing databases are of limited utility in predicting future events and to MWR's recommendation that scenario assessment must consider a broad range of intentional disruptive actions by many different groups, including political terrorists, anti-nuclear radicals, right-wing extremists, and disgruntled employees. This report also addresses the key terrorism issue identified in the ACR 8 Report: the ability of a nuclear waste shipping cask to survive credible, maximum, severe attack conditions. Particular attention is given to attacks involving high-energy explosives and armor-piercing weapons. This report examines how those risks relate to the State of Nevada and, by implication, to the national context. The specific extension of the risks identified herein to other states may be applicable, but is not the primary intention of the project.

1.3.2 Goals

The goals of this report are threefold:

To achieve these goals, the following report is divided into four main component parts. These include section titles: Susceptibility to Attack, Consequences, Attack Prevention Systems, and Recommendations.

1.4 Study Approach

This study of the potential for a terrorist attack against high-level nuclear waste shipments in Nevada is divided into four general areas. First, the report discusses the susceptibility of transported materials to terrorist attack. Second, the report examines the consequences of a potential terrorist attack. Third, the report addresses the preventive systems that exist to counteract such potential terrorism. Fourth, the report recommends further research that would reduce the risk of terrorism against SNF and HLW transportation.

The above outline of topics is not the norm in terrorism risk assessment research. Traditional terrorism countermeasure development includes the following steps:


During the discussion that follows, we will tangentially touch on these important factors. This report is constructed around a different set of priorities because of uncertainties in DOE's current plans for shipments to the proposed Yucca Mountain facility. If, for example, one was to try to identify the target asset, the subject is currently indeterminate because the method of transportation, transportation routes, and security safeguards that will be employed are as yet underdeveloped. Once such details are known with greater certainty, it will become easier to identify the attractiveness level and potential methods of attack terrorists may use. Additionally, when fixed transportation strategies are clearly defined, threat assessment personnel should be able to make better decisions regarding safeguard measures and countermeasures. Such decisions will make it easier to determine the characteristics of potential threat organizations capable of committing terrorism against high-level nuclear waste shipments.

Currently, no publicly available terrorism/sabotage risk assessment data set exists for the proposed Yucca Mountain project. As a result of this void, this report tries to address some of the parameters that could be potentially relevant to the construction of such a knowledge base. This report offers the following outline as a research methodology (Table 2). One motivation for this project outline is to assist in the eventual construction of a baseline assessment system and the application of traditional counter-terrorism methods as defined above (Table 1).


The reader may well ask why the author has chosen to use this method over the more traditional methodology suggested above. The differences between traditional countermeasure development and this study's focus lies in the fact that traditional studies concentrate on targetable assets (e.g., existing facilities) while the focus of this study is transportation to a proposed facility at Yucca Mountain that will not be operational for at least 3 years (if a centralized storage facility is mandated by Congress) and perhaps as many as 14 years (if shipments to a geologic repository begin in 2010). As such, many of the traditional countermeasure or counter-terrorism procedures do not match Nevada's circumstances, and the author of this report feels the presentation herein more readily satisfies current needs, given budgetary and time restraints. As a direct result of these research choices, this report is primarily focused on the areas mentioned above: susceptibility, consequences, preventive systems, and alternatives.


In this section, a summary of relevant terrorism activity is presented. This summary defines the risk of attack based upon past incidents of terrorism against various relevant subjects. These topics include:

The purpose of these topic sub-sections and the discussion that follows them is to help establish the possibility of terrorist attack or sabotage against transportation methods and nuclear-related targets. The demonstration of said potential, and the material contained herein, constitute an attempt to create baseline criteria for data set creation.

The actual risk of terrorist attack on the Yucca Mountain transportation system, or more specifically to the Multi-purpose Canister (MPC) or the General Atomics (GA) casks, is a complex topic for consideration.(4) Such a terrorist target evaluation process has many variables that impact the outcome. In an overall risk evaluation process, terrorism against the transportation of high-level nuclear materials is but one of many risk factors. This study cannot attempt to scientifically model the complex issues involved, given the current state of knowledge. The goal of this study is to help define the risk of terrorism incidents against transportation methods, radiological shipments, and for the specific shipment of MPC's or GA casks across Nevada. Until such time as the specific modes and routes are chosen, a principle shipment methodology is formally approved, and the protective measures for said shipments are specified by DOE, these issues will continue to be an elusive consideration in the overall project risk profile. Given these problems, this assessment begins with a statistical presentation of the overall worldwide terrorism threat potential.

2.1 General Level of Terrorist Activity

The level of overall international terrorist activity has fluctuated greatly over the past 25 years. The Rand/St. Andrews Chronology of International Terrorist Incidents clearly demonstrates that terrorism is an international problem. This database is a compilation of behavioral information on numerous terrorist groups and nearly 8000 international terrorist events that transpired during the years 1968-1992. The Rand data is drawn primarily from press accounts, journal articles, and other readily available non-secure sources. Terrorist activity is operationally measured by use of approximately 200 code categories.(5)

The Rand/St. Andrews data set designers and managers make every effort to assemble an unbiased population of all international terrorist events. "All possible national media and non-media sources are used. Terrorist events taking place on the frontiers of neighboring states at war are excluded" (Weimann and Winn 1994, p. 3.9 ). Regardless of this methodological care, scholars have criticized the Rand data set because of its exclusion of terrorism by governments against citizens of that state (Hermann 1989). Because the purpose of this study is to define risks of attack against DOE shipments, such methodological criticisms are moot. A second critique of the Rand data is that it does not detail terrorism that fails to cross geo-political boundaries (i.e., domestic terrorist activity). As a result of this shortcoming, we will use additional sources to help define the risk of domestic terrorism specific to the American context. Regardless of these criticisms, this report contends that the Rand/St. Andrews data set contains valuable evidence of the potential risk for terrorist attack against the proposed system of waste transportation and storage at Yucca Mountain. This study begins with an explanation of the worldwide level of terrorism based upon the Rand data.

Table 3. International Terrorist Incidents - 1968 to 1992

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Table 3 helps demonstrate that the level of international terrorist activity, as defined by the Rand/St. Andrews data set, has fluctuated enormously since 1968.(6) The mean number of incidents per year is 317.16 with the smallest number of incidents (134) occurring in the first year of data collection (1968).(7) The highest number of incidents (484) occurred in 1994. Additionally, Table 3 and 4 help demonstrate a general upward trend in terrorism activity.(8)

Table 4. Summary of Terrorist Incidents by Decade(9)

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Terrorist attacks fluctuate over time, by place, per tactic, and against targets. A quick summary of the total number of incidents per decade helps in the evaluation of the possible risk of an attack of any type occurring from an international/trans-national source (Table 4). In this table, we see that the general trend mentioned above is validated when we examine the 55% increase in terrorist incidents between the 1970's and 1980's.

To better define the risk to the proposed repository, we should separate out the relevant target variables for this project. Two such variables are terrorist attacks against energy- and transportation-related facilities. In the following sections, we will survey these two variables in more detail.

2.2 Energy-related Terrorism

The Rand Chronology contains an assortment of energy-related terrorists incidents. These incidents are broadly arranged into various organizational categories (e.g., anti-nuclear movements, specific attacks against nuclear installations, non-nuclear energy attacks, etc.).(10)

One example of a potential energy-related terrorist incident recorded in the Rand data set occurred on July 25, 1982. An ex-convict, in possession of a two-ton truckload of stolen electronic devices, weapons, and explosives, claimed to have a security diagram of the Arkansas Nuclear One Plant in Knoxville, Tennessee. Authorities searched the perpetrator's residence and found a diagram of the nuclear plant. Although his intentions were never clear, the evidence suggests that he did intend to attack that facility using the explosives and/or weapons.(11)

As a result of such attack profiles, we will first examine the Rand data on worldwide terrorism against energy targets and then spotlight those attacks against American targets. Internationally, we find that the maximum number of energy-related attacks (38) was found in 1988, and that only one attack was recorded in each of two years (1970, 1986).(12) The mean for energy-related attacks was 7.52 per year (Table 5).

Table 5. Terrorism Against Energy Targets - Worldwide

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When we separate the terrorist targets by country, we find that American energy-related targets represent a significant percentage of the total number of such attacks worldwide. Energy-related attacks against American targets are defined for the thirteen year period, 1980-1992 (Table 6). During this time, we find only one year (1991) in which no attacks were made, and the highest number of attacks occurred in 1986 (16). The mean number of attacks against American energy targets is 5.077 per year.

Table 6. Attacks Against American Energy Targets (13)

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A comparison of Tables 5 and 6 shows an interesting pattern. We see how a comparison of American energy targets versus international targets demonstrates that a substantial percentage of terrorism against energy-related facilities is directed against American targets. In our thirteen year comparative frame, worldwide energy-related incidents totaled 119, and American targets totaled 62 or 52.1% of the worldwide total.

What is clear from this data is that energy facilities have been, and continue to be, viable targets for terrorists. In particular, American facilities are major targets for such attacks, and special attention must be given to any energy-related facility with regard to potential terrorist attack. What then of the transportation of nuclear waste? To better answer this question, we should next examine the Rand data on transportation-related terrorist attacks. In this manner, we can better establish the risk of a terrorist attack against the proposed Yucca Mountain transportation system.

2.3 Transportation-related Terrorism

Another important area for consideration in examining the risk factors associated with the storage and transportation of high-level nuclear waste is an evaluation of the possibility of terrorist attack or sabotage against transportation vehicles, methods, and methodologies. Here again, the Rand/St. Andrews data set allows us to define the global risk of terrorism as well as the uniquely American risk associated with ground transportation.

Table 7. Land-based Transportation Terrorism - Worldwide(14)

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An examination of Table 7 shows that worldwide attacks against land-based transportation systems were very rare in the beginning of the Rand/St. Andrews data collection period. Examining the trend since the beginning of the Rand Chronology, we find that transportation systems are increasingly under attack. While the total number of terrorist attacks has fluctuated greatly over the past 25 years, the trend in transportation-related incidents has steadily increased. In four years of the 25-year period, no incidents were recorded (1968, 1969, 1970, 1971). As these were the first years of the Rand study, one could surmise that the category wasn't yet fully developed or operational. Nevertheless, the recent growth of incidents (maximum of 17 in 1991 and 1992) is clear. The mean number of attacks is 6.72 for the 25-year span, but if one focused only on the last 13 years, that mean grows to 10.08 per year.

Two international transportation-related terrorist incidents help illustrate the possibility of attack against nuclear waste shipments. On November 2, 1979, an explosion under an Israeli passenger train ripped up a section of railroad track. While no significant injuries were reported from this attack, authorities noted that had the train fully derailed (as planned by the Palestinian guerrillas), it would have plunged into a river gorge. The second example also comes from Israel. On October 28, 1984, four Israeli soldiers were arrested in connection with the anti-tank rocket attack against an Arab bus in Jerusalem. These soldiers identified themselves as the 'Avengers'. Terrorist scholars believe that militant Jewish terrorist cells operate under many names and are thought to form a loosely knit extremist underground.(15)

The question then becomes what of those incidents unique to American transportation? The information in Table 8 shows that the total number of terrorist attacks against American transportation-related targets is very small, but the overall trend is also decidedly upward.

Table 8. American Transportation Terrorist Incidents

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Four specific incidents help illustrate the danger terrorism poses for transportation of nuclear waste across the United States.(16) In 1977, the Luis Boitel Commandos bombed Route 1 near Key West, Florida in protest of the Panama Canal Treaty. Such terrorism against land-based transportation routes illustrates a possible attack scenario applicable to highway transportation of high-level radioactive waste to the proposed Yucca Mountain facility.

Secondly, the Puerto Rican Armed Resistance (RAD) movement exploded two pipe bombs at a railroad terminal in New York (December 21, 1980). While an attack against the terminal posed little risk to the rail spur itself, such an attack does demonstrate a propensity to attack rail-related infrastructure components. Thus, this example helps illustrate the possibility of terrorism against the proposed railway delivery system for high-level nuclear waste.(17)

The third case comes from an incident involving railroad sabotage in Golden Valley, Minnesota (a Minneapolis suburb). In October 1986, a section of railroad track on a line used to transport SNF was removed. Next to the missing 39-foot section, authorities found a sign saying "Stop Rad-Waste Shipments." While this incident did not result in damage to SNF shipments, a Burlington Northern train carrying lumber was derailed at the site because of this sabotage. The derailed lumber train was scheduled immediately prior to a SNF shipment from the Northern States' Monticello nuclear power plant. This incident did not necessarily make it into official statistics (e.g., the Safeguard Summary Event List), but does represent a possible serious accident scenario that should be considered by the NRC and DOE planners.

Lastly, a recent FBI prevention of a terrorist plot is relevant to this discussion. Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman and nine others were convicted (October 1, 1995) of seditious conspiracy related to the proposed bombing of the United Nations and several New York City transportation infrastructure components. One critical target these urban terrorists wanted to attack was the George Washington Bridge. This bridge is one of the proposed highway transportation links for the movement of nuclear waste to the Yucca Mountain facility.

Clearly, the threat of land-based transportation terrorism exists. In recent years, such terrorism against railway and highway transportation has increased around the world. Domestically, the occurrence of this form of terrorism is infrequent but should be a consideration for nuclear waste transportation planners and any DOE counter-terrorism policy attempting to reduce the risk of such attacks.

2.4 Analysis

Using the Rand/St. Andrews data set as the primary data source, we find that terrorism exists and that terrorists have in the past attacked both transportation- and energy-related targets. In fact, for the period 1968-1992, the Rand/St. Andrews Chronology has recorded 7929 trans-national terrorist incidents (see Table 3). Of these terrorist incidents, 187 were directed at energy-related targets (see Table 5). In addition, 168 trans-national terrorist incidents were recorded against land-based transportation (see Table 7).

Together, these figures allow us to tentatively define some of the risks associated with potential trans-national terrorism attacks against Yucca Mountain transportation plans. We should caution, however, that it is important not to overstate the threat of international terrorism with respect to energy-related targets. The Rand/St. Andrews Chronology is unspecific as to the separation of nuclear targets and those against power stations and other energy-related targets. Specific attacks on nuclear-related targets are recorded in 1975(1), 1979(2), and 1982(1). Using these numbers, the threat of direct trans-national nuclear terrorism is significantly less than that directed against energy-related targets overall. Determination of the actual number of nuclear-related terrorist incidents recorded in the Rand/St. Andrews chronology requires a complete physical review of the actual reports on nearly 8,000 data entries. As a result of this limitation, this report only offers available aggregate data on energy/nuclear targets as the basis of this preliminary threat analysis.

