The state agencies considered in this study are the Department of Transportation, the Nevada Highway Patrol, the Division of Emergency Management and the Public Service Commission. The Department of Health, which has radiological regulatory responsibilities, and the Division of Forestry, which has first responder and fire suppression responsibilities, are not included in this study, but may be included if possible at a later time. Training and certain equipment provided by state agencies to local first responders are included. Otherwise, however, the costs to local government agencies are not estimated in this study.


NDOT Responsibilities for Nuclear Waste Transportation

The Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) supervises or conducts the planning, financing, construction, maintenance and analysis of major highway systems in the state. Among the Department's responsibilities that are most relevant to this analysis are the planning of transportation infrastructure and operations; the design, construction and maintenance of roadways; and the permitting of oversize and overweight vehicles. In this regard, the areas of immediate concern for NDOT if interim storage is pursued on a short time schedule are:


Ensuring the adequacy of the State's transportation infrastructure on routes likely to be used for nuclear waste transportation. If nuclear waste is transported and stored in Nevada according to the provisions of S. 104, NDOT will be responsible for ensuring that the highway systems of the State are adequate for transporting nuclear waste in addition to the stream of existing and projected local and interstate commerce using these same systems.


The regulation of heavy haul shipments. NDOT is responsible for regulating and imposing special operating requirements for oversized or overweight shipments on highways in the state.


Contingency planning for possible incidents requiring NDOT response. Although the probability of incidents involving nuclear shipments is likely to be low, all state agencies that would be responsible in case of an incident must be prepared for any reasonable emergency scenario.


To prepare for the shipments associated with interim storage of nuclear waste in Nevada, the Nevada Department of Transportation would incur three major categories of costs: (1) costs associated with the increased level of responsibility for planning and maintaining safe transportation systems in the State; (2) costs associated with construction and maintenance of infrastructure improvements required as a result of interim storage shipments; and (3) costs associated with the construction of ports of entry.

Additional Staff for Planning and Contract Oversight

According to NDOT representatives, it is anticipated that shipments associated with an interim storage facility in Nevada would require the hiring of one additional staff member in the Planning Research Division, and one additional person to manage the contracts associated with infrastructure and other construction activities. The additional planning staff would be required to handle the increased level of activities associated with the acceleration of the transportation schedule, to assist the current planning staff in preparing policy recommendations to NDOT management (such as hazardous materials route designation or redesignation), and to assist with the increased public information responsibilities of the department. The additional contract management staff would be required to oversee the accelerated and expanded construction activities associated with ports of entry and infrastructure development.

The conclusion that the proposed interim storage development would require minimal additional NDOT staff is based on the assumption that only those additional responsibilities that are likely to be ongoing and continuous should be handled by permanent State staff, and that all other activities should be contracted to the private sector. The schedule for construction, and the specialized nature of the construction activities associated with infrastructure improvements and port of entry buildings, suggest that it would be inefficient to add state personnel to handle the construction management responsibilities required. Therefore, it is assumed that the State would execute a contract for the management of all construction work, including hiring and managing prime contractors and subcontractors, as well as the oversight of day-to-day construction activities. The State would retain the responsibility for approval of major construction activities and milestones, and for oversight of the construction management contract.

Highway Infrastructure Improvements

Several highway segments requiring infrastructure improvements would be built, rebuilt or widened by construction contractors managed by NDOT and its construction management contractor. Under an accelerated schedule of nuclear waste shipments, accelerated construction schedules would likely require premiums paid to contractors to ensure availability of labor and materials to complete construction projects before the first shipments are scheduled to begin. Also, as described above, it is probable that improvements of the magnitude and timing contemplated in this analysis would suggest the contracting of construction management to provide for accelerated construction.

