Expert panel backs Energy Department nuke-waste transport plan

An expert panel organized by the National Academy of Sciences has concluded that it’s likely safe to ship tens of thousands of tons of spent nuclear fuel to Nevada for disposal. After all, what could go wrong? [Spends a moment in terrified contemplation.] The panel reviewed the Department of Energy’s plans for trucking and train-transporting about 70,000 tons of nuclear waste from some 70 sites in over 30 states to Nevada’s Yucca Mountain disposal facility — a process DOE estimates could take 24 years. It found that risks of radiation and other health-negative impacts from shipments were “generally low.” But the experts also noted that they couldn’t assess risks to shipments because they couldn’t access classified information, and called for an investigation of such security issues by a body independent of both the nuclear industry and the government. We’re sure the Bush administration will get all over that.