In addition to the Rand chronologies, extensive data is available from those agencies or government departments that are impacted by terrorism. Yearly reports by United States Department of State's Bureau of Diplomatic Security(18) offer a different perspective on the threat of terrorism than that found within the Rand Chronology. The focus of these reports is anti-American terrorist incidents. In one Bureau of Diplomatic Security report (1992), we find 189 documented incidents of terrorism defined as anti-American. These worldwide events chronicle a pattern of terrorism similar to that found by Rand and other terrorist databases. One pattern is abundantly clear; the majority of all forms of terrorist attack are bombings.(19)

In addition to offering supportive statistics, the Bureau of Diplomatic Security report (1992)(20) offers an interesting and relevant terrorist example. On July 11, 1992, terrorists attacked the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. The drawing in Figure 1 was excerpted from that report and helps to visually demonstrate the level of technology terrorists have used in the recent past. What is important about this attack is that the terrorists used rocket-propelled munitions. Similar weapons could be used against shipments of high-level nuclear wastes. This attack's level of technological sophistication is not the norm in terrorism, but should be considered in any risk assessment project related to nuclear waste shipments. DOE planners should note that the type of terrorism that societies will face in the not too distant future may very well include tactics and weapons similar to, or more sophisticated than, those used in this attack. The attached text was also present in the report and further illustrates a pattern of terrorist activity using similar technologically advanced tactics.

Figure 1. Rocket Attacks Against U.S. Consulate

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In conclusion, international terrorism is a threat to the social fabric of the world. Trans-national terrorism is real and has the potential of being a risk factor in the shipment of high-level nuclear waste to the proposed Yucca Mountain repository. The most common tactic used by terrorists is some form of bombing. Additionally, while most terrorists use low level technology in their attacks, there has been a rise in the sophistication level of terrorism in recent years. While run-of-the-mill terrorism tactics are less of a threat to the security of the MPC or GA cask shipments scheduled for Yucca Mountain, the potential for very sophisticated tactics to be used in the near future is rising.

2.5 Domestic Terrorism Threats

On April 19, 1995, domestic-based terrorists ignited an explosive device in Oklahoma City. This device killed 168, injured 503, damaged 320 buildings, and resulted in an estimated recovery cost of $650 million. Many terrorism scholars and politicians worry that this is the beginning of a wave of domestic terrorism. Current FBI data on domestic terrorism does not necessarily support such speculations, but these ideas do demonstrate the power of terrorism on public opinion and policy. It may be best to view this act of terrorism as the governor of Oklahoma did after the April 19, 1995 bombing. Governor Keating said, "The bombing was an aberration. It's the most serious terrorist incident in U.S. history. Grieve, heal, and be angry, but don't be excessively fearful."(21)

While Governor Keating's advice is excellent, another message is clear to all Americans who saw those terrible pictures of dead children, half destroyed buildings, and feared for their own safety. Americans did this to other Americans. Domestic groups can and would terrorize those who live around them. While enormous amounts of resources have been dedicated to fighting international terrorism over the last twenty-five years, it was only with the terrible tragedy of Oklahoma City that it became clear that homegrown varieties of terrorism could pose a serious problem. This tragedy points out the danger of ignoring the potential risk of domestic terrorist attack using explosives against nuclear waste shipments simply because such an attack has not previously occurred.

The Oklahoma bombing was surprising to many. Scholars have for years tracked various domestic groups that have the potential to conduct such violence. Many groups are currently under scholarly and criminal investigation. Animal rights groups have conducted protests that have been defined as terroristic (McClellan 1993). Reports like the U.S. Department of Justice's "Terrorism in the United States" use figures from the research of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Terrorist Research and Analytical Center in Washington D.C. to define both domestic and international threat of terrorist attack by a variety of groups (FBI 1989). According to the FBI reports, the most prominent domestic terrorist group is attributed to the Puerto Rican separatist movement. Another area of concern is a resurgence of domestic terrorism against airlines. Domestic and international airline safety guidelines can be found in "Eye on Airline Security Technology" (Boynton 1992). This report address the fears of airline professionals that terrorists will use explosives against commercial aircraft. Radical environmentalists have been suspected of domestic terrorism that involves nuclear facilities at the Palo Verde power plant and energy-related sabotage in Palo Alto, California (Badolato 1991). In fact, environmental terrorism has been labeled part of a national eco-terrorist network (Badolato 1991). Such eco-terrorists could become a threat, or be in direct opposition, to the proposed Yucca Mountain facility.(22)

2.6 Nevada-based Terrorism

Many of the groups and movements mentioned in Section 2.5 exist within the borders of Nevada and pose a potential risk assessment problem for transportation planners. Besides hosting groups that may violently oppose construction of the Yucca Mountain facility, Nevada has experienced terrorist incidents in the past. In 1939, a luxury passenger train named the "City of San Francisco" was derailed in a narrow rocky gorge near Carlin, Nevada. Twenty-four passengers and crew died, all three locomotives were destroyed, 10 of the 14 cars derailed, and five of the cars plunged into the river. The coroner's jury, a local board of inquiry, and the Interstate Commerce Commission made investigations into the crash and found that it was the result of sabotage.(23)

Some observers believe that Nevada is currently in the midst of a wave of anti-government inspired terrorism aimed at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), U.S. Forest Service, and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) offices in the Reno area. On December 17, 1995, an explosive device was placed outside the Reno IRS building. The device, similar in construction (but not size) to the Oklahoma City bomb, was found the next day by an employee of the building. The device was intended to explode but proved to be a dud. Two Nevada residents were later charged with this terrorist act and are currently within the criminal justice system awaiting trial/disposition.

This incident comes in the wake of repeated attacks against northern Nevada BLM and U.S. Forest Service offices and employees. Two separate bombings should be noted. On March 30, 1995, a Forest Service office in Carson City was bombed. The offices suffered minor damage. On August 4, 1995, a ranger who serves out of that office had his home attacked. While the ranger was away from home, someone used explosives to destroy the ranger's family vehicle. In addition to the damage to the vehicle, this attack threatened the ranger's family and home.

Nevada Senator Harry Reid felt the attacks were the result of "extremist elements" within the states' rights movement (Riley 1995, p. 18). Senator Reid's statement ascribed the attacks to the "ugly underbelly of the county supremacy movement in Nevada" (p. 28). These comments refer to the radical 'Sagebrush Rebellion' movement in Nevada and other western states. This 'movement' advocates the release of control by federal agencies of land in Nevada and other states. Such 'resistance' to federal authority is a populist mantra in many western states and strongly felt in Nevada's Nye County (site of Yucca Mountain). In fact, one Nye County Commissioner has been identified with this movement and many consider him a leader in the rebellion.(24)

It is not unreasonable to conclude that such sentiments could inspire domestic terrorism against nuclear waste shipment and storage. Nevada has a strong tradition of frontier justice and law. Its citizens have a high quotient of resentment toward federal authority. Nevadans resent federal government policies on land use, perceived privacy violations by federal agencies, and are concerned about civil liberty issues like gun control. Such a cultural milieu is in direct conflict with the federally mandated establishment of Nevada as the waste repository for America's nuclear power industry. As a result of such anti-federalist sentiment, this report contends that the potential exists for terrorist activity by some elements within the state. This potential risk could be directed against the Yucca Mountain project and rail/truck shipments destined for that project.

2.7 Does a Threat Exist?

The above sub-sections addressed the possibility of domestic terrorists (nationwide and within Nevada) attacking shipments of high-level nuclear waste destined for the proposed Yucca Mountain repository. When we combine this data with the sub-sections on international terrorism threats, we can conclude that attacks have already transpired that could be reasonably foreseen for the Yucca Mountain project.

We have statistics from the Rand/St. Andrews data set as to targets (transportation-related) of international terrorism in the U.S. from 1980-1992: 40 incidents displayed in Table 8; energy and/or nuclear-related incidents from 1980-1992: 64 incidents displayed in Table 6, but these numbers significantly understate the threat of terrorism because they only record trans-national incidents that occurred.

To better construct a domestic risk profile of terrorism, it is useful to consult the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for statistics on domestic terrorism. In the FBI report on domestic terrorism, we see that 21.9% of domestic terrorism investigated by the FBI was perpetuated in the western state's geographic region.(25) Of all the reported incidents during the five-years of the FBI report (1989-1993), seventy-five percent (75%) were attacks using explosives (see Tables 11, 12, and 13 below).

As previously discussed, the primary threat of terrorist attack is consistently identified as explosive devices. The federal agency that studies explosive incidents as part of its primary investigative mission is the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF). To better understand the pervasive use of such weapons, this report examines the ATF statistics on the illegal use of explosives in the United States (see Table 11 below). The "1993 Explosives Incidents Report" from the ATF offers statistics for the years 1989-1993. During this five year period, 7,716 total bombings occurred in the United States. Two hundred and fifty-eight persons were killed, and another 3,419 were injured (ATF 1993, p. 13). During this time, 79 bombing incidents were recorded in Nevada, which ranked 31st in total explosive incidents per state (p 16).(26) These statistics suggest that the threat of terrorism by explosive device is tangible. This further suggests that systems of countermeasures should be constructed to prevent potential attacks of this nature.

A risk assessment on the potential for terrorism with respect to Yucca Mountain shipments must recognize the fact that, both internationally and domestically, terrorists have used various methods to disrupt energy and transportation activities. In particular, the primary tactic used is explosives, and this threat introduces an element of risk into the transportation of high-level nuclear waste. The extent of this risk is as yet unverified and/or undefined. Serious problems exist about how to define the risk of terrorism with regard to the proposed Yucca Mountain project. Once the nuclear waste transportation system is designed, routes to Yucca Mountain are chosen, baseline information regarding assessments of potential adversaries is created, and a technical assessment of the shipping containers ability to withstand realistically employable munitions is carried out, the risk of terrorism attack against Yucca Mountain shipments will become more definable.


The consequences of any large-scale accident or terrorist incident are directly related to measurable disruptions created in economic stability, the environment, our existing social fabric, and the moral structure of our communities. As with many criminal acts, the definition of terrorism is complicated by the misuse of the term (Jenkins, 1980). The same promiscuous, and often fetishized, use of terminology that is found in criminal acts can be applied to a discussion of terrorism. While generally pejorative in nature, it should be understood that not all of the consequences of a terrorist act are negative. Regardless of this disclaimer, the following information focuses on the negative aspects of a terrorist incident for two reasons. The first reason is the danger posed by radiological contamination (or potential thereof) to the social structure of Nevada's communities. Secondly, traditional risk assessment involves the contemplation of negative consequence probabilities. Thus, this study focuses on potential worst-case scenarios and the consequences related thereto.

In recognition of this focus, we will first examine certain characteristics of the overall project and their impact on Nevada. Next, we will discuss some of the characteristics of spent nuclear fuel and their potential impact on public health. Third, we will examine general public perceptions of the risks surrounding the transportation of nuclear waste. Lastly, we will consider the economic, environmental, social, and moral consequences of a terrorist attack.

3.1 Potential Waste Shipments

Under current DOE plans, high-level waste shipments to the proposed Yucca Mountain repository would begin about 2010 and continue for at least 25 years. Subject to pending legislation, it is possible that DOE would be compelled to open and operate a interim facility at the Nevada Test Site while awaiting completion of the Yucca Mountain site studies. These interim shipments could begin as early as 1998. This deadline may be subject to both congressional and judicial decree.

No matter the time frame, once operations begin at either an interim or permanent facility, more SNF and HLW will be shipped to these facilities each year than during the entire history of the nuclear industry in the United States. While exact numbers are uncertain at this time, an interim or permanent site would likely receive several shipments per week for anywhere between 25 and 40 years. It is within this context that the potential for terrorist attacks should be evaluated.

3.2 Scope of Shipments

Thousands of shipments will be necessary to transport the vast quantities of radioactive waste currently in storage. In fact, 30,000 metric tons uranium (MTU) of SNF are currently securely stored at 76 reactor sites around the country. Expectations are that by the year 2040, upwards of 85,000 MTU of SNF will need disposal. In addition to these quantities of SNF, an additional 16,000 to 50,000 canisters of HLW, primarily from weapons production facilities, will also need disposal. These shipments of HLW, from four DOE facilities, translate into an additional 8,000 to 25,000 MTU of waste products.(27)

3.3 Multi-Purpose Canister System (MPC)

Throughout this report, we have discussed many of the shipment options available to Yucca Mountain transportation planners. In this sub-section, we will focus on one of the primary options, the proposed multi-purpose canister system. In 1994, DOE proposed developing a nuclear waste transportation system based upon the maximum utilization of the MPC concept (see Appendix D). Under the MPC concept, SNF would be sealed inside canisters at reactor sites and placed within casks or overpacks for storage, shipment, and disposal (see Figure 2).(28)

Figure 2. MPC Transport, Storage, and Disposal System

See the hard copy of this report for actual graphics.

As a result of the MPC's overall weight (currently two sizes are being considered - 75 tons and 125 tons), they were primarily considered for rail transportation although barge and heavy haul truck shipments are options (see Figure 3).(29)

Figure 3. Direct MPC Transfer

See the hard copy of this report for actual graphics.

Under the current proposal, MPC's could be used in 90% of the SNF shipments to a geologic repository like Yucca Mountain. Currently, Westinghouse Electric Corporation has a contract to create MPC designs that will be subject to NRC licensing. Those plans will only account for some of the needed shipments, since every reactor is not suitable for the application of this form of integrated system. Approximately 10% of the total SNF MTU from 19 reactors would require alternative shipment arrangements like the General Atomics designed casks (GA-4 and GA-9). Information on these designs and their uses are included in Figures 4 and 5 below.

Figure 4. GA-4 and GA-9 Tractor-Trailer and Cask

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Figure 5. GA-4 and GA-9 Cask Designs(30)

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3.3.1 Nevada's Comments on MPC Usage

DOE and the State of Nevada have studied the risks and impacts of an MPC-based system. For example, within DOE's plan for the preparation of the environmental impact statement (EIS), there are two primary transportation options. One of these options is a transportation system based upon the MPC concept. A second option is for truck-only shipments of SNF and HLW.

In response to DOE's EIS scoping activity, the State of Nevada has prepared a detailed analysis of this planning and the risks associated with MPC concept utilization. In short, the State's analysis can be divided into two specific areas of concern that relate to this discussion. First, Nevada has constructed an examination of the most likely number and mixture of shipments, given currently available information. Second, Nevada has identified the most likely rail and highway routes for such shipments.(31)

The State of Nevada, NWPO staff, and consultants have evaluated both the truck-only(32) and MPC concept planning using the assumption that all projected SNF and HLW would be shipped to the proposed Yucca Mountain facility. Under the MPC option, there could be in excess of 9,400 rail cask shipments and 6,200 truck shipments of SNF from commercial power plants alone. HLW from DOE facilities such as Idaho National Engineering Lab, Savannah River, Hanford, and West Valley could total additional 12,500-rail cask shipments. Given these numbers of shipments, planners could expect 2-3 rail and 3-4 highway shipments per week for a thirty-year period.

Also in response to the EIS scoping activity, the State of Nevada has identified potential railroad routes to the proposed repository (see Figure 6). The State is particularly concerned about shipments of SNF through Las Vegas by way of the Union Pacific line. In fact, the State has identified that the best way to eliminate shipments into the Las Vegas area is to construct a northern rail spur per DOE route specifications.

In addition to rail route concerns relative to potentially risky environments, the State of Nevada has expressed concern for similar highway transportation plans. Current plans could potentially direct all truck shipments to enter Nevada on I-15 from either California or Arizona. This choice would route waste shipments through the downtown Las Vegas I-15/US 95 interchange. Of the alternative highway proposals currently under consideration, the State has estimated that NDOT (Nevada Department of Transportation) B route (US 93A, US 93, US 6, and US 95) would be capable of carrying nearly all of the 6,200 SNF truck shipments. Any alternative choice, and the NDOT B route in particular, would have major impacts on rural communities and localities. For example, the Route B option would potentially impact areas like Elko, White Pine, Nye, and Esmeralda counties (see Figure 7).