In interviews conducted for this study, NDOT officials estimated infrastructure requirements associated with the accelerated schedule of shipments in S. 104. The major infrastructure requirements include:

  • Accelerated development of a bypass to the Spaghetti Bowl interchange at I-15 and US 95 in Las Vegas. This improvement is required due to geometric considerations at the interchange that is currently under construction (see Figure 8). The costs associated with this construction were estimated by NDOT staff based on preliminary engineering studies of the area.

  • Construction of climbing lanes on US 93 between Caliente and Crystal Springs. This improvement is required to avoid unnecessary interruptions in traffic on the major uphill climbs out of Caliente on this two-lane highway. The costs associated with this construction were estimated by NDOT staff based on preliminary engineering studies.

  • Construction of turn-out areas at least every 25 miles on US 93 from Crystal Springs to the I-15 interchange. These are required to allow backed-up traffic to pass the slow-moving heavy haul trucks on this two-lane highway. The costs associated with this construction were estimated by NDOT staff based on preliminary engineering studies of the area.

  • Construction of improvements for interchange at US 93 and I-15. This improvement is required to allow heavy haul trucks to negotiate the entrance onto I-15 southbound (for loaded shipments) and onto US 93 northbound (for return trips). The costs associated with this construction were estimated by NDOT staff based on preliminary engineering studies.

Infrastructure Improvements by Type

NDOT officials have estimated the costs of the above highway infrastructure improvements based on the type and extent of improvements within particular road segments. Summarized by type of improvement, the estimated costs are:

• Earthwork $ 47 million
Base and surface preparation 104 million
Drainage 15 million
Bridge widening 8 million
Widening related to the northern bypass 57 million
Traffic control 7 million
Striping, lighting and signing 13 million
Mobilization for accelerated implementation 18 million
Contingencies and unknowns 72 million
Engineering (15 percent) 51 million
 Total $ 392 million

Base and Surface Preparation Costs by Segment

Base and surface preparation costs were separately estimated for eight segments of the route from Caliente to Area 25 (see Figure 9). The costs for these eight segments are:

  1.  US 93, Lincoln Co. milepost 90 to 80 (Caliente to Burnt Springs Range) $44.27 million
  2. US 93, Lincoln Co. milepost 80 to 65 (to Pahroc Summit) 3.03 million
  3. US 93, Lincoln Co. milepost 65 to 54 4.12 million
  4. US 93, Lincoln Co. milepost 54 to 30 2.10 million
  5. US 93, Lincoln Co. milepost 30 to 18 9.10 million
  6. US 93, Lincoln Co. milepost 18 to Clark Co. milepost 52 5.45 million
  7. I-15 milepost 65 to US 95 milepost 42, Clark County 19.88 million
  8. US 95, Clark Co. milepost 42 to Nye Co. milepost 30 7.64 million
 Other base and surface preparation 8.41 million
 Total $104 million

Construction of Ports of Entry

Ports of entry would be required to maintain continuous coverage of the entry of nuclear waste on legal-weight trucks at the two primary points at which nuclear waste would enter the State. While the Nevada Highway Patrol within the Department of Motor Vehicles and Public Safety would have primary responsibility for staffing, operating and maintaining the ports of entry, NDOT would be responsible for their construction. The State of Nevada has no experience with establishing and maintaining permanent ports of entry, so the cost of building and maintaining these facilities was estimated on the basis of recent experience in California. (These cost estimates were provided by representatives of the Nevada Highway Patrol.)

The State of California has recently developed a plan for building a four-bay port of entry facility on I-15 near the Nevada border, to begin operations in the year 2001. Based on this information and actual and projected construction costs for three other sites, the construction costs for each port of entry in Nevada is estimated at $13.8 million, or a total of $27.6 million for two facilities at Nevada's eastern and southern highway ports of entry.

