Letter to Transportation Secretary Buttigieg re: highly radioactive waste shipping risks


On February 24, 2023, Beyond Nuclear wrote to U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, regarding the high risks of shipping highly radioactive wastes via road, rail, and/or waterway. Last week’s letter marked a year to the day when Beyond Nuclear sent Secretary Buttigieg a comprehensive letter on such risks. Despite assurances from U.S. Department of Transportation staff that a response would be forthcoming — in fact that one had been prepared and was simply awaiting final authorization — no response was ever provided.

Last week’s letter also came in light of the toxic train derailment disaster in East Palestine, Ohio.

The map featured above, which was attached to Beyond Nuclear’s letter to Secretary Buttigieg, shows the most likely rail routes that would be used to haul highly radioactive wastes from U.S. nuclear power plants, to the consolidated interim storage facility — Interim Storage Partners, LLC (ISP) — proposed in Andrews County, Texas. The route map was prepared by the Western Interstate Energy Board (WIEB) and submitted as a part of its comments on the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the ISP CISF in November 2020. Prior to WIEB’s route map, such routing had been kept largely to nearly entirely secret by not only ISP, but also NRC, lest concerned residents along those routes learn about it and organize opposition to the high-risk shipments through their communities.

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