Figure 6. Potential Rail Routes - Nevada(33)

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Figure 7. Potential Highway Routes

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3.3.2 Current MPC Status

The planning and analysis of the MPC system is currently uncertain. Congressional budget restrictions in 1996 forced a suspension of work on MPC designs. Such a work stoppage brings into question the eventual use of the MPC concept. This report has analyzed this transportation option based upon four specific criteria. First, both DOE and the State of Nevada have studied the MPC concept. Second, the United States Navy has continued development of the concept for eventual disposal of SNF from Navy reactors. Third, DOE has not yet replaced this concept with an alternative transportation option. Last, current rail cask designs are similar in characteristics to the MPC concept. Taken together, these four criteria suggest that an MPC-type system may be adopted for at least some shipments of waste.(34)

3.4 Characteristics of SNF

To this point, the discussion of transportation options has ignored the highly radioactive nature of the materials to be shipped by such systems. Terrorism risk assessment activities should recognize that the physical and radiological characteristics of high-level waste are an equally important aspect for planners. These materials (SNF and HLW) are very hazardous, but as solid materials, they are not easily dispersed even in the event of an extremely severe accident or successful terrorist attack. These materials are not considered combustible nor explosive.

Given these qualifiers, nuclear waste shipments do pose a hazard because they are highly radioactive. Any release of these materials would pose a significant human health hazard and create substantial environmental damage (See Appendix F for a more detailed discussion on nuclear waste characteristics). The following sub-sections offer two dimensions defined as technical and perceived risks relevant to the danger these shipments pose for the public.

3.4.1 Technical Risk Factors

The reference SNF shipment for the Yucca Mountain project is a fuel assembly from a pressurized water reactor that has cooled for 10 years before shipment. During that ten year storage phase, the total reactivity in a single fuel assembly declines from more than one million curies to about 180,000 curies. This cooling does not alter the fact that in-transit SNF will still be extremely dangerous. In fact, surface dose rates from unshielded assemblies can create a lethal dose in three minutes (at 1-yard distance) and significantly increase the risk of human health hazards in as little as thirty seconds (i.e., cancer and genetic damage).

The actual level of hazards that SNF poses for public health is debatable among radiological experts. Perhaps the best way to illustrate the dangerous nature of SNF is to examine the consequences of a maximum credible transportation accident scenario. One DOE study (Sandquist, et al. 1985) focused on the potential release of a fraction of 1% of material from a rail cask. This study estimated that this hypothesized release of 1400 curies of cobalt, cesium, and strontium isotopes has the potential to contaminate an area of 40 square miles and would cost more than $600,000,000 to clean up (if it happened in an rural area).(35)

3.4.2 Perceived Risk Studies

In the last sub-section, we affirmed the idea that SNF is a potentially dangerous material. In this section, we examine the public's perception of that danger. Opinion polls are one measure of the public's concern about SNF transportation and the vulnerability of shipments to potential terrorist attacks. In a 1989 statewide poll done for the State of Nevada, large percentages of Nevadans expressed fear of accidents and terrorism. In fact, when asked if they felt highway and rail accidents will occur in transporting wastes to the repository, fully 77.4% responded that they strongly agree or somewhat agree (Strongly 36.6%; Somewhat 40.8%). When directly asked if shipments were safe from sabotage or terrorist attack, 61.4% disagreed (40.4% Strongly Disagree; 21.0% Somewhat Disagree). Similar risk assessment opinions were found in a national poll done by the University of New Mexico's Institute for Public Policy. When asked if spent nuclear fuel transportation is "very risky", 52% responded in the affirmative. When asked if the respondent would oppose such shipments through "your town or city", 61% responded in the affirmative.

The public has a perception of the risks associated with transporting nuclear waste that may not necessarily reflect the actual technical threat that these shipments pose. What matters is that this perception is real and seems to be strongly held. When considering the risks associated with transporting nuclear waste to the Yucca Mountain facility, planners should focus both on the technical risks of SNF and the perceptions of those risks. Most importantly, from the standpoint of this report, the extraordinarily high levels of perceived risk held by the public may make nuclear waste shipments more attractive targets for terrorists.

3.5 Attack Analysis for SNF

Any terrorist consequence analysis should consider a range of potential attack methods, locations, environments, and outcomes. The sub-sections above have tried to lay out some of the problems with SNF and HLW transportation as they relate to potential terrorist attacks. Prior to addressing the actual economic, environmental, social, and moral consequences of an attack, it is useful to examine a range of potential attack methods, locations, and outcomes in contrast to the NRC's analytical approach that focused on a single method (explosives), location (urban), and outcome (damage to cask and contents released). The NRC worst-case analysis bounded the consequences that may be inherent in transporting nuclear waste and may have missed important consequential nuances.

Planners should consider other attack methods. First and foremost is the danger posed by currently available rocket propelled munitions that have armor-piercing capability.(36) Given that current cask designs lack armor specifically intended to prevent penetration by such weapons, an attack could potentially breach the cask wall, resulting in an extremely dangerous situation. Planners should also consider potential use of high-energy explosive devices (e.g., shaped charges or a massive truck bomb) and they're potential to penetrate the cask impact limiter and closure lid of a cask. If these devices are capable of breaching the integrity of the casks by opening the lid, then the consequences could be substantial. Lastly, DOE and NRC planners should consider the effect of a catastrophic impact caused by a terrorist attack. If, for example, a train were to be attacked by collapsing a tunnel on it, the contents could be crushed, and radioactive materials may leak into the environment. Together these attack scenarios suggest that the range of alternative terrorist methods is much larger than an attack by explosives only.

In addition to the range of attack methods one could foresee, we should also study a range of attack locations. Rural areas, suburban communities, urban regions, and special event locations are a few of the many locations that may increase risks associated with the transportation of nuclear waste. Each area has its own unique characteristics and requires different planning to minimize the effects of a potential attack. Planners should consider the effects of the different localities during counter-terrorism system design.

The last variable that should be considered by transportation planners is the range of outcomes that may result from a cask being breached, the contents damaged, radioactive materials released, and/or a critical loss of shielding around the shipment. This range of outcomes should include undamaged casks, damaged casks with no release of radioactive materials but with loss of shielding, and the worst case of a damaged cask with materials released and radioactive contamination spread across a wide area.

The complexity of any analysis of consequences requires transportation planners to study a wide range of potential risks for nuclear waste shipments. A focus on a single worst-case scenario may provide insufficient preparation and thus increase the consequences of any terrorist attack. The amount of released materials and radioactive contamination is debatable, but a reasonable and contemporary weapons analysis may demonstrate that the studies done in the 1970's and early 1980's did not consider the consequence of attack across a wide range of potentials as discussed herein.

3.5.1 NRC Terrorist Attack Analysis

Relying on research that focused on outdated weapons by current standards and testing outdated cask designs, the NRC summarized studies of terrorism effects as follows:

"A shipping cask has been subjected to attack by explosive to evaluate cask and spent fuel response to a device 30 times larger in explosive weight than a typical anti-tank weapon. This device would carve an approximately 3-inch diameter hole through the cask wall and contained spent fuel and is estimated to cause the release of 2/100,000 of the total fuel weight (10 grams of fuel) in an inhalable form." (NRC 1987)

The readily available NRC consequence analysis has been challenged by a number of critics. The NRC analysis assumes a single cask and concludes that the results of an attack would be no early fatalities and less than one latent cancer fatality in a densely populated urban center (i.e., New York City). The NRC study also found that, given unfavorable conditions (rush hour traffic in a critical location), the results were still no early fatalities and less then three latent cancer fatalities. Additional studies sponsored by DOE found similar results. In the DOE simulations, a cask carrying one fuel assembly was exposed to attack conditions. This simulation was calculated to release 17 grams of SNF with an estimate of no fatalities and 7 latent cancer deaths. (NRC 1984).

Critics have questioned the estimates of potential damage to casks, potential health effects, and the economic effects resulting from a terrorism attack on a SNF shipment. Clearly, this is an area of debate among the opponents and proponents of the proposed Yucca Mountain facility. Regardless of the debate, we can begin to assess the risks of a terrorist attack by factoring in the many areas of concern detailed above and maintaining a focus on four specific areas: economics consequences, the environment, social disruptions, and moral obligations.

3.6 Economics

The most discussed consequence of a nuclear waste transportation accident or terrorist incident is the potential adverse impact on the State and local economies. Considerable research literature exists addressing the economic impact of siting a facility at Yucca Mountain (NWPO, 1993; NWPO, 1995b; Impact Assessment, Inc., 1994). The major fear of State officials and local businesspersons is a loss of tourism revenue. The Nevada Agency for Nuclear Projects believes either an actual accident or the perceived risk of such an incident could create serious negative effects for Las Vegas, Clark County, and the State of Nevada. The Agency's annual report states:

"The actual size of these potential negative effects has not been determined yet, and the subject remains under study. However, the study concluded that each one-percent decline for Clark County in spending by visitors, retired people, and investors relative to the baseline levels assumed to occur in some future year (e.g., 2010) could produce an annual loss of 7,000 jobs and $200 million in income. It is not clear how large a percentage decline could be expected as a result of repository-related perceptions, nor how long it would last, but corresponding cases involving risk-related declines in tourist spending indicate that such decline could be well in excess of the conservative one-percent illustrated here. Further research into analogous cases is planned to test these assumptions." (NWPO 1997, p. 69)

With regard to the economic effects of a terrorism incident, clearly such consequences as defined herein, as well as others, should be anticipated. In addition, the human cost of a hazardous incident must be added to these figures. We will now examine three additional categories of consequences. We do so in the hope of providing a more detailed account of the actual costs of a potential terrorist attack.

3.7 Environmental Costs and Risks

The environmental costs and risks associated with a radiological terrorist-inspired incident are significant. The cost of cleanup, disposal of contaminated materials, medical treatment of local residents/response crews, long-term administering of health issues, and possible hydrologic contamination all require attention by risk assessment scholars.

The primary problem when one considers the willful attempt to expose the environment to radionuclides and other hazardous materials is at what level would these contaminants be found after the incident. If, for example, a terrorist attack was to breach both sides of an MPC or GA-4/GA-9(37) cask, concurrent with a prolonged fire, what would be the airborne dispersion of radiological contamination? Another consideration is the effects such an incident would have on the soil and groundwater at the site. What would be the long-term contamination level associated with such an attack scenario? How would such contamination affect plants, animals, and human habitat? The best conclusion this report can make is that the long-term potential risks to the environment from radiological contamination created by terrorist acts could be significant.(38)

3.8 Social Consequences

In addition to the economic and environmental risk factors of a terrorist incident, we could reasonably expect negative social consequences. One of the primary motivations for State and local oversight of the Yucca Mountain project is to ensure public trust in DOE's programs, safeguards, procedures, and management of high-level waste related to the proposed repository. An attempted, or successful, attack against a rail or truck shipment of high-level waste would certainly raise questions as to the viability of said programs, safeguards, procedures, and management. In fact, this may prove to be the single most important motivation for the terrorist organization contemplating such an attack.(39)

Most terrorism rests on the fact that the threat of an attack is mitigated by social consequences. The terrorist organization normally attempts to "convince" its audience of the viability of its political statement by disregarding the normative controls against violence. If a terrorist group was to gain the necessary technical expertise to successfully attack a nuclear waste shipment, they would need a motivation level above the normative terrorist structure. That is, they could be insensitive to (or perhaps even thrive on) public rejection and/or care little for the consequences of their actions. Such normative disunity would be as rare as a group able to garner the technical expertise for an attack capable of breaching a MPC or GA cask.(40) Regardless of the terrorists' intentions, the social costs of an attack would be enormous. The general loss of public trust, possible catastrophic social disruption from rural out-migration due to an accident, long-term public fear associated with radiological contamination, and the disruption in normal everyday activities resulting from such an attack are but a few examples of social costs.

3.9 Moral Considerations

The last topic of this section is the moral cost associated with a terrorist attack. While traditional risk assessment studies reduce the loss of human lives to probabilities, this study strives to recognize those losses in a direct manner. Any terrorist attempt, successful or otherwise, that results in the loss of human life or a reduction in life expectancy must be condemned. These moral considerations also act as a reminder that risk has consequences. In particular, the risk resulting from insufficient oversight diligence, both by DOE and the State of Nevada, may well include the loss of life. It is incumbent on both to remember that risk assessment probabilities translate into real family tragedies, lost parents, and long-term health problems. One need only look to the Oklahoma tragedy for confirmation.

3.10 Conclusion

The possible consequences of a terrorist attack against a shipment of high-level nuclear waste to the proposed Yucca Mountain facility are potentially huge. The probability of an attack is unknown at this time. However, there are strong indications that the susceptibility of high-level waste shipments to terrorism is far greater than policy makers have anticipated to date. The costs of such susceptibility and the consequences associated with any failure to address these issues can be measured economically, environmentally, socially, and morally.

The State of Nevada has expressed concern with the NRC data and the interpretation of the consequences of a terrorist attack as follows:

"The assumption that shipping casks will survive severe accidents or terrorist incidents is not convincing, since the performance standards used in cask licensing may not reflect credible worst-case accident or attack conditions, and since none of the casks currently in use have actually been tested to determine if they comply with current standards. Tests conducted with full-scale obsolete models did not subject the casks to worst-case accident and sabotage conditions" (NWPO 1988, pp. 45-46).

Since 1988, the State of Nevada has taken the position that DOE must specifically examine the risks and impacts of terrorist attacks resulting in a loss of shielding or in the release of radioactive materials to the environment.

This report suggests that a potential for attack exists and that the consequences of an attack could be substantial. It is the responsibility of everyone involved in oversight activities to integrate a susceptibility profile into daily policy making decisions. The threat of terrorist attack is real. Attacks have and will continue to be a major problem for government agencies around the world. The extremely complex nature of terrorism crosses many legal, moral, and jurisdictional lines when prevention and enforcement of existing laws are considered. In the next section of this report, we will focus on those agencies that have jurisdiction over terrorist threats and how these agencies could help protect Nevada residents and high-level nuclear waste shipments to the potential repository at Yucca Mountain.


This section is designed to review existing systems that are available to protect against the terrorist threat/risk to shipments of high-level nuclear waste. During this discussion, we will first focus on existing intelligence networks that attempt to identify, counteract, detect, and thwart terrorism. The second sub-section discusses the engineering systems relevant to any deliberation of terrorism and MPC/GA cask transportation. The last sub-section will discuss transportation issues relevant to the proposed Yucca Mountain repository.

4.1 Intelligence

In this sub-section, we will examine the intelligence infrastructure that exists for the protection of communities, citizens, and facilities like the proposed repository at Yucca Mountain. This discussion will be divided into four sections: International, Domestic, State, and Local. While these agencies and programs are separated into jurisdictional entities, it should be readily apparent that all levels of counter-terrorism protection would be involved in the prevention of an attack against high-level nuclear waste shipments.