Considerations and Features at a Highway Port of Entry

Actual costs will depend on site location, with straight highway approaches and flat terrain to be preferred. According to representatives of the Nevada Highway Patrol, ports of entry require one-mile of acceleration and deceleration lanes, but with higher speed limits in Nevada, this requirement may be increased. Other considerations at ports of entry include:

  • Signs, lighted at night, directing all trucks carrying nuclear waste to exit;

  • Paved heavy-duty two-lane ramps leading into and out of weigh-in-motion scales;

  • Computer-assisted weight scales to allow recording of individual axle weights and gross vehicle weight and vehicle classification while vehicle is in motion;

  • Over-dimensional detectors;

  • A building that includes office space, reception area, restrooms, showers, locker rooms, a specialized locker room for hazardous materials equipment such as self-contained protective suits, a break room, computer and electronic reader area;

  • A signal system to direct traffic to inspection areas as necessary;

  • An all-weather vehicle inspection facility with high-intensity lighting, automatic bay doors, fire suppression equipment, hazmat detection and monitoring equipment, and a generator;

  • A containment area for high-level nuclear waste shipments which may be detained, including decontamination areas for staff;

  • A paved and fenced vehicle parking and impoundment area; and

  • Communications and data transfer equipment to provide links with NHP, hazmat teams, and other federal, state and local public safety agencies.

NDOT Cost Summary: Years 1 through 3

Total costs for Nevada Department of Transportation infrastructure construction and personnel for the first three years of the proposed shipment campaign is estimated at $420 million, of which 93.3 percent is for highway improvements and most of the remainder (6.6 percent) is for the construction of two highway ports of entry. (Operating costs for the two ports of entry are described in the section on NHP costs.) The NDOT costs are summarized in Figure 10, and detailed in Appendix B.

Figure 9. NDOT Construction Areas
Figure 9.

click for printable image

Figure 10. Costs for Nevada Department of Transportation

 Year 1Year 2, 3Years 1-3Notes:
Hwy Infrastructure$392,000,000 $0 $392,000,000 Capital cost only; maintenance not included
Ports of Entry Const$27,600,000 $0 $27,600,000 Capital cost for two hwy ports of entry
Personnel$134,995 $134,995 $404,985 Addl staff positions supplement existing personnel
Equip for Addl Personnel$4,500 $0 $4,500 No replacement costs thru year three


The Nevada Highway Patrol (NHP) is a division of the Department of Motor Vehicles and Public Safety, responsible for policing public highways, enforcing Nevada's traffic laws and investigating highway accidents. Of specific relevance to this study is NHP's responsibility for enforcing laws related to the transportation of radioactive materials and other hazardous waste. Because of its extensive patrol responsibilities on federal and state highways, NHP is frequently the first responder to a traffic accident, and would likely be a first responder in cases of accidents involving nuclear waste or other hazardous materials.

The major areas of concern to NHP in the performance of its duties related to the transportation of nuclear waste to an interim storage facility in Nevada include: establishing and maintaining ports of entry; hiring, equipping and training personnel to staff the POEs; escorts for shipments in the state; emergency communications (a responsibility shared with NDOT), and emergency response to accidents involving nuclear waste shipments on state highways.

Escorting Truck Shipments

Escorts would be required to accompany truck shipments to the interim storage facility at Area 25—by legal-weight truck from the ports of entry, and by heavy haul truck from the intermodal transfer facility at Caliente. It is anticipated that sworn Nevada NHP officers will accompany each shipment. The escort of legal-weight truck shipments (estimated at about 7 shipments daily during year 1) would require a minimum of 16 troopers under ideal conditions, with one car leading and one following each shipment. Two officers would be held in reserve, for escorting shipments in excess of the daily average or for other backup requirements. The escort of heavy-haul truck shipments (estimated at about 1.2 per week during year 1) would also be required, but is not estimated in this report.

Managing Highway Ports of Entry

The construction of two highway ports of entry in Nevada would be managed by NDOT (see Section 4.1, above). The costs of operating and maintaining the ports of entry would be the responsibility of the NHP. Each station would be operated 24 hours per day and 365 days per year, requiring a complement of 15 troopers (5 per shift), one sergeant and one lieutenant. In addition to the inspection duties at each station, officers will be required to accompany each shipment.

