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Putting a Timeline on Nuclear Waste

November 18, 2001

I am closely involved with the planning for the high-level nuclear waste repository that may be developed at Yucca Mountain, Nev. ("Hot Asphalt," by Matthew Heller, Oct. 28). We may wish it were otherwise, but, so far, the U.S. Department of Energy has not determined routes for shipment of nuclear waste from the 77 existing waste storage sites to Yucca Mountain. Indeed, the department has not even indicated whether shipments might be by rail or highway, although a preference for rail can be sensed in some of their plans and reports.

Your timeline of route designation in 2006 seems too late, and the possibility of shipments as early as 2007 seems most unlikely according to present plans. I think the states will put pressure on the department to begin the planning sooner, and there are many complicated reasons why waste is unlikely to move much sooner than 2010.

Brian O'Connell

Via the Internet

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