The Rail Alignment Environmental Impact Statement: An Update

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On July 23,2002, the President of the United States signed into law a joint resolution of the United States Congress designating the Yucca Mountain site in Nye County, Nevada, for development as a geologic repository for the disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. If the US. Nuclear Regulatory Commission authorizes construction of the repository and receipt and possession of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive at Yucca Mountain, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) would be responsible for transporting these materials to the Yucca Mountain repository as part of its obligation under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act. ... continued below

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7 pages

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Sweeney, R. January 20, 2005.

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Description

On July 23,2002, the President of the United States signed into law a joint resolution of the United States Congress designating the Yucca Mountain site in Nye County, Nevada, for development as a geologic repository for the disposal of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste. If the US. Nuclear Regulatory Commission authorizes construction of the repository and receipt and possession of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive at Yucca Mountain, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) would be responsible for transporting these materials to the Yucca Mountain repository as part of its obligation under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act. Part of the site recommendation decision included the analysis of a nation-wide shipping campaign to the proposed repository site. The ''Final Environmental Impact Statement for a Geologic Repository for the Disposal of Spent Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Radioactive Waste at Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada'' (February 2002) (Repository EIS) evaluated the potential impacts of the transportation of 70,000 Metric Tons of Heavy Metal spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste from 77 locations around the nation to the potential repository in Nevada over a 24 year shipping campaign. In the Repository EIS, DOE identified mostly rail as its preferred mode of transportation, both nationally and in the State of Nevada. In December 2003, based on public comments and the environmental analyses in the Repository EIS, DOE identified a preference for the Caliente rail corridor in Nevada. On April 8, 2004, DOE issued a Record of Decision (ROD) on the Mode of Transportation and Nevada Rail Corridor for the Disposal of Spent Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Radioactive Waste at Yucca Mountain, Nye County, Nevada. In this ROD, the DOE announced that it had decided to select the mostly rail scenario analyzed in the Repository EIS as the transportation mode both on a national basis and in the State of Nevada. Under the mostly rail scenario, the DOE would rely on a combination of rail, truck and possibly barge to transport to the repository site at Yucca Mountain up to 70,000 MTHM of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste, with most of the spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste being transported by rail. This will ultimately require construction of a rail line in Nevada to the repository. In addition, the DOE has decided to select the Caliente rail corridor in which to examine potential alignments within which to construct that rail line. A corridor is a strip of land, approximately 400 meters (0.25 miles) wide, that encompasses one of several possible routes through which DOE could build a rail line. An alignment is the specific location of a rail line in a corridor, and would likely be 60 meters [200 feet] or less in width. Also on April 8, 2004, DOE issued a Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Alignment, Construction, and Operation of a Rail Line to a Geologic Repository at Yucca Mountain, Nye County, NV. In the Notice of Intent, the Department announced its intent to prepare a Rail Alignment EIS to assist in selecting a possible alignment for construction of a rail line that would connect the repository at Yucca Mountain to an existing main rail line in Nevada. The Rail Alignment EIS also would consider the potential construction and operation of a rail-to-truck intermodal transfer facility, proposed to be located at the confluence of an existing mainline railroad and a highway, to support legal-weight truck transportation until the rail system is fully operational. This corridor is approximately 513 kilometers (319 miles) long and would cost an estimated $880 million (2001 dollars). Should DOE decide to build the Caliente corridor, it may be the longest rail line built in the United States since the Transcontinental Railroad was constructed in 1869. Some of the challenges in building this rail corridor are steep grades (the corridor crosses over 7 mountain ranges), isolated terrain, possible tunnels, and stakeholder acceptance.

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7 pages

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INIS; OSTI as DE00840142

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  • Other Information: PBD: 20 Jan 2005

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  • Report No.: NONE
  • Grant Number: NONE
  • DOI: 10.2172/840142 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 840142
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc784990

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  • January 20, 2005

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Dec. 3, 2015, 9:30 a.m.

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  • Feb. 11, 2016, 12:08 p.m.

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Sweeney, R. The Rail Alignment Environmental Impact Statement: An Update, report, January 20, 2005; Las Vegas, Nevada. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc784990/: accessed October 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.