The Nevada Highway Patrol costs for manning two highway ports of entry and providing escort for base case truck and rail/heavy-haul shipments is estimated at $16.4 million over the first three years of the shipment campaign. Of this total, 65.4 percent is for personnel (base and overtime pay), 9.8 percent for equipment, and 10.3 percent for training of 274 existing and 34 additional NHP sworn officers. The costs are summarized in Figure 11, and detailed in Appendix B.

Figure 11. Costs for Nevada Highway Patrol: Ports of Entry and Escorts

  YEAR 1YEAR 2,3YEARS 1-3Notes:
Personnel(1): Base Pay$2,480,949$2,480,949$7,442,84634 sworn offices @ 2 POEs + 14 non-sworn
Personnel(2): Base Pay$951,680$951,680$2,855,04016 troopers: escort for LWT shipments
Personnel: Overtime Pay$147,177$147,177$441,532Salary @ 5%, benefits @ 2.5% base pay
Other Operating Costs$815,629$784,897$2,385,424
  Vehicles(1)$100,980$100,980$302,9404  vehicles for addl sworn staff @ 2 POEs
  Vehicles(2)$432,000$432,000$1,296,00016 vehicles for escort of LWT shipments
  Utilities$70,244$60,000$190,244Supporting addl sworn & non-sworn personnel
  Supplies$93,659$80,000$253,659Supporting addl sworn & non-sworn personnel
  Maintenance$46,829$40,000$126,829Supporting addl sworn & non-sworn personnel
  Contracts$30,000$30,000$90,000Supporting addl sworn personnel
  Personnel Related$41,917$41,917$125,752Supporting addl sworn & non-sworn personnel
Equipment Costs$1,608,654$0$1,608,654No replacement costs thru year three
  Vehicles$714,000$0$714,000For addl sworn personnel: POEs & escort
  Rad Mon & Protctv Attire$250,000$0$250,000For addl sworn personnel: POEs
  Computers$81,659$0$81,659For addl sworn & non-sworn personnel: POEs
  Furniture$117,073$0$117,073For addl sworn & non-sworn personnel: POEs
  Equip for Addl Personnel$445,923$0$445,922For addl sworn personnel: POEs
Training Costs$1,695,922$0$1,695,922No refresher trng thru year three
  Awareness & Operations$1,570,922$0$1,570,922Not inclu in DEM trng
  Specialized Training$125,000$0$125,000For sworn port of entry & escort staff


The Responsibilities for Emergency Communications

The responsibility for emergency communications is shared among the Nevada Department of Transportation and the Nevada Highway Patrol, a division of the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles and Public Safety. The two agencies have differing views about the best method for meeting the emergency communications needs associated with nuclear waste transportation. However, both agencies agree on the basic need for emergency communications, and the cost estimates for the two methods for meeting the needs are similar. The quantification of need in this report reflects the estimates of the Nevada Highway Patrol for the provision of emergency communications along shipment routes.

The Challenges of Emergency Communications for Nuclear Waste Shipments in Nevada

Communications associated with the transportation of nuclear waste in Nevada presents certain challenges. The nature of the materials being transported, and the perception of and actual risks associated with the materials, require close surveillance of the transporting vehicles and prompt response in case of accidents or incidents. The routes that would be used for waste transportation traverse both urban and rural areas, with a wide range of existing communications capabilities among public safety agencies. In rural areas, the routes' topography and widely separated towns present special problems of communications coverage.

Estimated Emergency Communications Costs

The Nevada Highway Patrol costs for providing emergency communications along the prospective highway and rail shipment routes is estimated at $28.3 million, of which 63.4 percent is for fixed communications equipment and microwave antennas, and 35.2 percent is for other equipment and its operations and maintenance. As mentioned above, the Nevada Department of Transportation and the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles suggest different methods of meeting the communications needs associated with nuclear waste transportation. However, the agencies agree on the basic need, and their cost estimates for providing emergency communications along shipment routes are similar. The costs are summarized in Figure 12 and detailed in Appendix B.

