Yucca Mountain transit safety study to continue

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LAS VEGAS (AP) - Clark County officials are moving forward with a $200,000 study evaluating risks for transporting nuclear waste to a repository that has yet to open and had its funding cut numerous times.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu has declared that the Yucca Mountain project 90 miles from Las Vegas is no longer considered an option for radioactive waste storage, but county officials say they want to be armed with as much information as possible to keep the dump from ever opening.

The study will examine rail and truck corridors that could be used to haul high-level nuclear waste and spent nuclear fuel to Yucca Mountain, which is the site legally designated to hold the nation's high-level radioactive waste.

The repository is designed to hold 77,000 tons of waste that would be trucked and hauled in by rail. Many of those shipments would travel directly through Las Vegas.

Local officials are primarily concerned about potential accidents and spills.

The county says Urban Transport LLC's study "will provide all needed support for Clark County's transportation-related contentions" to be considered by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The NRC will decide whether the application for the repository should go forward.

Ron Cameron, project manager for Urban Transit, said the University of Nevada at Las Vegas will work with the Nevada Highway Patrol to detail what is currently being hauled into and out of Clark County.

Urban Transit will examine the effect of rail and truck shipments on "turnouts, bridges, overpasses, tunnels, road-bearing capability, congestion and accident rates."

The study is expected to be finished by the end of the year.


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