Neighbors Worried About Nuclear Waste Proximity

LAKEWOOD, Ohio – On Friday, President Bush approved a plan to ship the nation's nuclear waste to Nevada, and his decision has some northeast Ohio residents worried about how the waste will be shipped and how close it'll get to their homes, 19/43 News' Paul Orlousky reported.

The concern comes from the fact that trucks carrying nuclear waste will be traveling major interstates, including the Ohio Turnpike. Beyond that, Lakewood residents are even more concerned because trains carrying nuclear waste will be traveling on railroad tracks that run right through many neighborhoods there.

Cleveland-area train tracks will be one of the main routes for nuclear waste heading west, along with east-to-west highways. That will leave our region resembling a spider web of nuclear routes.

"That's very frightening," Lakewood resident Kelly Kidd said. "I didn't know a thing about it. It upsets me tremendously."

"Right now, I have no problem with the trains," Lakewood resident Joe Gardi said. "You get used to them, but I wouldn't want waste going by of any kind."

Supporters of shipping the waste pointed out that in the 3,000 nuclear shipments that have occurred since the 1960s, there have been only four accidents.

Despite that, Turnpike workers said that they are opposed to the movement of nuclear waste because they see themselves as being on the front lines of potential danger. In the case of an accident, Turnpike workers, just like Lakewood homeowners, could be close to radiation.

"A person would receive a lethal dose in just a few seconds, so it's some of the most dangerous material that man has ever created," Earth Day Coalition spokesman Chris Trepal said.

Trains won't start rolling until all of the logistics are worked out, and that could take until the end of the decade.

The local debate over nuclear shipments will begin at a Lakewood City Council meeting on March 4. Councilman Dennis Dunn has drafted a resolution opposing the shipments, and he said that he'd like to hear from the public.