4.1.1 International

"Terrorism is a serious problem, and calls for a serious response founded on a clear and accurate assessment of the facts. In the past, the Administration and Congress have found it highly relevant to look at the numbers and trends of terrorist incidents as a predicate for policy decision." (Center for National Security Studies (CNSS) 1995, p. 1)

The motivation for much of the research on terrorism is to create, maintain, and publish various reports that would satisfy the informational need of policy makers. In addition to the obvious function of information gathering, some agencies play an active role in the prevention of terrorism. In international affairs, many agencies have overlapping jurisdiction with regard to terrorism.(41) In general, the intelligence community of the United States consists of the following:

Table 9. Intelligence Community Members

See the hard copy of this report for actual graphics.

While many of these agencies have a defense function, they also possess unique capabilities that could be used in the event of a terrorist attack of trans-national origin against the proposed Yucca Mountain facility. In fact, the technical expertise for a terrorist attack capable of breaching an MPC or GA cask would most likely be found in ex-military personnel, and such agencies could be invaluable in the identification of the attackers, should that become necessary.

The primary agencies that would be used to combat international terrorism include the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the State Department, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The CIA has been increasingly concerned with the international terrorist threat. In its role as advisor to the federal administrative branch, the CIA actively engages in intelligence work that directly relates to potential threats posed by various international groups.

The State Department represents a body of working professionals who have daily contact with potential threat situations. Additionally, diplomats and their staff must confront the victims of terrorism directly. Their unique observational position offers an opportunity to collect intelligence data, evaluate threat potential, and provide advice with regard to potential threat possibilities.

The other international intelligence agency we will discuss in this report is the FBI. "The FBI is the lead agency responsible for combating terrorism in the United States and against U.S. interests throughout the world." (FBI 1993, p. 17). The FBI's mission (domestic or international) is two-fold: first, identify and prevent terrorist incidents; and second, manage the investigative response should an incident occur. Such interdiction and investigation strategies are the primary defense against the threat of international terrorism.

In general, we can conclude that intelligence activity, as conducted by various agencies mentioned herein, follow three basic goals: prevention by identification; proactive policy decisions; and reactive responses. Good intelligence management and procedures will help ensure a maximum prevention posture. Proactive intelligence gathering ensures prompt investigation of possible threats. Lastly, reactivity is the intense and prompt response to threats, attacks, and potential international circumstances that could affect American citizens. Together, these three goals represent the cornerstone of effective counter-terrorism policy.

Specifically, these agencies bring a wealth of information to the study of terrorism risks. Directly related to the Yucca Mountain project, we find that the databases each agency possess could be used to help profile the risk of a terrorist attack against nuclear waste shipments. Each of the agencies also possesses unique informational gathering apparatuses that could be deployed to protect shipments and assess terrorist threats. In their daily operations, these agencies accumulate intelligence relevant to the project. Such information would be invaluable for the construction of responsible risk profiles. Lastly, each agency offers technical expertise relevant for the creation of high-level nuclear waste counter-terrorist policies. Together, these agencies offer considerable counter-terrorism know-how. What is needed is the recognition that terrorism possesses a threat to shipments of high-level waste. After that recognition, what is needed is intense federal interagency cooperation to combat the specific threat against SNF and HLW shipments.

4.1.2 National

In this section, we will discuss the role of various domestic agencies in the assessment of domestic terrorism threats and examine agency missions as they relate to the proposed Yucca Mountain repository. Department of Energy (DOE)

As the primary agency involved with the proposed high-level nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain, DOE is in a unique position with respect to threat assessment. Currently, DOE is involved with counter-terrorism policy. DOE maintains an Office of Threat Assessment (OTA) whose primary mission is to provide periodic assessments of possible/actual threats of various types, and, presumably, terrorism is one such threat.

A review of DOE's mission provides ample evidence that this organization should be concerned with the threat of terrorism, both internationally and domestically. Briefly, the Department of Energy, pursuant to the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, is responsible for the design, testing, production, and maintenance of nuclear weapons. Additionally, the Department engages in activities that support the energy-related applications of nuclear technology. In the role described above, it is incumbent upon DOE to provide physical protection for facilities and transportation activities related to said mission. Such security mandates help ensure that no acts of sabotage and/or terrorism are successful. The primary DOE policy motivation should be to ensure the public's health and security.

One asset that DOE possesses is knowledge of and the capability for collection of information about threats to shipments. Unfortunately, the maintenance of this knowledge and related collection activities are restricted by the Privacy Act of 1974. This important restriction limits the maintenance of a system of records within the meaning of said Act. These limitations may increase the risk of a terrorist attack because of information voids created by these limitations on information gathering activities. As a result of the Privacy Act of 1974 limitations, DOE may collect and maintain only certain types of information (see Table 10).

Table 10. Authorized DOE Information Activities

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The OTA is the primary DOE office involved in the determination of threat potentials from terrorism through the collection and dissemination of information. Working with DOE, the NRC develops safeguard regulations and systems for the protection of radiological shipments. The Department's Transportation Safeguards Division (TSD) is responsible for the safe transportation of weapons and materials. Working in tandem with the TSD, NRC, and other agencies, the OTA maintains a database that focuses on such items as the types of adversaries, consequences of attacks, incidents, skills, pre-incident indicators, target characteristics, etc.(42)

In conclusion, DOE currently possesses an infrastructure and resources relevant to any long-term determination of terrorism threats. This system could be valuable if modified and augmented by baseline data relevant to the proposed Yucca Mountain repository and nuclear waste shipment methods. Using existing DOE resources, a Yucca Mountain anti-terrorist database could be developed to track the threat potential that attacks pose. This project would constitute one of the baseline threat assessment activities mandated by DOE's agency mission statements and is relevant to the socioeconomic studies of potential Yucca Mountain impacts. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) maintains an Operations Branch within the Division of Safeguards and Transportation Office of the Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards that publishes the Safeguards Summary Event List (SSEL). The SSEL, pursuant to NUREG-0525, reports on safeguards-related incidents involving NRC licensees and materials. The SSEL presents statistical summaries and short abstracts of these incidents.

SSEL incidents are summarized across the five NRC regions, and incident descriptions are based on official NRC reports. The SSEL uses the following categories: bomb-related, intrusion, missing/allegedly stolen, radiological sabotage, non-radiological sabotage, alcohol/drug related, and miscellaneous. Each incident is listed in a single category unless it is transportation-related. Transportation-related events are cross-listed in the transportation section.(43) The information contained in the SSEL data set would be invaluable in establishing baseline assessments of transportation risks relative to the proposed Yucca Mountain project. The SSEL, however, does not include all relevant incidents (such as the 1986 attempted spent fuel train derailment). Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) is the primary investigative body for bombing incidents. This agency maintains extensive background information on the extent of explosives used in a variety of criminal activities. Since the primary methodology used by terrorists is explosives, it is fair to assume that the expertise of this agency is applicable to potential terrorism incidents.

The ATF maintains a variety of support programs necessary for the study of explosive investigations. Since 1978, the ATF has maintained a national response team to help law enforcement agencies with explosive and arson related investigations. Additionally, an international response team exists for investigation support of international explosive incidents.

Investigation teams are augmented by sophisticated laboratory and database systems. The ATF has regional laboratories in Atlanta and San Francisco. It also maintains the National Laboratory Center in Rockville, Maryland. Such technical expertise is amplified by two data systems: EXIS and SEAR. The explosive incidents system (EXIS) is a computerized record system on bombing episodes. As of 1993, it contained 180,861 records on 52,780 incidents (ATF 1993, p. 6). The stolen explosives and recoveries (SEAR) program attempts to track trends in thefts of explosive materials. These and other AFT programs help law enforcement agencies of all jurisdictions train for and investigate the effects of illegal use of explosives.

The ATF maintains a rich data set that tracks bombing trends. The low-energy yields of devices such as those commonly used by criminal bombing perpetrators are probably technically insufficient to cause a release of radioactive materials from a MPC or GA cask. The use of ATF data would best be summarized as applicable in tracking trends, establishment of a cultural predisposition to use explosives, indicators of explosive expertise within the general population (primarily by ex-military personnel), and an assessment of the cost (both in human lives and property damage) of various bombing methodologies.

The following chart (Table 11) provides a statistical summary of the ATF activities and investigations during a five-year period. In addition to the statistics on the pervasive illegal use of explosives by a variety of criminal elements, the body of the ATF report indicates that 167 thefts of military type explosives happened during 1989-1993 (p. 29). These thefts included substantial quantities of powerful explosives like TNT and C4. We also find that 40,815 pounds of high explosives were stolen during the same time frame (p. 29). Clearly, the ATF statistics demonstrate that a large number of thefts involving large quantities of explosive materials are occurring across the nation. The question for Yucca Mountain transportation planners is whether it is reasonable to consider such explosives and their potential use against waste shipments as risks worthy of study.(44) An additional consideration would focus on the technology, people, and training necessary to execute such an attack.(45)

Table 11. ATF Report 1993

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In the event of any large-scale social disruption caused by natural disaster, or in the case of Yucca Mountain, an accident or act of sabotage/terrorism, one federal agency has the primary role of coordinating relief efforts. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) designs systems to help prevent, reduce the risk of, and recover from large scale, socially disruptive incidents (e.g., hurricanes, bombings, tornadoes, floods). Additionally, FEMA is the federal agency charged with the construction and maintenance of a national emergency management infrastructure. An FEMA-designed and managed programmatic response to a terrorist incident would probably be used in the event of a serious radiological accident/emergency. Federal Bureau of Investigation

As discussed above, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the primary investigative agency in the event of domestic terrorism. The Bureau has extensive expertise in the identification, investigation, and apprehension of terrorists. While domestic terrorism (as defined by the Bureau) is a relatively small phenomenon, the FBI considers the threat real. One need only consult the newspapers for recent examples in Oklahoma and Arizona(46) for threat validation. Tables 12 and 13 contain FBI statistics on the extent of domestic terrorism investigations undertaken from 1989 to 1993.

Table 12. Terrorist Incidents in the US: 1989-1993

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Table 13. Suspected Terrorist Incidents in the US: 1989-1993

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Clearly, the infrastructure, resources, and expertise of the Bureau seem disproportionate to the number of attacks listed.(47) One explanation is that the FBI also handles investigations of international terrorism. In the event of a terrorist attack against radiological materials in transit to the proposed Yucca Mountain repository, the FBI would become the primary investigation agency responding to said attack.

Of concern to DOE repository planners and the State of Nevada is the regional differences in domestic terrorism activity. In addition to the above statistics, the FBI also breaks down attacks by geographic region for the years 1989 - 1993. In the forty-eight contiguous states, the western region ranks second in the total number of domestic terrorist incidents (Table 14).

Table 14. Attacks by Geographic Region

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What may account for the disproportionate number of terrorist incidents in the western part of the country? One problem may be militia movements found in many western states. Another is the social tradition of frontier justice and problems citizens have with federal control of vast tracts of lands in these western states.

The main consideration for potential terrorism threats to a Nevada facility could very well be the "Sagebrush Rebellion"(48) mentality prevalent in western states. In response to this "movement," such a geographic tracking model (modified) could be useful in the establishment of longitudinal data relevant to a risk assessment of nuclear waste shipments. In conclusion, the FBI would be vital to any investigation of regional differences in terrorism potential and the risk these pose for the proposed Yucca Mountain repository. Other Agencies

The use of additional agency support in the event of terrorism, or in an assessment of terrorism potential, would be warranted for a project like the repository. The Department of Transportation (DOT) could provide expertise in an evaluation of the risks associated with movement of radiological materials. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration may offer insights into transportation and materials handling personnel safety issues. A federal agency called the Nuclear Emergency Security Team (NEST) currently has a regional headquarters at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas. It is reasonable to assume that NEST could also become involved in the event of a radiological contamination event. Additionally, the Federal Radiological Monitoring and Assessment Center, the Atmospheric Release Advisory Capability, and the Aerial Measuring System are federal resources that would be employed under these circumstances.

Railroad safety, bridge maintenance, local law enforcement training, and many other vital functions could be organized using the existing resources (modified for this unique task) of various federal and state agencies. This type of coordination could help establish a baseline assessment of terrorism risk potential. Such interagency cooperation is vital to the successful construction of baseline information necessary for valid scientific studies of terrorism risk associated with MPC or GA cask delivery systems.

4.1.3 State of Nevada

The State of Nevada has various agencies that would be instrumental in assessing the threat and/or combating a terrorist threat against the proposed Yucca Mountain repository. The Nevada DOT has expertise on the roads and railways of Nevada. The Department of Motor Vehicles and Public Safety (including the Nevada Highway Patrol) has the patrol responsibility for roadway transportation routes. The State Emergency Response Commission and the Nevada Office of Emergency Management provide emergency management functions. These agencies should be involved in assessing the risk of a terrorist attack against truck and rail shipments to the proposed Yucca Mountain repository.

4.1.4 Local

At the local law enforcement level, we find one of the most important terrorism prevention measures: the police officer. Local police officers can assess the threat of small groups, gather intelligence on these groups, and track conceivably dangerous local "movements" as to their potential for violence. For example, Nye County, Nevada police officers have become proficient at identifying and capturing nuclear demonstrators attempting to trespass on the Nevada Test Site facility. This example of local expertise with potential threat groups helps demonstrate the indispensability of local law enforcement agencies (LLEA) for the protection of nuclear waste shipments.

To augment such localized expertise, special training is available at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Georgia. Here, law enforcement personnel (national, state, and local) receive training relevant to counter-terrorism activities. Clearly, all levels of Nevada law enforcement would need comprehensive training in counter-terrorism techniques to efficiently fulfill their role as the front line defense against terrorism.

4.2 Technology

The following sections present information relevant to engineering issues and terrorism. The discussion includes current technological issues, counter-terrorism issues, future weapon system technology, and transportation issues.

4.2.1 Current Technology

One key technological factor in the discussion of risk factors for transporting shipping casks containing SNF or high-level nuclear waste is their vulnerability to terrorist attack by currently available, or as yet undeveloped, weapons and munitions. Current DOE transportation planning for the proposed Yucca Mountain repository has generally emphasized the maximum use of a rail delivery system using larger capacity casks. In addition, DOE plans suggest the use of larger casks for truck shipments where rail shipment is unfeasible.(49) In the event that Congress passes legislation requiring DOE to begin storage operations within the 1998-2000 time frame, transportation experts expect that DOE will use older versions of casks until such time as these new designs become available.

Each of these transportation choices has risk implications for potential terrorist attacks. Older, lower capacity casks imply more shipments. Newer designs increase the vulnerability of shipments to attack because of their size and shape characteristics. While the actual final designs for each cask choice are as yet undetermined, it is reasonable to assume that an MPC-type system will be developed for rail shipments(50) and that high-capacity casks such as the GA-4/9 designs will be used in truck shipments. No matter the choice of shipment method, cask design characteristics have implications for terrorist attacks. For instance, wall thickness and composition may increase or decrease the overall protective structure in the event of an anti-tank weapon attack. The use of lead, polypropylene, depleted uranium, and stainless steel in the many cask design options offer varying degrees of radiation shielding but not necessarily protection in the event of an attack (see Table 15 and Figures 8, 9, and 10 on the following pages). Likewise, shape and size characteristics offer varying degrees of targeting or attack profiles in the event of an attack (i.e., square verses round designs may affect vulnerability to attack).