Figure 12. Emergency Communications: NDOT and/or NHP
  Year 1 Year 2,3 Years 1-3 Notes:
SUBTOTAL: $24,996,232 $1,651,266 $28,298,764  
Personnel: Base pay $119,189 $119,189 $357,467  
Personnel: Overtime pay $11,109 $11,109 $33,327 @9.32% base pay
Equipment Costs 424,865,934 $1,520,968 $27,907,870  
Vehicles $76,000 $0 $76,000 4-wheel drive vehicles
Infrastructure $17,947,066 $0 $17,947,066 Fixed equip 7 microwave antennas
Field User Equipment $5,123,900 $0 $5,123,900  
Test Equip & Tools $35,000 $0 $35,000  
Facilities Upgrade $163,000 $0 $163,000 Re: NHP facilities in Carson City
Operations & Maint. $1,520,968 $1,520,968 $4,562,904 @6.5 % equip purchase costs


DEM Responsibilities for Nuclear Waste Transportation

The Nevada Division of Emergency Management is the State's coordinating agency for all emergency services, with responsibility for disaster preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation. The specific areas of DEM responsibility relevant to the preparedness for transportation of nuclear waste to an interim storage facility in Nevada would include:

  • Routing—review of emergency plans, training and equipment needs for local governments. (This does not including the process of route designation, should designation of alternative routes be necessary or desired.)

  • Driver/carrier compliance—recommendations to NHP and NDOT.

  • Independent inspections—recommendations to NHP and NDOT.

  • Bad weather/road conditions—modification of emergency plans and coordination with safe parking component.

  • Safe parking—should Nevada law change to require safe parking, Nevada DEM would assist local and state emergency response agencies in the identification of appropriate locations for such facilities. (Construction of required safe parking areas would be by NDOT.)

  • Advance notice/tracking—development of advance notice procedures and implementation of vehicle tracking system.

  • Communications—coordination of state and local communications systems.

  • Medical preparedness—identification of medical facility and training needs.

  • Mutual aid agreements—development and maintenance of agreements among federal, state and local agencies.

  • Emergency management/response—update of State Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan and development of comprehensive Radiological Transportation Plan.

  • Equipment—acquisition, equipping and maintenance of mobile laboratory and hazardous materials vans, identification of local equipment needs.

  • Training/exercises—coordination of training of state and local agency first responders, "train-the-trainer" coordination, and assistance in development and implementation of training exercises.

  • Public information—provision of risk communications class and coordination of State public information programs.

  • Program evaluation—coordination and management of evaluation efforts.

  • Safe escorts—recommendations to NHP.

  • Transportation infrastructure—recommendations to NDOT.

  • Ports of entry—recommendations to NDOT and NHP.

  • Terrorism—coordination of federal, state and local activity related to incidents and planning.

  • Monitoring—coordination of State participation in DOE and EPA monitoring activities.

Estimated Costs of the Division of Emergency Management: Years 1-3

The costs associated with Division of Emergency Management responsibilities are estimated at $33.0 million over the first three years of the prospective shipment campaign. Of this total, 89.5 percent is for radiological detection equipment provided to relevant groups of potential accident responders along the routes, about 3.8 percent for training provided by DEM, and about 3.6 percent for base pay for 6 additional DEM positions. The costs include the purchase of 6 vans, of which three would be outfitted (with dosimeter readers, radiation monitors, gamma spectrometers) as modified radiological lab vans. Each would be manned by two persons on a 24-hour basis for accident response along the affected routes. Three vans intended for general purposes would not be so outfitted or manned. The costs are summarized in Figure 13 and detailed in Appendix B.

