Carper Demands Safe Transportation of Nuclear and Hazardous Waste on Highways and Rail

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Tom Carper today called for the Department of Transportation to help ensure the safety of roads, bridges and rails carrying low level nuclear and hazardous waste. Carper joined Majority Whip Harry Reid (D-NV) at a press conference in front of the Capitol to urge that emergency response and medical teams be prepared to act in case of hazardous waste or low-level nuclear catastrophe due to transportation failure. “When trucks carrying hazardous wastes rumble along I-95, Route 1 or our state’s other roadways, I want to be sure they are safe,” Carper said. “I want us to be sure that the transportation routes – the trucks, the trains, and the bridges – are safe and that the emergency crews along the way are fully aware and prepared for the movement of hazardous material through their communities.” During the recent Senate debate on transportation appropriations, Carper supported a successful amendment by Reid requiring the study of the hazards and risks to public health and safety, the environment, and the economy of the transportation of hazardous chemicals and radioactive material, the improvements to transportation infrastructure necessary to prevent accidents in transporting those materials, and the preparation of response teams to mitigate accidents. “As a child, I used to watch the trains rumble past my grandparents’ home. Trains dozens of cars long would ride by hauling the steel and farm goods that built our nation’s economy,” Carper said. “The cargo in today’s trains still help run our nation’s economy, but they are very different products. We are far more likely to see low-level nuclear waste and hazardous chemicals in those trains today.” As the nation’s energy consumption continues to grow, so will the amount of nuclear waste that will needed to be transported to disposal sites, said Carper, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Delaware’s role as a national leader in the chemical industry makes it particularly important that hazardous wastes can be transported safely.