Table 15. Cask Materials

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Figure 8. GA-4 Cask Cross-Section(51)

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Figure 9. Large MPC(52)

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Figure 10. Large MPC -Top View

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A second major category of design/technology characteristics that should be addressed by transportation planners and risk assessment personnel is the armor penetration capability of currently available weapons that could be used by terrorists. In a March 1987 report on transporting SNF, the NRC seems to have addressed this issue. The NRC reported that a shipping cask had been subjected to attack by explosives to evaluate both the cask and SNF response in the event of an anti-tank weapon attack. In fact, they stated that the device used was 30 times larger that the typical anti-tank weapons and would have caused a 3-inch diameter hole in the cask wall (NRC 1987).

There are serious questions about how well the NRC and DOE tests simulated the effects of weapons currently available for possible use by a terrorist group. Guerrilla armies around the world are known to be equipped with older missiles such as the Soviet RPG-7 and the American M72 (Gander, 1990). While such weapons may be considered obsolete relative to modern battle tank armor, they still possess the ability to penetrate up to 300-350 mm of armor plate (Hogg, 1995), and they could pose a considerable threat to a nuclear waste shipping cask. Planners should consider the consequences relevant to terrorists conceivably obtaining one of the dozen or more anti-tank weapons currently capable of penetrating 400 mm to 900 mm of tank armor.

A review of one of the most successful and most widely available anti-tank weapons, the Milan missile, shows that it has an effective range of 2000 meters, covers that distance in 12.5 seconds, and can penetrate 1000 mm of armor plate (Hogg, 1995). This wire-guided system is relatively low-tech in comparison to some of the more exotic anti-tank weapons available and, when combined with any number of special munitions (i.e., warheads), could easily penetrate the wall thickness of current cask designs. Such a weapon could conceivably perforate current designs for truck or rail casks and represents a more realistic simulation model than a ubiquitous 'typical' weapon. Outdated Studies

While significant engineering expertise has been applied to the design of MPC's and GA-4/9 casks, critical questions remain. The actual performance of final design casks in the event of a terrorist attack has not been fully determined. Simulations done by Battelle Columbus Laboratories (BCL)(53) and Sandia National Laboratories (SNL)(54) on older model transportation casks were peer reviewed by the United States Army Ballistic Research Laboratory (BRL) against two important criteria. First, the BRL evaluated the explosive threat used in these simulations. Second, estimates of potential released materials were reviewed.(55)

The BRL review reveals that some high-level waste casks (older designs) could withstand most any explosive attack except those created by munitions of special high explosive penetration design(56) (for example, the M3A1). Environmental activists and other industry observers question many of the conclusions of the peer review report. Such criticisms point out that these studies do not reflect the designs of the proposed MPC's, or newer cask designs, and fail to account for new munitions threats.

As a result of out-of-date studies and critical issues raised by critics of the peer review, the BCL, SNL, and BRL studies need updating. MPC systems (if developed) or new cask designs should be tested using:

These two criticisms point out important areas that need to be addressed by DOE. The rapid development of munitions and their delivery systems is not accounted for in existing testing studies (or at least in information available). In addition to this critical gap in technological evaluations, another potentially more critical gap will exist as we move along the time line for the project. The rapid development of potential threat munitions in the recent past can only be expected to continue in the near future. These new, or as yet to be developed, munitions and delivery systems pose the largest explosive threat to high-level waste shipments.

4.2.2 Counter-Terrorism

Counter-terrorism demands evaluation of a considerable number of functions, actions, considerations, and risk factors. One area where the technological and engineering development process has kept pace with the threat of terrorism is database management.(58) The acceleration of technology and programs that could allow for an assessment of risk factors using post-terrorism activity as a predictor is promising. For example, the original creation of database technology used by the DOD and Rand Chronology developers was a major task. Today, commercially available programs (i.e., SPSS, R-base, D-base) could easily maintain the records of such a chronology.

An example of existing terrorism databases (whatever software platform they use) may include data from academic sources, private security firms, and government agencies.(59) (Fowler 1981) Some of these data sets are listed below in Table 16.

Table 16. Data Sets on Terrorism

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4.2.3 Future Technology

The technology that could be relevant in the event of a terrorist attack is an important variable for risk assessment researchers. Any assessment of risk potentials for the Yucca Mountain repository should recognize emerging technology of a threatening variety. We will briefly discuss three possibilities in the risk profile associated with the transportation of high-level waste to the proposed Yucca Mountain repository. New Munitions/Delivery Systems

The arms industry is extremely efficient at producing new and more deadly munitions and the systems necessary to deliver them. The primary problem with such systems is their sophistication. The vast majority of terrorists use little more than dynamite-level technology. What deters most terrorists is the fact that they do not have the training to use more sophisticated weapons.

Considering the extended time line found in the Yucca Mountain project, transportation planners should ask: Is it conceivable that the expertise needed to employ weapons capable of breaching spent fuel shipping casks could be developed or acquired? Contrary to the general tendency of terrorists to use low level technology and explosives, we find information about sophisticated munitions and their delivery systems becoming more readily available.(60) Public access to such information poses a risk that should be factored into the overall project risk profile.

In addition to this potentially threatening information, we should add an evaluation of the possible emerging trend whereby ex-military personnel (with explosives expertise) are becoming politically radicalized. One example is the recent rise in militia movements and possible connections between these groups and violence. These "soldiers" may have, or could more readily assimilate, the information and skills necessary for a successful attack using sophisticated weapons.

In conclusion, terrorists do not normally use the weapons necessary to breach a MPC or GA cask shipment. However, the information, personnel, and technology that could support such a tactical advancement are rapidly becoming more available. The threat of militia groups and other paramilitary fringe movements is not their rhetoric but rather the fact that they can become breeding grounds for the transfer of knowledge, weapons, and information necessary for a potentially successful attack of a high-level waste shipment. Add to this the emerging technologies related to weapon systems, and threat assessments become infinitely more complex. Counter-terrorism Awareness

The best defense against terrorism is information and information technology. Increasingly, sophisticated data management systems can help prevent, postpone, or help in the response to terrorism. Many federal and private agencies maintain terrorist-related information that could be tapped to create a data set relevant to the Yucca Mountain context. What is necessary is for DOE to define study parameters and allocate funding for a long-term study project. DOE could use its infrastructural connections to access relevant data of a sensitive nature to incorporate into this project.

It is imperative that DOE become aware of the risks of terrorism and start to address these threats in the evaluation phase of such a large project as Yucca Mountain. Ex-post-facto terrorist analysis is an unacceptable alternative when dealing with radioactive materials. What is needed is a strong proactive approach to potential terrorism against the Yucca Mountain project. DOE should create risk profiles on potential high-level waste shipments now and adapt these profiles as technology developments warrant. Additionally, an independent analysis of potential threats is desirable, although such analysis would need to overcome problems associated with data access, security, and funding. Target Technology/System Designs

As DOE proceeds with MPC/GA cask development, it is important that engineering standards for shipping containers be redesigned to reflect the most accurate assessment of risk available. As mentioned in the recommendation section of this report, critical baseline information does not yet exist. Furthermore, a direct data set dedicated to risk assessment regarding MPC's/GA casks and the Yucca Mountain repository is not in place (at least as far as publicly available knowledge is concerned). Thus, two pivotal variables, awareness and information, are not currently being considered in the design of MPC's or GA casks.

The proposed Yucca Mountain repository rests upon the ability of engineers to safely negotiate the various technical questions relevant to the safe shipment of high-level waste. Terrorists will increasingly be able to access methods that can be a threat to radiological transfer systems. The Yucca Mountain project should mandate that equally sophisticated mechanisms be developed to assess risk profiles of those systems.

4.3 Transportation Plans

Rules established by the NRC are the primary regulations for shipments of "special" nuclear materials and protection of spent fuel shipments.(61) DOE is required to meet the NRC regulations for commercial SNF shipments. In the alternative, DOE is allowed to develop equivalent plans prior to Yucca Mountain shipments being initiated. These plans, if approved, would regulate the transportation of radioactive materials to the proposed Yucca Mountain repository. If DOE should rely on private contractors for any, or all, transportation services (as recently proposed), said contractors would presumably by governed by NUREG-0561, Rev. 1 or equivalent planning. In the following section, we will look at the relevant NRC guidelines on transportation of nuclear waste and then address the specific concerns raised by NWPO about the transportation guidelines.

4.3.1 NRC Regulations

In May, 1980, the NRC issued an interim guidance document, NUREG-0561, Rev. 1, that established regulations for the protection of SNF until such time as the regulations are "rescinded, modified or made permanent, as appropriate" (NUREG-0561 Rev. 1, p. iii). The suggested protection strategies therein are based upon the concept of safeguards and directly reflect concerns about sabotage and diversion.

The general requirements contained in the regulation specifically describe the rules that apply to the following areas:(62)

In addition to these general guidance regulations, specific guidelines were included that regulate the transportation of materials through heavily populated areas (p. 36). These specific guidelines include two alternatives for the protection of materials until local law enforcement can respond in the event of a sabotage incident. The first allows for a single unit escort manned by a member of a local law enforcement agency (LLEA). The second option allows private security guards to escort the shipment using two escort vehicles. The goal of these escorts is to provide interim shipment protection until such time as LLEA units can respond in the event of a sabotage incident.

In 1984, the NRC proposed modifying the protection requirements for SNF.(63) This proposed rule change would have eased the safeguard protection measures defined in NUREG-0561, Rev. 1. The NRC, after reevaluating the Sandia Laboratories projections for loss of life in the event of a deliberate radionuclide release, attempted to alter the regulations in an apparent attempt to lower transportation costs associated with escorting shipments within heavily populated areas. Currently, the status of this proposed rule change is unclear. Questions remain as to whether the proposed modifications were terminated, remain active, or are in some NRC procedural limbo (Young 1989).

The unclear status of the proposed changes demand that this report primarily focus on specific requirements as defined in NUREG-0561, Rev. 1. In particular, this report identifies four areas of concern within the regulations that have application to the concept of terrorism against shipments to the proposed Yucca Mountain repository. First, NUREG-0561 procedures for coping with threats seem to be fundamentally documentation requirements. A refocus of these directives with attention to implementing plans to meet terrorist threats seems prudent. Second, the requirements for heavily populated areas are unclear as to unplanned stops within urban areas. A reasonable analysis of the regulations would assume that the NRC is concerned about the threat of an attack within urban centers. As such, it seems that unplanned stops within such dangerous environs would be of the utmost concern. Third, the arrangements with LLEA assume uni-directional communication. LLEA's are seen only as providing protection and not as a valuable resource in the identification of potential threats. Lastly, advanced route approval procedures offer specific criteria for selection of 'ideal' routes and locally appropriate response measures. In real world applications, such 'ideal' selections are very difficult. For example, NRC and the USDOT allow and encourage state authorities to designate preferred routes that avoid highly populated areas. As a result, the NDOT has suggested the I-80/ US 93A interchange at West Wendover, Nevada as one route to the proposed Yucca facility so as to avoid the downtown Las Vegas interchange. Recently, the West Wendover area has experienced explosive growth fueled by the addition of casinos, hotels, and other recreation facilities. Thus, what once was a possible ideal route is rapidly becoming a potential problem area. One can assume that with the elongated time frame for shipments to the proposed Yucca facility, many such problems will arise. The result is that the NRC will likely have to abandon such idealistic planning and approve routes based upon expediency rather than safety or safeguards. This could increase the risk of terrorism and sabotage as shipments are exposed to more risky geographic profiles (cities, urban interchanges, etc.).

4.3.2 Nevada Concerns

The State of Nevada has been engaged in Yucca Mountain oversight activities for approximately fifteen years. One purpose of oversight is to ensure public safety and confidence in DOE's management of shipments to the proposed facility. An analysis of relevant State contractor studies and staff reports reveal certain areas of concern with regard to terrorism, transportation, and the proposed Yucca Mountain facility.(64) These can be summarized into five specific areas: general concerns, impact on population clusters, involvement of LLEA's, route-specific characteristics, and countermeasure procedures.

General considerations refer to those undefined or ill defined, areas relative to the proposed transportation of nuclear waste to Yucca Mountain. In addition to those mentioned in section 3.3.1 of this report, four problem areas are evident. First, the duration and frequency of shipments to the proposed facility add to the risk of terrorist attack. They do so by establishing readily identifiable routines and opportunities for terrorists to attack shipments of high-level waste.(65) Second, the ambiguity as to the percentage of rail verses truck shipments and the various methods proposed for shipping create planning problems for counter-terrorist specialists. For example, the potential for heavy haul trucking of 125-ton containers and the potential use of specially designed tractor-trailers for legal weight truck casks present additional security concerns.(66) Third, the use of multiple routes will exacerbate the problems with protecting shipments. Multiple jurisdictions and interagency communication are serious problems one should consider with relation to multiple access point planning. Last, the length of access highways and rail spurs within Nevada's borders will affect the number and duration of stops for nuclear waste shipments.

The second major area of concern are those issues directly related to the transportation of high-level waste near or through heavily populated areas. Nevada has a rapidly growing population.(67) Already Reno and Las Vegas are considered heavily populated areas. Certain areas in the state are quickly approaching population densities that will demand they be considered in the same category (e.g., Elko and West Wendover). These urban areas are considered relatively more risky for the transportation of nuclear waste than rural areas.

The third area of concern is the role of local law enforcement.(68) Intelligence is the key to effective counter-terrorism security. DOE lacks a programmatic plan to include LLEA input on terrorism threats. The inclusion of these agencies would be critical to a proactive stance against possible terrorism. Such inclusion would also be a critical response in the advent of an emergency.(69) Clearly, active communication between DOE and LLEAs will lower the risk of an attack.

The fourth area refers to the route specific characteristics that increase the probability of an attack against waste shipments. NUREG-0561 identifies characteristics that may increase the vulnerability to attack or increase the impact of an attack. For example, NUREG-0561 advocates the "avoidance of tactically disadvantageous positions... (such as) passage through long tunnels or over bridges spanning heavily populated areas" (p. 23). Potential highway segments that exhibit these disadvantageous characteristics include the I-15/US 95 interchange, the West Wendover interchange, Currant Summit, and Hancock Summit.(70) Similar problems exist for the rail-based transportation of waste. Rail routes will likely bisect heavily populated areas like Reno and Las Vegas. Rail routes could also transverse growing population centers like Sparks, Battle Mountain, Winnemucca, and Elko. Existing rail routes have significant geographic disadvantages such as tunnels, bridges, sharp curves and steep grades.(71) NRC should address these specific Nevada route concerns, as well as similar problems across the country, before approving the routes that will actually be used for truck and rail shipments.

The last areas that need development by DOE are specific procedures and countermeasures for the protection of waste shipments. The logic of possible NRC reductions in safeguard procedures is questionable when one considers the threat of terrorism against waste shipments. In fact, the opposite reaction may be best in the face of the ever-changing terrorist threat. Potential terrorist counter measures like fixed motion detectors, aircraft fly-overs, and helicopter escorts may be necessary. Additionally, increased-armed security and direct involvement of LLEA's is suggested by this report. Other possible risk reduction strategies include the use of sophisticated technology to disrupt munitions threats (e.g., missiles) or detect the presence of such weapons in the vicinity of a shipment corridor. Transportation planners may also want to consider the use of roadblocks to limit public access on corridor routes. In conclusion, the NRC safeguards currently in place may be insufficient to counter the threat of terrorism, and any reduction in current safeguard measures is inconsistent with the goal of protecting public safety.

