Transportation Routing Study Task

The principal task of this study will be to assess the manner in which the Department of Energy and its contractors:

  1. Select potential highway and rail routes for the shipment of spent nuclear fuel from foreign and domestic research nuclear reactors.

  2. Select specific land routes for such shipments.

  3. Conduct assessments, if any, of the risks associated with such shipments.

The following factors will be considered in conducting the assessments in point (3):

  1. Proximity of routes to major population centers and the risks associated with shipments of spent nuclear fuel from research nuclear reactors through densely populated areas.

  2. Current traffic and accident data with respect to the routes under consideration.

  3. Quality of the roads comprising the routes under consideration.

  4. Emergency response capabilities along the routes under consideration.

  5. Proximity of the routes under consideration to places or venues (including sports stadiums, convention centers, concert halls and theaters, and other venues) where large numbers of people gather.

The assessment should identify deficiencies, if any, in current procedures for selecting routes that have important potential health or safety consequences. In making recommendations to address these deficiencies, a clear distinction should be made between technical and policy considerations. Recommendations should be directed at competent regulating authorities or the United States Congress.

required to move large quantities of spent fuel and high-level waste to interim storage or permanent disposal.4


Most National Research Council studies are undertaken in response to requests from federal agencies, the White House, or Congress. In contrast, the transportation study described in Sidebar 1.1 was self-initiated by the


This report refers to these two types of programs as small-quantity shipping programs and large-quantity shipping programs. While there is no precise quantity demarcation between these two program types, the former involves shipment on the order of tens of metric tons of spent fuel or high-level waste, while the latter involves shipment on the order of hundreds to thousands of metric tons.

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