A new vehicle that will soon begin transporting certain types of radioactive wastes through Columbia County to a disposal site in New Mexico will be on public display Friday at the Evans Government Center.
The Department of Energy's Waste Isolation Pilot Plant Road Show will make its final stop in Columbia County before the new vehicle goes into service.
The transport will soon begin carrying remote-handled transuranic radioactive wastes from Savannah River Site via Interstate 20 to a disposal facility in Carlsbad, N.M., according to a DOE news release.
The term transuranic radioactive wastes generally refers to soils and support materials such as tools, glassware, equipment and clothing exposed to radiation during nuclear fuel production, according to the Environmental Health Center Division of the National Safety Council.
Waste Isolation Pilot Plant has delivered more than 800 shipments of other low-level radioactive wastes safely since 1999, according to the DOE. But the remote-handled wastes contain higher-levels of radiation, requiring the vehicle to have extensive shielding, according to the Environmental Health Center Division of the National Safety Council.
The new transport consists of a tractor-trailer rig hauling a specially built storage cask, a news release states.
Columbia County Emergency Services Director Pam Tucker said the road show will help inform the public about the vehicles and educate first responders.
Tucker said the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant transports have been "brutally tested" to assure their safety.
The pilot plant provides the county with equipment to test radiation levels in the event of an accident, and Tucker is notified in advance of shipments and is paged every time a Waste Isolation Pilot Plant transport enters the state.
"The likelihood of any kind of (radioactive) leakage is extremely remote, but we just know it's better for us to be ready and have that knowledge and equipment," she said.
Tucker said it is important for motorists to know what the transport looks like. If motorists encounter any hazardous material transport, she said, give it plenty of room to maneuver and do not pass it recklessly.
The road show will last from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the government center on Ronald Reagan Drive in Evans. For more information, visit www.columbiacountyga.gov.
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