4.3.3 Protection of Shipments

Protection strategies for nuclear materials stored at fixed sites are normally based on two basic goals. First, we should find a series of protective measures that increase security intensity as one comes closer to the actual target. Second, we can assume that terrorists can reach the shipment.(72) It is then incumbent on security forces to prevent the intruders from accessing the nuclear waste materials by using the various levels of security surrounding the materials.

Transportation of materials provides unique challenges for those attempting to employ these tactics. Graded security (security increases the closer one comes to the target) on a moving target creates tactical and strategic problems not normally found with a hardened target like a nuclear power plant. As such, the levels of security for transported materials rely more on prevention and less on protection. When protection is needed, it may not be forthcoming in the same way that would be found at a nuclear power plant. For example, armed guards are currently only required for shipments through urban areas and not in rural areas. This strategy exports the risk of attack from urban centers to rural areas. Planners should remember that the armed guards accompanying radiological shipments may be the only line of defense and protection available against a terrorist attack. Additionally, these security forces do not have redundant systems of backup, and any flaw in the protection net may prove to be fatal. Current plans for physical protection of shipments do not reflect accepted counter-terrorism policies for fixed nuclear facilities and lack basic protection against attack in rural areas.(73)

The most important difference between traditional nuclear materials security philosophy and the counter-terrorism strategy suggested herein is that we should not only assume that the perpetrators can steal nuclear materials, but that they can, for political or symbolic reasons, attempt to disperse those materials. Such terrorist actions would create widespread panic and social upheaval. Many of the safeguard requirements currently in place are based upon the idea of stopping a theft and do not recognize the possibility of deliberate dispersion.

We should not forget that terrorists do not necessarily have to steal materials to use them. As such, theft deterrents like a disabling device on transfer trucks are only effective against certain types of terrorist attack. With this in mind, DOE should review procedures for the transportation of SNF and HLW materials. The advance notification procedure required by regulations is one area that could be affected by such a redirection of focus. Additionally, shipping restrictions to avoid rush hour traffic could be enacted to reduce risks. Escort procedures could be modified to account for the threat of deliberate damage to MPCs, or GA casks with the intent to disperse radiological materials into the environment. Lastly, communications facilities and route security personnel could be trained to respond in the event of a terrorist attack. Such training should involve rapid contact with local law enforcement officials and emergency management personnel.


This section will explore research options suggested by the findings of this report. Some of these options will be developed more fully than others. One reason for this uneven development is the availability of knowledge necessary for such policy discussions.

5.1 Preparedness Studies in Nevada

The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and the Rand Corporation conducted a national study of the preparedness level of individual states in the event of domestic terrorism (Riley and Hoffman 1995.) The survey indicated that many local law enforcement agencies consider terrorism to be a problem. The actual activities that these agencies see as terrorism differ significantly from the more traditional FBI categories. These local agencies indicated a need for preventive intelligence, better border security, counter-terrorism training, and access to technological developments. In particular, local law enforcement agencies seek technology that facilitates communication, offers better techniques for surveillance, and otherwise allows for non-lethal counter-terrorism technologies to be introduced into their jurisdiction.

Terrorism preparedness in Nevada should begin with the following activities:

(1) Identify relevant state agencies, local law enforcement entities, and emergency service providers that would be responsible for local response to a terrorist attack against shipments of high-level nuclear waste.

(2) Conduct a mail survey with possible phone/interview follow-up of said agencies.

(3) Analyze data and create a report of baseline findings relevant to community preparedness in the event of terrorism against transported high-level nuclear waste.

5.2 State and Federal Threat Definitional Problems

The NIJ/Rand authors' most surprising finding was that local, state, and federal agencies define terrorism in different ways. The same pattern can be assumed between DOE and the State of Nevada's law enforcement community. Because of different organizational missions, each entity defines the threat of terrorism against waste shipments in vastly different ways. One important, but neglected, research topic is how local law enforcement communities define the threat of terrorism against shipments of high-level nuclear waste within their jurisdictions. Since these police agencies are one of the critical barriers against terrorism, it would seem logical for DOE to study these definitions.

The NIJ/Rand study makes clear that local definitions of terrorist activity must be accounted for in policy decisions. Only two communities in Nevada were contacted for the Rand study. Unquestionably, DOE should conduct a study of the ways in which local law enforcement officers construe the possibility of terrorism. In this manner, DOE could begin to construct a baseline assessment of the terrorist threat potential in Nevada. In accordance with this suggestion, a modified copy of the instrument used (and copyrighted) by the NIJ/Rand study is included as Appendix C. It is hoped that future researchers will find this information helpful in establishing a survey project dedicated to the creation of appropriate baseline information. Considering the differences in definition identified by the Rand study, the instrument herein might require alteration to better identify those persons and/or acts that Nevada law enforcement officials define as terrorism. A second recommendation would be to alter the instrument to survey emergency management infrastructure personnel in Nevada as to their level of preparedness for a high-level radiological accident.

While these two first suggestions cannot solve the problem of terrorism, the first study would offer a baseline assessment of the state of readiness of local infrastructure to the possibility of attack. The second study would help establish a common dialogue language for each political entity. DOE could then use this definitional language in discussions of risk/threat potential, specific risk areas, and eventually allow for the scientific study of risks associated with shipments to a potential Yucca Mountain facility.

5.3 Existing Facilities

Good counter-terrorism policy forces one to balance the safety of existing security and the need for mobility of a target. In the case of high-level waste transfers, we find this as a balance between the need for hardened security arrangements and the risk of transporting materials to a new accumulation point. The approximately 114 existing facilities at 80 sites that could ship to the proposed Yucca Mountain high-level waste repository represent a system of hardened targets in the counter-terrorism sense. Each of these facilities has a series of security measures designed to restrict access and prevent theft of dangerous radioactive materials. The philosophy behind these facilities' security systems represents long-standing beliefs in the defensibility of nuclear targets.

One question terrorist experts would ask about the proposed plan to ship these materials to a single site is why risk the loss of security these existing arrangements represent? Exposure of large numbers of shipments to the risk that transportation across the country poses seems unsound at best. The potential risk to a shipment, road or rail, may be unnecessary if existing facilities have the security to protect the materials. As a rule, it is safe to assume that hardened targets with existing security infrastructures are safer to maintain and thus superior to transporting materials across the country through heavily populated areas and risking exposure of the materials to a variety of risks (i.e., terrorism, accidents, etc). Critics may say this argument does not recognize the problems utility companies have storing materials at these existing facilities. Anti-nuclear activists may attack those facilities. Terrorists could find the weak link in one of 114 targets at 80 sites and perpetrate violence against any one of those targets instead of transportation methods. If such arguments are valid, then the whole nuclear power and weapons production industry should be dismantled. If these plants cannot protect the storage of materials, then they could not protect the reactors or weapons production buildings.

Another consideration in comparing the risk of terrorism against decentralized storage facilities (at reactors) and centralized storage has been noted by the Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board. Intuitively, it would seem easier and more economical to install an effective protective system at one centralized facility than installing multiple systems at reactor sites. But it also could be argued that a single facility with a large stockpile of spent fuel might be a more tempting and visible target. Until more analyses have been performed, it is premature to assert that either an at- reactor or centralized storage facility would be riskier for theft or sabotage.(NWTRB, 1996)

Not as a matter of public policy but rather as a security matter, the proposal for storage and/or disposal of all the nation's spent nuclear fuel and high-level nuclear wastes at one centralized facility at Yucca Mountain poses serious questions. The flaw in this logic is that we assume safe passage for the materials to Nevada. This problem should add a consideration element to the process of collective decision making. Citizens should decide if they are willing to assume this transportation risk. This decision should rest upon knowledge of the risk potential of an attack on, accident with, or mishandling of materials destined for any repository. To this end, DOE should strongly consider a comprehensive, comparative risk assessment study regarding the potential of using existing facilities verses shipping materials to a centralized location (e.g., disposal facility).

5.4 Data Sources

Throughout this study, suggestions are made about the establishment of baseline data on terrorism threats. Law limits existing sources and agency security levels regulate access to the information. Furthermore, as mentioned in this report, certain relevant incidents have been left out of the official statistics due to differences in the definition of what actions constitute terrorism. For example, the 1939 Nevada and 1986 Minnesota train derailments mentioned herein are relevant to Yucca Mountain transportation risk assessments, but these events are considered criminal acts, not necessarily terrorism.(74) We should conclude that an effective database regarding the risk of terrorism attack against transportation of high-level nuclear waste does not exist at this time. The data sets of the FBI, AFT, DOE, NRC, and others are not directly relatable to the task at hand.

It is crucial for the study of the economic, social, moral, and technological effects of the Yucca Mountain project that this baseline information be constructed. In addition to this initial study, long range studies of the changing face of terrorism, risks, and technology used by terrorists must be incorporated into the assessments currently being conducted or resulting from the suggestions herein.

5.5 Realistic Studies of Terrorist Attack Consequences

DOE should immediately conduct studies of radionuclide dispersion given the use of sophisticated weapons like wire-guided missiles. Likewise, terrorism risk study procedures should be developed and studies initiated that directly deal with the threat of advanced tactics against shipment containers. The studies conducted by and for the NRC(75), up to and including those referenced in the 1984 proposed rule change for NUREG-0561, are seriously out-of-date and do not reflect the current state of munitions technology nor the possibility of future developments in such technology.

The suggested updated studies should calculate the radionuclide dispersion and environmental contamination resulting from three realistic attack scenarios (at a minimum). First, they should address partial breaches of currently licensed designs and proposed designs for MPCs or GA-4/GA-9 casks.(76) Second, they should study the effects of catastrophic penetration of these shipping containers by weapons similar to those mentioned in this report. Lastly, the above scenarios involving release of radioactive materials should be studied in conjunction with the possibility of fires or explosions that could disperse radioactive materials beyond the immediate location of the attack.

5.6 Rural Impact Studies

This study identifies the inherent implication of current transportation regulations and planning practices to transfer the risk of nuclear waste shipments from urban to rural areas. For example, highway route selection criteria developed by USDOT are very sensitive to population density. When these guidelines are used in conjunction with NRC routing guidelines by relevant state agencies, the usual result is a shift of routes from urban to rural areas. Specifically, the heavy haul truck route currently under consideration would primarily affect rural Lincoln and Nye counties in Nevada. Additionally, if a rail spur is constructed for the Yucca Mountain site, the route would most likely be selected in such a manner to minimize the impacts on urban areas like Las Vegas. The effects of such transfers of risk should be assessed as to their impact on farming, ranching, Native American populations, and the long-term effects on these small communities resulting from out-migration in the event of an incident. In particular, DOE should include an assessment of potential terrorist attacks in the EIS for the repository and, more specifically, address the potential environmental, economic, and social impacts of a successful attack in rural areas of the state.

5.7 Potential Explosive Expert Study

One interesting suggestion made by this study is the idea that DOE should determine the extent of explosive expertise in the general population in its transportation plans. Nevada has a growing retirement population that could potentially have experience with advanced munitions (e.g., ex-military personnel). The mining and construction industries within the state could also provide the raw materials and human capacity to use explosives against transportation targets. Lastly, the military bases in Nevada could potentially provide both the expertise and munitions for an attack. A study of these sources of expertise/explosives would help identify the level of threat from these sources.

5.8 Concluding Remarks

DOE has so far neglected the study of terrorism and its potential consequences for the proposed high-level waste repository at Yucca Mountain. Presumably, the NRC and DOE have experience with traditional theft, sabotage, or disruption events related to nuclear waste transportation. What is suggested here is that these agencies, and the Yucca Mountain project management in particular, must recognize that the face of terrorism has changed. No longer are terrorists trying to create public disasters for the sake of winning public approval for their political agendas. In fact, suicide attacks and other tactics designed to inflict the maximum target damage are one of the most viable risk scenarios against transportation targets. With this awareness of the potential of terrorism attacks in mind, one should ask why DOE has neglected the issue and insist that corrective measures be undertaken to fill this gap in the baseline knowledge regarding the proposed Yucca Mountain repository. In particular, the above suggestions for research should immediately be funded.


Associated Press

1995 "Nuclear Cask Safety Debated at Meeting." Las Vegas Review Journal, Section B. Saturday, October 7, 1995; p 2.

Badolato, E.V.

1991 "Environmental Terrorism: A Case Study." Terrorism, V 14, N 4 (October/December 1991); p 237-239.

Boynton, H. A.

1992 "Eye on Airline Security Technology." Security Management, (June 1992 Supplement); pp 22A-23A, 25A-26A.

Center for National Security Studies

1995 Downloaded from: http://www.cdt.org/policy/terrorism/cnss.trends.html

Chester, C. V.

1976 "Estimates of Threats to the Public from Terrorist Acts Against Nuclear Facilities." Nuclear Safety, Vol. 17, No. 6, Nov.- Dec.

Department of Energy

1994 "Multi-Purpose Canister System Evaluation." DOE/RW-0445 September. Washington..

1995a "OCRWM Transportation Report." DOE/RW-0473. June. Washington, D.C. See pages 11-12.

1995b "Status of General Atomics GA 4/9 Model Development." Washington, D.C. Dated June 6, 1995.

1995c "Notice of Intent to Prepare EIS" Federal Register, Vol. 60, N. 151, August 7, 1995, p. 40168.

FBI Annual Report

1989 "Terrorism in the United States." U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Terrorist Research and Analytical Center; National Security Division.

1993 "Terrorism in the United States." U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Terrorist Research and Analytical Center; National Security Division.

Fowler, W.W.

1981 "Terrorism Data Bases: A Comparison of Missions, Methods, and Systems." Rand Report N-1503-RC. March 1981.

Freudenburg, William R.

1991a NWPO-TN-010-91. "Human and Social Factors in the Transportation of Nuclear Waste." January 1991.

1991b NWPO-TN-013-91. "Organizational Management of Long-Term Risks: Implications for Risk and Safety in the Transportation of Nuclear Wastes." September 1991.

Gander, Terry

1990 Guerrilla Warfare Weapons: The Modern Underground Fighters' Armory. New York: Sterling Publishing Company, 1990.

Golding, Dominic and Allen White

1990 NWPO-TN-007-90. "Guidelines on the Scope, Content, and Use of Comprehensive Risk Assessment in the Management of High-Level Nuclear Waste Transportation." Center for Technology, Environment, and Development, Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts.

Halstead, Robert J.

1993 NWPO-TN-015-93. "State of Nevada Nuclear Waste Transportation Impact Studies: An Overview." May 1993.

Hermann, E. S.

1989 "The Terrorism Industry." New York: Panteon Books; pp 86-87.

Hogg, Ian V.

1995 "Infantry Support Weapons: Motors, Missiles and Machine Guns". Greenhill Military Manuals, No. 5. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books.

Impact Assessment, Inc.

1994 Draft Final Site Characterization Sociocultural Risk Report, Prepared for the Clark County Department of Comprehensive Planning, Nuclear Waste Division, March 18, 1994.

Jenkins, Brian Michael

1980 "The Study of Terrorism: Definitional Problems." Rand Report P-6563. December 1980.

Kidwell, S. M.

