Kathleen Miles is the executive editor of Noema Magazine. She can be reached on Twitter at @mileskathleen.
A large load of nuclear waste has begun a 21-day trip from Southern California to a dump site in Clive, Utah.
“We believe it’s the largest load ever moved this distance in the U.S,” said Justin Brevik, the designer and owner of the 192-wheel trailer hauling the waste, according to industry website constructionequipmentguide.com.
A 400-foot-long vehicle (longer than a football field) hauled a 700,000-pound generator from the San Onofre nuclear plant onto Interstate 5 Sunday night, Patch reports. To put it in perspective, a 747-100B jumbo jet weighs 735,000 pounds at takeoff.
For security reasons, the nuclear generator will travel at night, accompanied by Caltrans and CHP, and its route has not been disclosed, CBS reports. However, Southern California Edison did say it would pass through San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino and Las Vegas on its way to Clive, Utah, about 35 miles west of Salt Lake City.
Authorities say the waste’s radiation level is not harmful. “There is a slight bit of radioactivity to it. But if you stood next to it for an hour, you’d get about the same amount of radioactivity you do when you get a dental X-ray,” said Scott Andresen with Southern California Edison told ABC.
The San Onofre nuclear plant was shut off in Jan. after a leak and unusual wear on reactor tubes were discovered. Federal and state nuclear regulators are now investigating the plant.
Since Jan., the power plant has cost at least $317 million, even though it has not produced power for almost a year. Environmentalists are calling on regulators to end what they call a bogus investigation and to shut down the plant for good.