Transportation of Non-Radioactive
and Low-Level Radioactive Waste Materials
Decommissioning of the DCPP will involve the shutting down and demolition of multiple structures and facilities on the plant site. A majority of the demolished materials will need to be transported away from the plant site and disposed at landfill sites in conformance with local, state and federal regulations. This section of the Strategic Vision addresses the transportation of clean and low-level radioactive wastes. The transportation of radioactive spent nuclear fuel and Greater Than Class C Waste will be covered in the next section.
Traditional demolition waste such as concrete, metal, building materials, aggregate and glass, or clean waste (no detectable radiation) are proposed to be removed from the plant site, as is low- level radioactive waste (items that have become contaminated with radioactive material or have become radioactive through exposure to neutron radiation). The 2018 NDCTP proposed truck transportation for waste removal and estimated that 1,361,335 tons of non-radioactive, low activity radioactive waste, and Class A, B, and C waste would need to be removed. 684,000 tons of that is concrete from the removal of the Marina Breakwater. Keeping the breakwater in place would reduce the amount of demolition materials to 677,335 tons which would significantly decrease the number of truck trips needed to remove the demolition materials. Relying solely on trucks for removing waste materials from the power plant site (excluding the breakwater and spent fuel) would entail an estimated 70,000 2-way truck trips.
Removal of demolition materials can be completed using trucking, trucking to a rail yard and transfer to rail cars, or barging to a location and transferring to rail cars or trucks, or a combination of any of these methods. Public comment to the DCDEP from neighbouring communities and the county at large revealed a concern about the impacts of only using trucks to move demolition materials through the county. Due to these concerns, the DCDEP requested that PG&E consider alternative transportation routes and methods (including truck, barge and rail) for removal of the demolition materials. Specifically, the DCDEP asked whether barging the materials from the site could be considered. In response to this question, PG&E collaborated with the B. John Garrick Institute for the Risk Sciences of UCLA to conduct an analysis of risks associated with, among other things, removing waste materials from the power plant by barging instead of trucking.
UCLA’s Garrick Institute completed the report entitled “Transportation Risks Associated with the Decommissioning of Nuclear Power Plants: Methodology and Application to Diablo Canyon Power Plant” in May of 2020.
The UCLA Transportation Risk Analysis considered three methods to remove the demolition materials from the site: the southern truck route, the northern truck route and the barge route. The analysis also considered the risks associated with the removal of the breakwater versus leaving it in place. In comparing the routes, as well as the breakwater alternatives, the analysis considered “conventional transportation risks” which are accidents, injuries and fatalities using the TRAGIS software developed by the U.S. Department of Energy. The analysis also considered non-incident and accident related risks from potential radiological releases using the RADTRAN software developed by Sandia National Laboratories.
In general, the analysis found that barging had the lowest risk compared to trucking and rail transport, rail transport is less risky than trucking, leaving the breakwater in place reduced overall risk by almost 50 percent and a combination of barging and keeping the breakwater in place lowers the fatality risks by more than 40 percent, with a corresponding reduction in injury risk of 32 percent and accident risk of 9 percent.
A summary of the report from the DCDEP and the text of the full report can be found here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1dHkwXPIpcag7GHV7QqbCuA-EVoOU3yOQ/view
Public Meeting on Transportation of Non-Radioactive/Low-Level Radioactive Waste Materials
On June 24, 2020, the DCDEP held a public meeting covering the topic of the transportation of non-radioactive materials and low-level radioactive wastes. Included in the public meeting were presentations from PG&E on the 2018 NDTCP proposed modes, routes and volumes of waste; the UCLA Garrick Institute on the Transportation Risk Analysis; the County Planning and Public Works Departments on local transportation issues and the role of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) in mitigating transportation issues for proposed projects; and the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and the California Department of Transportation (Cal Trans) on establishing highway routes and enforcement. In addition, a written presentation by the California Coastal Commission staff was read into the record.
The June 24, 2020 public meeting video and presentation materials can be found be following this link:
Previous sections in this Vision Statement included visions, goals and recommendations regarding the transportation of both radiological and non-radiological materials off-site. These visions, goals and recommendations are still applicable and should be implemented in addition to the visions, goals and recommendations included here.
Through these vision statements, goals and recommendations, it is the intent of the DCDEP to assure that the safest method of transporting demolition materials from the site is considered and put in place in a manner that minimizes the impacts to neighboring communities and the county at large.
Recommendations for Transportation of Non-Radioactive Materials and Low-Level Radioactive Wastes can be found in Section IV of this document.
- The highest level of safety regarding the transport of demolition materials off-site should be ensured
- The methods chosen for transporting materials off site should minimize impacts to the surrounding communities and the environment
- The waste materials should be reused on-site in order to minimize the quantity needed to be removed in order to complete decommissioning
- The transportation of demolition waste materials should be completed ensuring the highest levels of safety for workers, residents, visitors and the environment
- The transport of demolition waste materials should use best practices and best technologies, so as to reduce the impacts of traffic, noise, dust, and other factors on workers, residents, visitors and the environment
- The various methods to transport demolition waste materials should be explored, including by rail and barge
- The exploration of keeping and re-using clean demolition waste materials on-site to the maximum extent feasible should be considered to minimize the amount of waste that needs to be transported off-site
- Recommend that PG&E propose and use the safest method of transport for demolition waste materials in order to minimize risk and disruption to local communities, with consideration of the cost to ratepayers, including use of barges and trucking only during dates and times to avoid peak traffic
- Recommend that PG&E include a feasibility and cost analysis of barging demolition waste materials in the 2021 NDTCP
- Recommend that any regulatory agencies that review the decommissioning land use permit or any other necessary permits evaluate all measures to fully mitigate the impacts of transporting demolition waste materials off-site, including a full exploration of barging and allowing trucking only during dates and times of day of lowest traffic volumes
- Recommend that PG&E reuse as much demolition waste materials on-site as is practically feasible in order to minimize the amount of materials that need to be transported off-site
- Recommend that PG&E work with the CPUC, State Lands Commission and the California Coastal Commission to allow for retention of the breakwater to limit the amount of demolition materials created in order to minimize the numbers of truck/rail/barge trips necessary for removal from the site
- Recommend that the CPUC direct PG&E implementation of the preceding recommendations