Oklahoma on nuclear waste map

Monday, June 23rd 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ A plan to open up a nuclear waste site in Nevada will put Oklahoma on the map of routes taken by nuclear waste haulers.

An underground site beneath Nevada's Yucca Mountain is under consideration as a central dumping site for nuclear waste. Fuel from 64 nuclear plants would crisscross the country on the way.

In Oklahoma, that would mean spent nuclear fuel would move across Interstate 40 from one end of the state to the other, passing through Oklahoma City.

It would also move up Interstate 35 from the Texas state line to Oklahoma City and across a railway near Tulsa through Mayes and Cherokee counties, past Muskogee and through Sequoyah County. A railroad route that passes through Alva, Woodward and Shattuck would also be used.

The soonest these shipments would happen is 2010.

Organizations like the Environmental Working Group and Action Fund believe large-scale shipments will be disasters waiting to happen.

``I just find myself automatically in something of a worried posture when I hear an engineer say it's impossible, nothing will go wrong,'' said Ken Cook, spokesman for the Environmental Working Group, which opposes mass shipments.

``If something were to go wrong you could have such serious consequences, you could have devastation for decades, it would be a complete mess,'' Cook said.

Mitch Singer of the Nuclear Energy Institute said the likelihood of that happening is slim. Shipping spent fuel is nothing new, he said. It's been done safely for decades.