HLRWC Library

In 2018, the HLRWC completed and approved four more policy papers, continuing their key initiative of the past few years. In these papers, the HLRWC reached consensus on a broad range of often contentious ideas, a testament to their experience and their commitment to interstate cooperation. These policies contribute four more important pieces to the HLRWC’s vision of what a safe and publicly acceptable spent nuclear fuel and high-level waste transportation program should look like. These four policies have been presented to the WIEB Board, and have been approved. The 2018 policy papers are:

  1. Social Risk [pdf]
  2. Full-Scale Cask Testing [pdf]
  3. Origin Site Transportation Coordination [pdf]
  4. Funding for State and Local Development and Implementation of a Transportation System [pdf]

The WIEB HLRW Committee submitted comments to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on the scope of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that it must prepare as a part of the licensing process for Interim Storage Partners’ (ISP) proposed spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste (SNF/HLW) consolidated interim storage facility in West Texas. In the comments, the HLRW Committee emphasized that transportation must be fully considered in the EIS in order for it to completely consider the potential impacts of licensing this facility. The HLRW Committee also offered the following guidance to the NRC when it is preparing the EIS: 1) take into account the official policies of the HLRW Committee; 2) fully evaluate all reasonable transportation modes and routes; and 3) consider all facets of a SNF/HLW transportation program that could influence the safety of the public and environment. Such additional facets include, among other things, analyses of the impacts of a transportation accident or incident, of the coordination and communication with states, tribes, and other stakeholders that must take place prior to a SNF/HLW transportation program, and of the level of emergency preparedness along likely shipping routes.

The NRC is expected to offer a draft EIS for public comment sometime in 2019.

The WIEB HLRW Committee submitted comments to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on the scope of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that it must prepare as a part of the licensing process for Holtec/Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance’s proposed spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste (SNF/HLW) consolidated interim storage facility in southeastern New Mexico. In the comments, the HLRW Committee emphasized that transportation must be fully considered in the EIS in order for it to completely consider the potential impacts of licensing this facility. The HLRW Committee also offered the following guidance to the NRC when it is preparing the EIS: 1) take into account the official policies of the HLRW Committee; 2) fully evaluate all reasonable transportation modes and routes; and 3) consider all facets of a SNF/HLW transportation program that could influence the safety of the public and environment. Such additional facets include, among other things, analyses of the impacts of a transportation accident or incident, of the coordination and communication with states, tribes, and other stakeholders that must take place prior to a SNF/HLW transportation program, and of the level of emergency preparedness along likely shipping routes.

The NRC is expected to offer a draft EIS for public comment sometime in 2019.

Since the beginning of nuclear power generation in the United States, there has been the assumption and expectation that at some point in time, spent nuclear fuel (SNF) would be transported from the reactors to a final disposal site. Throughout this time, it has been clear to Western states that other regions of the country fully expect a SNF disposal facility to be located in the West. The federal government has generally seemed to endorse that premise. However, the vast majority of commercial SNF is generated east of the Mississippi River. Because of this, transporting the SNF to a Western site would likely place disproportionate transportation impacts upon the Western and corridor states. Recognizing these potential impacts, Western states, through the Western Interstate Energy Board’s High-Level Radioactive Waste Committee, have engaged with DOE since the 1980s to develop an acceptable transportation program for SNF and high-level radioactive waste (HLW). As a result of its previous and current interactions with DOE, the High-Level Radioactive Waste Committee has collectively developed and agreed to a number of major policy positions related to SNF and HLW transport. These policies have been presented to the WIEB Board, and have been approved. These policy papers are:

  1. The "WIPP Transportation Model" and Its Application to SNF/HLW Transport | [pdf]
  2. Physical Protection Requirements for SNF Transport | [pdf]
  3. Ship Oldest Fuel First | [pdf]
  4. Rail Route Safety: Track, Grade Crossings, Bridges, and Switches | [pdf]
  5. Rail Shipment Inspection | [pdf]