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Trains Would Transfer Nuclear Waste to Nevada

Paraphrased by
Steve Waldrop
April 6, 2004

Radioactive waste bound for a planned national nuclear dump in Nevada would be transported by trains on a 319-mile rail line to be built across the state, the federal government recently announced.

The Energy Department has not said what routes it intends to use to transport the waste from 127 sites across the natiion to a planned rail head near Calliente, 150 miles northeast of Las Vegas near the Utah line.

Officials from Nevada and anti-dump activists have said that the Caliente-to-Yucca Mountain route - which loops around the Nevada Test Site and Nellis Air Force Base bombing range - is much to expensive and dangerous.

State nuclear projects chief, Bob Loux, said that Nevada will challenge the rail plan and believes that the Energy Department will eventually decide to ship nuclear waste to Yucca Mountain almost exclusively by truck. Nevada has accused the federal government of neglecting to inform ranchers, miners and rural residents about the plan.

Making rail the preferred method for shipping nuclear waste to the Yucca Mountain dump 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas, with the Caliente corridor as the preferred route, becomes official when the decision is published in the Federal Register, said Allen Benson, a spokesman for the federal project

The Yucca Mountain site was approved to store 77,000 tons of radioactive waste from 39 states, by congress and the Bush administration in 2002.