New Map shows Central Pennsylvania would be a Corridor for Extremely Dangerous and Radioactive Nuclear Waste Shipments

Harrisburg PA – Nearly 3,000 high level nuclear waste shipments from 28 nuclear reactors, one quarter of the nations power reactors, would cross through Pennsylvaniaon their way to temporary waste storage sites. Today, Three Mile Island Alert released maps of the likely routes which would be used, joining dozens of environmental and clean energy groups across the country. The groups want state residents to weigh in with Congress and State Legislators about the dangers and deficiencies of the radioactive casks and the plans to move them.
 
According to the map, highly radioactive reactor fuel rods from 19 nuclear plants would pass through Hershey, Harrisburg and the West Shore. With 20 to 50 tons of dirty reactor fuel assemblies in each cask, an accident could release several times more radioactive material than the Hiroshima bomb blast. The Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that up to 260 transportation accidents could occur in the U.S. due to the large number of shipments that are required. These shipments would also be vulnerable to attack or sabotage along the hundreds or thousands of miles that each cask would travel.
 
Scott Portzline, a security consultant to TMI Alert said, “I have witnessed a train hauling high level nuclear waste eight miles north of Harrisburg. It was easily identifiable because its features are uniquely distinctive. It should have been camouflaged. But, even more worrisome to me, the train was traveling at 45 mph during a summer heat wave which had caused a derailment the previous day in Washington D.C due to the tracks warping. Current regulations do not address the movement of this waste during inclement or extreme weather conditions. I reported both concerns to Homeland Security in 2004 at a meeting with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.”
 
“Pennsylvanians and first responders are not ready to deal with reactor waste transport accidents  if one of these untested and under-protected casks fails. An accident involving tons of high level radioactive fuel rods in Harrisburg, the West Shore or Hershey could force thousands of people to evacuate their homes, schools, and businesses and contaminate dozens of square miles, especially if a fire occurs. The cost of cleanup could be $2 billion dollars.” Portzline concluded. 
 
Three Mile Island Alert is calling upon Pennsylvania’s legislators and Governor Tom Wolf to ensure that the transportation of nuclear waste commence only after proper cask designs have been tested and when regulations close the gaps to known vulnerabilities. 
 
If, the DOE does decide to create temporary storage cites, then the waste would have to be moved twice - once to the interim site, and then to a permanent site - thus doubling the risks.
 
(Earlier this year, Scott Portzline was called upon by the Harrisburg City Council to explain certain risks associated with the volatile Bakken Oil rail shipments, aka “bomb trains.”)
 
(TMI Alert correctly warned that TMI Unit 2 was dangerously faulty two years prior to the 1979 accident.)