With the enactment of the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 1987, Yucca Mountain, Nevada was selected as the only site to be studied for deep geologic storage of spent nuclear fuel and high level nuclear waste in the United States. Under this act and during the site characterization that has followed the act's passage, it has been generally acknowledged that the studies and licensing activities necessary to begin repository construction and emplacement of waste would not be completed until 2010 or later.
Recent proposed legislation in the 105th Congress, Senate Bill 104 and its companion H.R. 1270, if enacted over a promised Presidential veto, would require the shipment of spent nuclear fuel from commercial reactor sites to Nevada for interim storage, beginning in the year 2002. In preparation for this accelerated schedule for nuclear waste shipments, it is critical to consider its many operational, infrastructure, and fiscal effects on the State of Nevada. This report outlines the fiscal effects on selected Nevada state agencies, based on one scenario (the "base case," discussed in sections 2 and 3) for the shipment campaign across the country and into Nevada.
The calculation of fiscal impacts has been among the priorities of the State of Nevada's analysis of effects of nuclear waste repository development. This report is the latest in a series of analyses of effects on State agencies, beginning in 1987. The methods used to collect and compile the information for this study are similar to those used for prior studies. Interviews were scheduled with individuals knowledgeable about agency missions and operations. In most cases, the individuals interviewed had prior experience with impact analysis in general and fiscal analysis of repository effects in particular. Each interview began with a description of the transportation and interim storage scenario described in sections 2 and 3. Then, interviewees were asked questions about the specific responses of their agencies to the scenario, with specific reference to agency activities, staffing required to perform those activities, equipment and facility needs associated with the activities or the staff functions, and the costs of each cost "object," such as personnel, equipment, infrastructure improvement or other capital acquisition. In the course of the interviews, documents were compiled to supplement or verify the information collected in the interview.
After all interviews were completed, the information collected in the interviews and the accompanying documentary evidence were assembled and summarized into the findings described in section 4. The cost information obtained from the interviews and documents obtained from agencies were compiled into cost factors, which are included in section 4 and summarized in section 5. The factors included in this draft report will be reviewed by the agency sources, revised as necessary and included in a final report.
Although this study is similar to many prior efforts, it differs from prior analyses due to the imminence of the action proposed by the Congress. While the State has recognized for a decade the Congress's intention to characterize and site the nuclear waste repository in Nevada, the most recent legislative initiatives would substantially accelerate the shipment program, and attempt to resolve by legislative dictate some of the uncertainty surrounding the national waste management program. This presents state agency representatives with a set of concrete issues that must be addressed in short order if the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of the State are to be protected.
The study presents the needs of four Nevada agencies to meet their basic missions in response to federally-mandated actions. It does not attempt to predict which of the needs described in the report will actually be met, and which will remain as shortfalls or deficiencies. Also, no attempt is made here to determine who will pay for the actions that will be taken to meet the public needs.
Some of the needs described in this report may arise whether nuclear waste is shipped to Nevada or not. However, all needs related to shipments of nuclear waste to an interim storage facility are required either sooner or in greater magnitude than would be required without the shipments. As such, they are directly caused by the transportation resulting from interim storage initiatives under current consideration.

What You Should Know About This Assessment

The cost to four Nevada state agencies of the first three years of the shipment campaign implied by proposed legislations estimated at $489 million. This estimate is based on several key assumptions, and substantial input form officials in the affected agencies. For convenience, key features and assumptions of the assessment are listed, along with references to the text:

  • The assessment addresses state agency needs which would be required sooner or in greater magnitude due to federally-mandated shipment of spent nuclear fuel under proposed legislation (pg. 2).

  • The assessment does not identify who will pay for fiscal impacts. Some impacts could occur as shortfalls or deficiencies, rather than as fiscal obligations (pp. 2, 34).

  • The estimated number of shipments, shipment mode and approach to Nevada are based on the "current capabilities scenario with default routing" from a September 1996 analysis by Nevada Nuclear Waste Project Office (pg. 4)

  • Truck shipments projected for years 1-3 are assumed to use currently-certified truck transport casks, each containing one assembly from a pressurized water reactor or two assemblies from a boiling water reactor (pg. 4).

  • The routing of legal-weight truck shipments in Nevada would meet the provisions of DOT regulations (HM 164). That is, absent state designation of alternative routes, truck shipments would use interstate highways through the Las Vegas Valley (pp. 4,6).

  • The Spaghetti Bowl upgrade will be completed as currently planned, with costs not attributed to nuclear waste transportation or proposed federal legislation (pg. 8).

  • The current configuration of the Spaghetti Bowl will not accommodate return shipments of rail casks on heavy-haul trucks. Therefore, the assessment assumes that the development of the northern bypass of the Spaghetti Bowl would be accelerated and used for legal-weight truck and heavy-haul shipments of nuclear waste (pg. 8).

  • The assessment assumes that all highway infrastructure improvements would be planned and implemented on an accelerated schedule, due to the federal-mandate for early shipments in proposed legislation (pg. 23).

  • The assessment includes ports of entry (constructed by NDOT, operated by NHP) at locations where legal-weight truck shipments enter Nevada. A port of entry for rail shipments has been discussed but is not included in this assessment (pp. 24,25).

  • The assessment includes escorts (fore and aft) for legal-weight truck and heavy-haul shipments (pg. 27).

  • Safe parking areas, not currently required by state law, are not included in this assessment (pg. 30).

  • The cost of providing emergency communications along shipment routes are included. However, the assessment takes no position on whether the methods proposed by NDOT or NHP should be preferred (pp. 28,29).

  • The NDOT communications system is in place in Clark County and is available for use with adequate capacity. Therefore, additional communications costs are primarily for coverage in rural areas.

  • Rail inspection (one additional inspector) is included in this assessment (pg. 32).

  • The costs associated with meeting the recommendations (to USDOT) of the Alliance for Uniform Hazardous Transportation Procedures are not included in this assessment (pg. 32).

  • This assessment does not include estimates of additional costs to the Nevada Department of Health, which has radiological regulation responsibilities, or the Division of Forestry, which has certain first responder and fire suppression responsibilities (pg. 22).

  • This assessment includes the cost of training and equipment provided by state agencies to local jurisdictions, but does not estimate other fiscal impacts for local government (pg. 22).


Planning Information Corporation
June 29, 1998

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