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Companies were asked for ideas on how rail cars should be obtained for hauling 150-ton casks that are filled with radioactive nuclear fuel.
The plans of the latest government is to have an interim test storage site in the year 2021 and to have a long term geologic depository in the year 2048. No one actually knows where the sites would be, but Obama administration is already thinking about the contracts for developing, testing as well as certifying the necessary rail equipment.
Officials of U.S Energy Department didn’t respond to messages that sought detailed comments. The responsibility of regulating shipments is shared by Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Department of Transportation.
Senior Scientist at Geoscience and environmental consulting firm UFA Ventures Inc, James Conca says that it is necessary for doing it. A nuclear waste disposal site has been monitored by him.
In a public solicitation, opinions were asked for whether the rail cars should be brought or leased. The cars are expected to last for 30 years and on regular tracks, they would run at standard speeds. Heavy protective casks can be accommodated.
Cars have to be buffered so that a safe distance is maintained between the radioactive cargo and a crew. Fuel is already being sent by U.S military by rail from reactors on navy ships for storage to federal labs. More than 2,300 tons was hauled by the civilian power industry from the year 1979 to the year 2007. Nuclear fuel is very radioactive and hot when removed from reactors.