Figure 13. Costs of the Nevada Division of Emergency Management
  YEAR 1 YEAR 2,3 YEARS 1-3 Notes:
SUBTOTAL: $30,706,990 $1,146,404 $32,999,798  
Personnel: Base Pay $393,190 $393,190 $1,179,570 Incld 24 hr manning of 3 hazmat vans
Management Analysts       3 positions @ levels I, II, and III
Radiological Specialist        
Communications Specialist        
Grants Project Analysts        
Radiol Detection Equip $28,440,965 $543,000 $29,526,965  
Direct Reading Inst $1,547,140 $0 $1,547,140 For first responders @ $140
Dosimeters/Battery Chargers $1,110,880 $0 $1,110,880 For law enforce & fire responders @ $160
Ion Chamber Survey Meters $10,935,225 $0 $10,935,225 For law enforce & fire responders @ $1,575
Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) $7,935,200 $0 $7,935,200 For law enforce responders @ $2800
Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) $4,601,520 $0 $4,601,520 For emerg response vans: 20% fire @ $2,800
Encapsul Flash Suits $1,768,000 $0 $1,768,000 For law enforce responders ex NHP @ $800
Radiation Equip Calibr $543,000 $543,000 $1,629,000 Yearly calibration
Hazmat Team/Cntrl Oper $409,573 $16,252 $442,077  
Vehicles $124,962 $0 $124,962 Vans for addl personnel (6)
Vehicle Regis, Modific $46,692 $1,692 $50,076 Modif for 3 vans
Maintenance & Supplies $13,600 $13,600 $40,800  
Elec Pocket Dosimeters $59,400 $0 $59,400 For hazmat personnel @ $495
Dosimeter Readers $12,000 $0 $12,000 For 3 vans @ $4000
Personal Radiation Monitors $975 $0 $975 For 3 vans @ $325
Area Monitoring Equip $4,014 $0 $4,014  
Gamma Spectrometers $105,000 $0 $105,000 For 3 vans @ $35000
Cameras $4,770 $0 $4,770 3 video, 3 digital
Computers $33,000 $0 $33,000 Eleven computers
Decontamination Kits $960 $960 $2,880 Three kits
Misc Equipment $4,200 $0 $4,200  
Training $1,269,300 $0 $1,269,300 No refresher trng thru year 3
1st Respndr Awareness,Oper $535,450 $0 $535,450 For first responders ex NHP @ $25 + $25
Technician Classes $663,000 $0 $663,000 For law enforce responders ex NHP @ $300
SCBA Training $70,850 $0 $70,850 For law enforce responders @ $25
Space & Space Operations $193,962 $193,962 $581,886  
Rent & Utilities $50,000 $50,000 $150,000  
Telephone $2,100 $2,100 $6,300  
Cellular Telephones $7,700 $7,700 $23,100
Office Supplies & Admin $28,000 $28,000 $84,000
Ins: office contents $97,907 $97,907 $293,721 Re equipment & bldgs
Travel $8,255 $8,255 $24,765


The Nevada Public Service Commission (PSC) has been responsible for regulating public utilities in the State. In the 1997 General Assembly, PSC's responsibilities were reassigned to two agencies: the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) and the Public Transportation Commission.

A major concern to the PSC and its successors related to the transportation of nuclear waste to an interim storage facility in Nevada is the possible development and implementation of new permitting requirements for radioactive waste transporters. Additional permitting requirements for hazardous materials have been recommended by the Alliance for Uniform Hazmat Transportation Procedures to the U.S. Secretary of Transportation. If these requirements are implemented under Part III of the Alliance's Uniform Permit Application, additional responsibilities imposed on the PSC or its successors would result in additional work load to existing staff and additional costs of administration for the appropriate agency. Due to the uncertainty associated with the restructuring of the utility and transportation regulatory structure of the State, and the uncertainty associated with the implementation of additional permitting requirements, no costs have been estimated for this agency. However, given the need to provide inspections of rail shipments into the state, the costs associated with one rail inspector are included here. These costs, estimated at about $62,500 annually for salary and benefits, are detailed in Appendix B.

Planning Information Corporation
June 29, 1998

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