1985 "Design and Safety Considerations in Spent Nuclear Fuel Shipping Casks" April.

McClellan, G. G.

1993 "Terrorists Among Us." National Institute of Justice/NCJRS. Security Management, V 37, N 7 (July 1993), pp 33-36.

Mountain West Research, Las Vegas, Nevada

1989 NWPO-TN-002-89. "High-Level Nuclear Waste Transportation Needs Assessment." (Available at Agency for Nuclear Projects/Nuclear Waste Project Office, Carson City, NV.)

NAC International

1995 "Spent Fuel Storage and Transport." Corporate literature.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

1980 NUREG-0561, Rev. 1: "Physical Protection of Shipments of Irradiated Reactor Fuel: Interim Guidance", NRC, Washington, DC.

1984 "Modification of Protection Requirements for Spent Fuel Shipments: Proposed Rule" Federal Register, Vol 49, n. 112, (June 8, 1984); Pp. 23868-23869.

1987 "Transporting Spent Nuclear Fuel: Protection Provided Against Severe Highway and Railroad Accidents" Washington, D.C.

Nevada Agency for Nuclear Projects/Nuclear Waste Project Office

1995a "Report on Agency Activities and Oversight of the U.S. Department of Energy's High-Level Radioactive Waste Management Program." February 1995. Carson City, NV.

1995b State of Nevada Socioeconomic Studies Biannual Report: 1993-1995; Prepared by Nevada Socioeconomic Study Team, no date.

1993 State of Nevada Socioeconomic Studies of Yucca Mountain, 1986-1992: An Annotated Guide and Research Summary, Prepared by James Chalmers, et al, NWPO-SE-056-93, June, 1993.

1988 NWPO-TN-001-88. "A Report on High-Level Nuclear Waste Transportation: Prepared Pursuant to Assembly Concurrent Resolution No. 8 of the 1987 Legislature." December 1988. Carson City, NV.

Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board

1996 Disposal and Storage of Spent Nuclear Fuel - Finding the Right Balance: A Report to Congress and the Secretary of Energy (March, 1996)

Riley, Brendan

1995 "Forest Ranger Attacked Again", Las Vegas Review-Journal and Las Vegas Sun, Sunday edition, August 6, 1995, sec. B, pages 1B, 2B.

Riley, Kevin Jack and Bruce Hoffman

1995 "Domestic Terrorism: A National Assessment of State and Local Preparedness" Rand document number MR-505-NIJ.

Sandquist, G. M., et al.

1985 "Exposures and Health Effects From Spent Nuclear Fuel Transportation" RAE-8339/12-1, Rogers and Associates Engineering Corporation, Salt Lake City, Utah November.

Schaffer, Marvin B.

1993 "Concerns About Terrorists with Man-portable Sam's." Rand Report P-7833. October 1993.

1992 "Concerns About Terrorists with PMG's." Rand Report P-7774. February 25, 1992.

Schneider, W.J. and R. P. Grassis

1989 "Countermeasures Development in the Physical Security Design Process: An Anti-terrorist Perspective". Paper presented at Carnahan Conference on Security Technology, Lexington KY, May 16-17, 1989.

Souleyrette, Reginald R. and Shashi K. Sathisan

1991 NWPO-TN-011-91. Preliminary Nevada High-Level Nuclear Waste Transportation Route Characterization and Risk Analysis Study. Transportation Research Center, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. January 1991.

Strohl, Joseph

1984 Letter from State of Wisconsin, Radioactive Waste Review Board to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, dated September 25, 1984.

U.S. Department of State: Bureau of Diplomatic Security

1992 Yearly report: "Significant Incidents of Political Violence Against Americans 1992." Department of State Publication 10067; Bureau of Diplomatic Security. Released June 1993.

U. S. Department of Treasury: Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms

1993 Yearly Report: "1993 Explosives Incidents Report."

Weimann, Gabriel and Conrad Winn

1994 "The Theater of Terror: Mass Media and International Terrorism." New York: Longman Publishing.

Young, Gordon

1989 "NWTRC Task 3.3" This internal correspondence from NNWPO consultant Bob Halstead defines the issues surrounding the proposed changes in NUREG-0561 that were published in 1984.

Zaslow, Jeffrey

1995 "No Excuse for Evil." USA Weekend. August 4-6, 1995. p. 14.


Appendix A: Methodology

A.1 Research Design and Implementation

The primary methodology associated with this report is secondary analysis of existing publications, articles, government documents, and databases/data sources. In particular, the most salient material related to terrorism comes from the Rand/St. Andrews data set on international terrorism incidents. The Rand/St. Andrews data set has normally been identified as the Rand Chronologies up to their movement to the University of St. Andrews, Scotland. The St. Andrews Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence is now the permanent home of the original Rand database archives.

In the following section, the reader will find as much detail on how each organization defines its methodology as is readily available. In the case of the Rand/St. Andrews material, this information was made available by the Centre staff. In the case of FBI, DOE, or CIA related reports, said detail is not easily found, and because of security concerns, these organizations are reluctant to release researchers names so that questions could be posed to them.

These methodological explanation voids require the reader to maintain a healthy skepticism with respect to materials presented here. Given these shortcomings, the presentation of terrorism risk may be distorted because of lack of knowledge, security concerns, precautions by relevant agencies, and the author's lack of access to sensitive information contained in other data sets (FBI, CIA, DOE files). Nevertheless, what follows is as complete of an overview of each data source as possible, given such limitations.

A.2 Rand/St. Andrews

In 1972, the Rand Corporation(77) began developing specialized systems of data storage allowing for a more systematic analysis of terrorism incidents. In conjunction with the collection of data, Rand developed an enhanced data retrieval system that is still in use today. Abstracts of each terrorism incident were coded so that researchers could retrieve text, as well as statistical data, on a wide variety of incidents and attributes of those incidents.

These materials were derived from a wide spectrum of publicly available (public domain) sources. In excess of 100 newspapers, journals, and periodicals were surveyed in six different languages. Appropriate reports were extracted, stored, coded, abstracted, and entered into the database. Terrorism data was collected from 1968-1992, with additional chronologies developed as the research need arose.(78)

The Rand/St. Andrews definition of terrorism is as follows:

"The use of violence, or the threat of violence, calculated to create an atmosphere of fear and alarm. It is defined by the nature of the act, not by the identity of the perpetrators or the nature of their cause. All terrorist acts are crimes. Many would also be violations of the rules of war, if a state of war existed. All involve violence or the threat of violence, usually directed against civilian targets. The motives of most terrorists are political, and terrorist actions are generally carried out in a way that will achieve maximum publicity. The perpetrators are usually members of an organized group, and unlike other criminals, they often claim credit for their acts. Finally, a terrorist act is intended to produce effects beyond the immediate physical damage it causes." (Rand/St Andrews internal documentation)

The Rand/St. Andrews data set includes only terrorist incidents of an international nature. That is, incidents where the terrorists went beyond their national borders to perpetuate the attack, selected target victims with connections to a foreign state (i.e., diplomats), or attacked airline facilities in such a manner as to create an international incident. Group violence perpetrated by terrorist organizations like the FALN (Fueizas Armadas de Liberacion Nacionaz - Puerto Rico) or the PIRA (Provisional Irish Republican Army - Northern Ireland) where direct attacks are against citizens or governments within the terrorist organizations own countries are excluded. The Rand/St. Andrews Chronology of International Terrorism used herein contains over 7900 incidents from around the world and is recorded on a computer-based data management system. All terrorist incidents encoded within the Rand/St. Andrews Chronology are listed by date and various other important attributes commonly associated with terrorism research (type of action, fatalities involved, injuries, target, geographical location, responsibility, nationality of targets, country codes, perpetrators, media). The primary defining variable for this report was target (T), and the data set defines said variable as follows (see Table 17):

Table 17. Rand/St. Andrews Target Variables

See the hard copy of this report for actual graphics.

A.3 Other Data Sources

Throughout this report, we have mentioned a wide variety of data sources and quoted some of them. In particular, the ATF, FBI, and SSEL were included in this presentation. Unlike the data from the Rand/St. Andrews data set, these reports and agencies were less than forthcoming with regard to their data collection methodologies. As such, the reader should be aware that these statistics are directly drawn from existing reports. Any data error found within the original sources was reproduced within this report, and no mechanism for verification exists other than a reference to the cited reports.

Given the limitations, let's examine information available about one of these databases. The FBI's Terrorist Information System (T.I.S.) contains information regarding suspected terrorist groups and participants in terrorism. This data set contains information on over 200,000 individuals and 3,000 plus organizations. This data set allows the Bureau to extract data on suspected terrorists and link their activities to affiliated organizations if necessary. As the investigative arm of the Department of Justice and more importantly, the primary law enforcement agency charged with investigations of terrorism, such data may be less than objective. One could assume that this data would reflect the Bureau's primary law enforcement mission and may not reflect an abstract goal of objective research.

A.4 Limitations of the Study

The limitations of this study include but are not confined to the following: limited knowledge, scope, and access to data sources.

A.4.1 Limited Knowledge

The use of existing sources as the primary data source only exacerbates any problems these sources originally had. Limits of knowledge imposed by security access constrict this report's ability to construct any completely reliable report on terrorism. Additionally, the reader of this report should be aware that the report's author has limited knowledge of transportation and radioactive materials issues.

A.4.2 Scope

This report is designed to respond to specific concerns about the possibility of terrorism attack against targets that will not exist for 15-35 years. As such, speculative projections of terrorism risks are problematic. In fact, the examination of past terrorism incidents as a predictor of risk factors relevant to possible future attacks is mostly a matter of faith. Terrorism does exist and may become a major factor in the social fabric of Nevada and the world in the years 2010 - 2034. One must ask if terrorism is a threat to the current DOE estimates of 14,500 SNF/HLW shipments to the Yucca Mountain facility. Are speculations of potential attacks that could begin no earlier than 2010 and end in 2034 mere conjecture?(79) Clearly, extensive data collection, data analysis, and better designed scientific projections are necessary for a critical baseline assessment of the terrorism risk factors associated with such a large transportation effort over such time frames. The modest goals of this project preclude any meaningful projections relevant to these questions.

A.4.3 Data Sources

Secondary analysis is an efficient way to summarize data for easy assessment by managers, legislators, and government agencies. As mentioned above, such analysis extends any faulty methodology originally done by the data collection agencies and compounds these mistakes.

In addition to those built-in error sources, it is possible that the author of this report could misinterpret the risk of terrorism attack, or prevention agency mission, as a result of personal bias, limited access to data due to a lack of proper security clearances, and/or lack of knowledge readily available but missed in the complex task of literature review. This report should be read with these potential limitations in mind.

Appendix B: Acronyms Used in Report

AEA - Atomic Energy Act

ATF - The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms

BCL - Battelle Columbus Laboratories

BLM - Bureau of Land Management

BRL - U.S. Army Ballistic Research Laboratory

C4 - A plastique explosive material.

CIA - Central Intelligence Agency

CNSS - Center for National Security Studies

CTTAB - A DIA department - Counter Terrorism and Threat Analysis Branch of Counter Intelligence Division

DIA - Defense Intelligence Agency

DOD - Department of Defense

DOE - Department of Energy

DOT - Department of Transportation (Federal and State)

DU - Depleted Uranium

EIS - Environmental Impact Statement

EM - Emergency Management Personnel

EXIS - ATF's Explosive Incidents System

FALN - A Puerto Rico based terrorist group called Fueizas Armados de Liberation Nacionaz.

FBI - Federal Bureau of Investigation

FEMA - Federal Emergency Management Agency

FPA - Focal plane array munitions

GA - General Atomics casks refer to the GA-4 or GA-9

HLW - High-Level Waste (official classification nomenclature)

IR - Infrared

LLEA - Local Law Enforcement Agency

MPC - Multi-Purpose Canister

MTU - Metric Tons of Uranium

NANP - Nevada Agency for Nuclear Projects

NCJRS - National Criminal Justice Research Service

NDOT - Nevada Department of Transportation

NEST - Nuclear Emergency Security Team

NOEM - Nevada Office of Emergency Management

NRC - Nuclear Regulatory Commission

NWPAA - Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 1987

NWPA - Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982

NWPO - Nevada Nuclear Waste Projects Office

OTA - Office of Threat Assessment (in this report, it refers to a DOE operation).

PIRA - Provisional Irish Republican Army - a terrorist group

PGM - Precision guided munitions

RAD - Puerto Rican Armed Resistance - a terrorist group.

SAM - Surface to Air Missile

SDB - Armed Revolutionary Unit of Dev Sol - Turkish terrorism group.

SEAR - ATF's Stolen Explosives and Recoveries System.

SSEL - NRC database (Safeguards Summary Events List).

SNF - Spent Nuclear Fuel

SNL - Sandia National Laboratories

STIF - DIA's Significant Terrorist Incident Files

TAG - Department of State's terrorism database

TIS - FBI's terrorism information system

TRC - Transportation Research Center

TSD - Transportation Safeguards Division

UNLV - University of Nevada, Las Vegas

USDOT - United States Department of Transportation

UV - Ultraviolet

Yucca Mountain - The proposed site for a high-level nuclear waste repository located in southern Nevada.

Appendix C: Survey example.

See the hard copy of this report for actual graphics.

Appendix D: DOE's Proposed Transportation System

See the hard copy of this report for actual graphics.

Appendix E: Nevada Comments on Yucca Mountain EIS: Transportation

See the hard copy of this report for actual graphics.

Appendix F: Characteristics of SNF and HLW

See the hard copy of this report for actual graphics.

Appendix G: Economic Impacts of Accident Involving Release

See the hard copy of this report for actual graphics.


1. NRS 459 establishes authority for both the Agency and Commission.

2. This study uses the term "high-level waste" to categorize materials of various types that may be entombed at the proposed Yucca Mountain repository. These include SNF, HLW, and other materials DOE could place at the repository.

3. Materials from Schneider, W. J. and R. P. Grassis, 1989.

4. Throughout this report, both shipping methods are assumed to be planned for use. Shipment percentage mixture options are being considered and add additional complexity to the planning of counter-terrorism policy.

5. Please see Appendix A: Methodology for a more detailed description of the Rand/St. Andrews data set.

6. Because of terrorism definition differences (one agency defining terrorism one way and another a different way causing statistical differences), we must be careful in how the threat profile is constructed. Attention to these matters would show that the total worldwide terrorism activity level is significantly higher than that suggested by Rand data. As a result of this, information presented within this section could be considered a conservative estimate of the threat potential posed by terrorism.

7. Possibly the coding of these incidents was adjusted during that first year accounting for the reduced number of incidents. Rand begin its data management activity in 1972. The Department of Defense (DOD) originated the data set in 1968.

8. Part of the observed rise is a technical anomaly produced by the increased methodological rigor of the Rand researchers.

9. The Rand/St. Andrews Chronology not only tracks the total number of incidents per year, but also categorizes these by region (Asia, Europe, Latin America, Middle East, North America, and Sub-Saharan Africa), tactic (kidnapping, attacks, hijacking, bombing, barricade, hostage, assassination, and significant threat) and, most importantly for this report, by target type (energy, transportation, etc.) We will focus on the target data to further help understand the threat of terrorism to the Yucca Mountain project.

