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Going the Distance? The Safe Transport of Spent Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Radioactive Waste in the United States
deliberation, and expansion of this report to address this added study charge.
The “current concerns” referred to in the original study charge (Sidebar 1.1) are associated with currently operating transportation programs and with current planning efforts for future transportation programs. The congressionally mandated charge (Sidebar 1.2) to examine the routing of research reactor spent fuel is a good example of a concern about a currently operating program. The “future concerns” referred to in the original charge are associated primarily with plans to transport spent fuel and high-level waste for interim storage or permanent disposal (see Section 1.3.2). As described in some detail in Chapter 5, these future concerns relate primarily to the difficulties in scaling-up transportation systems from the relatively small, centralized programs that presently exist for moving small quantities of spent fuel to the more complex decentralized programs that will likely be
SIDEBAR 1.1 Transportation of Radioactive Waste Study Task
The principal task of this study is to develop a high-level synthesis of key technical and societal issues for spent fuel/high-level waste transport and to identify technical and policy options for addressing these issues and managing transportation risk. The principal focus of this study is on the transportation of spent fuel and high-level waste in the United States, but the study will draw on international experiences as well as experiences with transporting other waste types. The study addresses and provides findings and recommendations on the following four questions:
What are the principal risks for transporting (including container handling, modal transfers, and conveyance) radioactive waste, and how do they compare with other societal risks? To what extent have these risks been addressed by previous analyses?
At present, what are the principal technical and societal concerns for transporting radioactive waste? To what extent have these concerns been addressed, and what additional work is needed?
What are likely to be the key principal technical and societal concerns for radioactive waste transportation in the future, especially over the next two decades?
What options are available to address these concerns, for example, options involving changes to planned transportation routes, modes, procedures, or other limitations/restrictions; or options for improving the communication of transportation risks to decision makers and the public?