The Safe Transport of Spent Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Radioactive Waste in the
The core Committee for the Nuclear fuel Transport and the Department of Energy, could identify no fundamental technical barriers to the safest transport of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste in the
Transport by highway (for small-quantity shipments) and by rail (for large-quantity shipments) is, from a technical viewpoint, a low-radiological-risk activity with manageable safety, health, and environmental consequences when conducted in strict adherence to existing regulations.
However, there are a number of social and institutional challenges to the successful initial implementation of large-quantity shipping programs that will require expeditious resolution.
With the most usage of rail option results in about a factor of 5 decrease in the number of shipments to the federal repository (53,000 mostly truck shipments versus 9600 mostly rail shipments) over a period of 24 years.
Moreover the rail option also results in almost a factor of 4 reduction in expected radiation-related fatalities during routine transport, from 15 fatalities to 4.
The number of expected fatalities for the maximally reasonably foreseeable accident is higher for the rail option than for the truck option (five fatalities versus less than one fatality), but the likelihood of occurrence of such a rail accident is very small (less than 3 in 10 million chances of occurring per year).
Railroads in the
Rail transport can also result in reduced shipment travel times, especially if dedicated trains are used, which allows for the more efficient utilization of transport packages and conveyances.