10. The energy categories in the Rand data set have undergone extensive modification over the years. Focus on this area of terrorism has increased in recent years, and Rand's additional data set development reflects an increased interest in nuclear terrorism. We should also note that the Chronology is focused on American-related events, more so than other categories in the data set.

11. The separation of energy-related terrorism is difficult. For example, if this ex-convict had attacked the electrical lines leading to the nuclear power plant, substantial damage could have resulted. The classification of this hypothesized incident would have been difficult because the intention was one target and the attack was directed at another.

12. This data is based upon 25 years of the Rand / St. Andrews Chronology 1968-1992. Energy attacks are not reported herein as being related to electrical, nuclear, pipeline, etc (see footnote 10 for clarification).

13. Numbers represent non-correlated raw data. Some discontinuity exists in the data (see 1986), but in general, the data seems to fit together nicely. The differences between trans-national numbers and those for 1986 on American targets represent a data set anomaly. Trans-national incidents have cross-classification to American incidents. The extent of this data error is unclear without direct access to original Rand abstracts This reports estimates that, other than 1986, there is significant alignment of data on the energy and transportation charts herein.

14. Excludes aircraft and maritime attacks. The reader should note that one problem with terrorism research is how to define the act of terrorism when cross-classification of an incident could occur. For example, this report has excluded aircraft attacks in the above figures on transportation-related terrorism. In 1972, skyjackers forced a Southern Airways DC-9 aircraft to circle Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The skyjackers threatened to crash the plane into the Oak Ridge nuclear component weapons plant (Y-12 Plant) if their demands were not meet. Was this an attack on an energy facility (as it is currently listed by Rand), aircraft attack (as it could easily have been listed), or could it be considered something else? This type of scenario should be of concern to transportation planners when they consider counter-terrorism safeguards for shipments to the Yucca facility. This example also helps us understand the problem of excluding types of terrorism that may not seem relevant and, in the process, possibly miss vital risk analysis information.

15. Inclusion of these two incidents is deliberate and offered to support later arguments. Later in this report similar tactics are suggested as relevant to the proposed Yucca project. In fact these examples help establish that the idea of a terrorist attack against a rail shipment, and the derailment of said shipment in a river gorge as directly related to the 11-2-79 attack in Israel, is possible . Likewise the use of sophisticated weapons to attack nuclear-waste shipments suggested in later sections of this report is supported by the 10-28-84 attack and others mentioned herein (i.e., Turkish Embassy attack). The access these four Israeli soldiers had to such sophisticated munitions also supports the idea that the knowledge and equipment to accomplish an attack against waste shipments methodologies exists and may be readily available to specific segments of the general public (e.g., ex-military or weapons experts).

16. The 1977 and 1980 incidents were taken from the Rand Chronology data. The 1986 incident was taken from an article in the Milwaukee Journal dated October 28, 1986. The Sheik Abdel Rahman story is from the New York Times, Oct. 2, 1995.

17. Railroad sabotage terrorist incidents are very common in the Rand data on transportation-related terrorism events. From 1972-1994, a total of 83 incidents are listed. Listed are incidents from countries like England, Ireland, Canada, France, India, Peru, Pakistan, Germany, Russia, and Italy. The data suggests a possible cyclical pattern of attacks with peaks in 1977 (6), 1988 (5), 1991 (9), 1992 (10), and 1994 (10).

18. "Significant Incidents of Political Violence Against Americans, 1992"

19. In this case, we find that 107 of the 189 incidents (56.6%) in the Bureau's report involved bombings. In the same year, the Rand/St. Andrews data set recorded a 40.8% bombings level.

20. This report had the text and artwork as the opening graphic of the report. No numbers on the page were listed.

21. USA Weekend, "No Excuse for Evil." Jeffrey Zaslow's interview with Oklahoma's Governor, Frank Keating, August 4-6, 1995, p 14. Oklahoma-related statistics presented herein were part of this article.

22. The Rand data lists incidents related to nuclear protests by environmental groups like Greenpeace and other anti-nuclear activists against the Nevada nuclear test site (4-1-83 and 4-18-83). Additionally, the Rand data lists an incident (5-10-80) where a man was found between the first and second security perimeters of Area 2 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. The Nellis Area 2 perimeter marked a restricted area and was believed to be a secret nuclear weapons storage area. The intentions of the perpetrator were not listed in the Rand report.

23. See the Reno Gazette Journal, October 12, 1995.

24. Riley 1995, p. 28, identifies Nye County Commissioner Dick Carver as one leader in the Sagebrush rebellion.

25. "Terrorism in the United States", FBI Report, 1993. The figures used here are calculated for five-year data on terrorist incidents based on the data in Tables 11,12, and 13 of this report .

26. Currently, a variable called "vehicles" is used to represent transportation risk/targets. In 1992, an "energy" category was added to the ATF analyses database. In the future, it will be possible to isolate said incidents.

27. Currently, Yucca Mountain is legally scheduled for a maximum total of 63,000 MTU SNF and 7,000 MTU of HLW. Considering pending legislation requiring DOE to accept all projected SNF and HLW at a interim facility in Nevada, it may be reasonable to expect these limits to be raised.

28. Source DOE report number DOE/RW-0445, 1994.

29. Source: DOE report number DOE/RW-0445, 1994

30. Source for both Figures 4 and 5 is DOE report number DOE/RW-0473, June 1995.

31. For a more detailed discussion of Nevada's position, please see Appendix E.

32. Under the truck-only option, estimates are that 48,500 shipments would be needed for SNF and additional 25,000 shipments of HLW. This translates to 45-50 truck shipments per week for 30 years.

33. Source of maps and route information is NWPO.

34. Any alteration in the rail/truck mix or quantities of waste shipments could significantly impact risks associated with potential terrorist attacks. Variables like cask size, shipment quantities, frequency of shipments, and rail vs. highway shipment mixes all has a bearing on risk calculations.

35. See Appendix G for a more detailed discussion of consequences from such a release.

36. In the future, more refined weapons will also need analysis. Better anti-tank weapons and laser technology may prove to be threats by the end of the shipping campaign for Yucca Mountain.

37. The remainder of this report uses MPC and GA casks to identify these shipping container possibilities. Other systems are currently being considered (NAC-TSC cask, massive nodular cast iron design, etc.).

38. Considerable literature exists on the subject of radionuclide dispersion and its effects related to a nuclear reactor incident. It may be possible to adapt such calculations to a terrorist incident scenario. Such calculations are beyond the scope and expertise of this report.

39. It is normally assumed that terrorists are motivated by political goals. They wish to persuade some group of people of their goal's acceptability. Normally, this means that such a group would refrain from an attack that could produce widespread panic and fear. It is counter-productive to "good revolutionary" public relations. What is discussed here is a break from such "traditional" terrorism and a resulting disrespect for general social welfare. This emerging form of terrorism uses attacks against general populations or targets without a direct political value. This type of terrorism can be seen across the world and is the main topic of contemporary scholarship that recognizes an emerging mercenary model of terrorism. In this type of terrorism, groups 'trade' experts with unique knowledge applicable to the overall terrorist operation/action. Thus, methods and expertise are shared between terrorists, and the traditional 'political motives' behind terrorism are lost.

40. See engineering discussion for additional details of the requirements necessary to breach MPC or GA casks.

41. These jurisdictions overlap depending upon the circumstances of the incident.

42. The OTA data set could be used to augment the collection of baseline information relevant to Yucca Mountain. Such a data set (if modified) would help maintain longitudinal records of threats and establish the parameters for future risk assessment activities. Such long-term data analysis is critical for a project with the time parameters of the Yucca Mountain project.

43. NRC and SSEL details are drawn from NUREG-0525, Rev. 14 (dated 12/31/87), published July 1988.

44. Please see Table 11 for more details on explosive incidents in the United States.

45. Nevada may have a considerable number of potential explosives and munitions experts currently residing within the state. The large construction and mining industries within Nevada could potentially supply the raw materials and expertise for a conventional attack. The retirement community within the state may also offer personnel capable of using not only conventional explosives (admittedly a minor threat) but more importantly, ex-military personnel able to use advanced weapons and tactics like those suggested herein. Lastly, the many military bases within the state offer opportunities for the illegal acquisition of advanced weapons like wire-guided anti-tank weapons.

46. Facts regarding the Oklahoma bombing are contained in this report. The derailment of a train in the Arizona desert has been claimed by a group calling itself "Sons of the Gestapo." As of this report's deadline, no clear proof exists that this is a true terrorist organization. The FBI is currently investigating the incident. If this derailment proves to be a legitimate terrorist attack, it may have implications for the transportation of nuclear waste to Nevada. Even if it proves not to be terrorism, the derailment points to the serious problem of rail shipment safety (an issue beyond the immediate scope of this report).

47. All FBI related statistics presented herein are the product of the 1993 FBI "Terrorism in the United States" report. Numbers were drawn from a variety of pages and reformulated into the charts and tables found in this section.

48. The Sagebrush Rebellion and its application to the Nevada context are discussed elsewhere in this report. See Section 2.6.

49. Design changes in these shipment containers have increased the size and weight of rail/truck casks. New designs assume a baseline of 10 year old SNF (i.e., older, less radioactive fuel equals less shielding and cooling). Lastly, design tradeoffs are seen in the use of shielding materials (e.g., depleted uranium vs. lead, polypropylene vs. water jackets). Each of these choices and assumptions provide additional risk implications with respect to a terrorist attack.

50. It is possible that the currently licensed Nuclear Assurance Corporation storage/transportation cask could be used for rail shipments also.

51. Source: DOE - June 6, 1995.

52. Source for Figures 9 and 10 is DOE document DOE/RW-0445, September 1994.

53. "Peer Review (U.S. Army)."

54. See BCL findings in "Final Report on Shipping Cost Sabotage Source Investigation (NRC)"; SNL findings in "Assessment of the Safety of Spent Fuel Transportation in Urban Environments (DOE)".

55. Casks used were not exact duplicates of GA casks or proposed MPC's. They were only approximations of current or proposed designs.

56. See, for example, Strohl 1984 and other comment letters submitted to the NRC in response to the proposed 1984 rule change.

57. These classes of weapons are currently being found in black market/unauthorized channels. With the dissolution of the USSR, such weapons (or their designs) as the SAM 7, SAM 14, SAM 16, and SAM 18 may be, or already are, available. Redeye, Stinger, HN-5, Kieko SAM 1, Sakr Eye, Blowpipe/Javelin, Starburst, Starstreak, Mistral, and other radicle-based IR/UV, Quasi-imaging IR, or FPA Imaging IR designed munitions delivery systems could be modified and/or used in such an attack. One additional threat is that posed by a variety of wire-guided munitions delivery systems (e.g. anti-tank missiles). (Schaffer 1992, 1993).

58. This section is included under engineering because of the need for continual software and hardware development to maintain the information collected about terrorism. Information engineering may become the foremost task for counter-terrorist intelligence in the near future. The rapid development of computer technology demands that planners for long-range programs such as the proposed Yucca project design information innovations into their projects.

59. Rand Report N-1503-RC reports primary sources listed above. This report's author added SSEL, ATF, and TIS. It is possible that some of these data sets have changed names since the original Rand report was prepared.

60. Evidence of this trend may be found in the public testimony at DOE hearings in Nevada. See for example the statement of Tracy Galloway at DOE Yucca Mountain site characterization plan hearings, Reno Hilton meeting of March 23, 1989. In this testimony, Mr. Galloway specifically identifies the danger armor-piercing munitions pose for shipment containers. Such information is also readily available in public libraries (see Jane's Pocket Books, Jane's Defense Data and the many other Jane's Defense Group publications). Public access to information like this could be one source for possible terrorist plans.

61. The NRC is one of the successors to the Atomic Energy Commission. Said authority is based upon the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974, 42 U.S.C. 5841 (F) and 5844(C) and the Atomic Energy Act (AEA) (42 U.S.C. 2011, et seq.).

62. See pages 5-35 of NUREG-0561, Rev. 1 for specifics of regulations.

63. 49 F. R. 23867, dated June 8, 1984.

64. For example, see Mountain West Research 1989; NWPO 1989; Freudenburg 1991a and 1991b; Souleyrette and Sathisan 1991; Halstead 1993; NWPO 1995. In addition to these sources, a considerable amount of the information contained in this section is the result of interviews conducted with Bob Halstead, a transportation consultant to the NWPO.

65. The scale of the shipment effort will be enormous both in time and shear number of cargoes. Nothing like this effort has been attempted in the United States. It is reasonable to assume that such a huge transportation effort will create a high-risk profile for terrorism.

66. The large truck units required for intermodal transfer are easily delayed by simple traffic problems, and their slow speed may provide an easier target for terrorists. The special tractor-trailer rigs required for GA-4 or GA-9 casks may have to be refueled more often due to limited fuel capacity. Excessive fueling stops exposes shipments to additional risk.

67. Las Vegas is the fastest growing metropolitan area in the United States. Nevada is the fastest growing state in the United States. The concentration of population is currently seen in two places: Reno and Las Vegas. Additional population growth can be expected in rural areas as the cost of expansion increases in these two areas and land availability becomes more of a problem for developers.

68. The State of Nevada is concerned about two basic issues with respect to LLEA's. First are the problems with overlapping jurisdictions. The second is funding for training and equipment.

69. A recognition of the decisive role played by LLEA's and emergency management personnel (EM) in the response to a incident would also be important to factor into DOE transportation planning. The LLEA and EM personnel may be the first to arrive in the event of an incident. The State of Nevada feels this is one reason why training, equipment, and interagency communication is vital.

70. For example: The I-15/US 95 interchange is within the Las Vegas metropolitan area and is one of the worst traffic bottlenecks in the state. The West Wendover area is rapidly expanding as mentioned above. The Currant Summit on US 6 and Hancock Summit on SR 375 are examples of high mountain passes involving long steep uphill grades. This topography would create a perfect terrorist immobilization attack profile. The proposed 125 ton heavy haul shipment route from Caliente seems particularly susceptible to attack due to similar geographically disadvantageous characteristics coupled with the massive size of the containers slowing transport speed.

71. Prime areas of concern include a route segment exhibiting steep descending curves on the UP line east of Caliente and a segment west of Caliente with several tunnels.

72. The strategies described here are fixed plant security methodologies used for the protection of nuclear power plants. A fixed target, as opposed to one that is in transit, offers a different risk profile than what would be found in transporting materials to the Yucca Mountain facility.

73. The implication of such problems is that added security is needed in both rural and urban areas. Transportation planners should attempt to recreate the graded security strategy used for the protection of nuclear power plants and likewise assume that terrorists can access the materials.

74. A University of Nevada, Reno, College of Engineering study commissioned by DOE recommended consideration of the 1939 derailment incident as a worst-case scenario with respect to impact and risk analysis.

75. See the Sandia studies on casks and J. R. Chester (1976).

76. The GA-9 cask is currently in the license process. It may become approved during or soon after this report is published.

77. The data set was originally property of the Rand Corporation. It has only been a few years since it has moved to St. Andrews. DOD supported this data set prior to Rand's involvement.

78. Data collection continues today. The 1992 figures used in this study represent the most current data as of 1-20-96.

79. Statistics taken from "Nuclear Cask Safety Debated at Meeting." Associate Press. Las Vegas Review Journal, Section B. Saturday, October 7, 1995. p 2.