Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Bruce A. Ralston

Committee Members

Thomas Bell, Theodore Schmudde, Michael Bronzini


There will be a substantial increase in the number of spent fuel shipments on the nation's highway system in the next thirty years. Most of the spent fuel will be moving from reactors to a spent fuel repository. This study develops two models which evaluate the risk and cost of moving the spent fuel. The Minimum Total Transport Risk Model (MTTRM) seeks the efficient solution for this problem by finding the minimum risk path through the network and sending all the spent fuel shipments over this one path. The Equilibrium Transport Risk Model (ETRM) finds an equitable solution by distributing the shipments over a number of paths in the network. This model decreases the risk along individual paths, but increases society's risk because the spent fuel shipments are traveling over more links in the network.

This study finds that there is a trade off between path risk and societal risk. As path risk declines, societal risk rises. The cost of shipping also increases as the number of paths expand.

The cost and risk of shipping spent fuel from ten reactors to four potential repository sites are evaluated using the MTTRM. The temporary monitored retrievable storage (MRS) facility in Tennessee is found to be the minimum cost and minimum risk solution. When direct shipment to the permanent sites is considered, Deaf Smith, Texas is the least cost and least incident free transport risk location. Yucca Mountain, Nevada is the least risk location when the focus is placed on the potential consequences of an accident on surrounding population or property.

The MTTRM and ETRM provide decision makers at all levels of government with a tool to evaluate the risk of shipping spent fuel. Each level of government and location in the country will have its own preference in the distribution of risk.

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