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‘Super load’ en route to Inyo

August 9, 2011

The super load containing a retired nuclear steam generator from San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant at the I-15 and U.S. 395 in Southern California on Aug. 2. The massive 399-foot trailer will creep through the area starting tonight and stopping in Bishop on Thursday. Photo by Anthony Carrasco

A massive truck hauling spent nuclear machinery will be passing through Inyo County on a 21-day journey from San Onofre to Clive, Utah. The super load measures 399 feet long, 20 feet wide and more than 16 feet tall with 200 or so tires, consisting of a trailer weighing more than one million pounds and three trucks.
The loads are reportedly the heaviest in California history. This trip is the first of four scheduled for this year.
The truck will require a moving lane closure. “The load will be traveling in northbound lanes and will require that all traffic approaching the moving lane closure remains behind the load, until it reaches its destination,” a press release from Caltrans states. “For those locations on U.S. Highway 395, that are still two-lane (Olancha/Cartago), both north and southbound lanes will be closed.”
Florene Trainor of Caltrans said the move will “more than likely” cause traffic congestion and delays. She added the project has been two years in the making.
The load will be traveling through the area starting tomorrow. Beginning Tuesday night, the truck will travel in the evening from Ridgecrest to Olancha. The truck will travel from Olancha to Bishop on Wednesday evening, arriving in Bishop early Thursday morning. The truck will stay a day parked in front of the Ford dealership on U.S. 6. The load will then begin moving during daylight hours on Friday from Bishop to the Nevada state line.
Southern California Edison, which owns the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant, is advising people to stand clear of the truck and its crew, not because of the payload but due to the complexity of the operation.
Eye witnesses to the move in Southern California told the Orange County newspaper, The Press-Enterprise, that the truck was surrounded by smaller cars and men in orange vests meticulously directing the huge truck through downtown streets.
Four spent nuclear steam generators will be shipped, one at a time, to Energy Solutions, located in Clive, Utah. Energy Solutions is licensed by the State of Utah for Class A waste only.
The Nuclear Energy Institute website gives definitions of general classes of waste: Class A, Class B and Class C waste. “Although the classification of waste can be complex, Class A waste generally contains lower concentrations of long half-lived radioactive material than Class B and C wastes.”
WCS Permits, which secured the two dozen or more permits for the haul, will also handle the pilot cars and some traffic controlling. Local California Highway Patrol will also assist in the move.
According to WCS, Perkins Specialized Transportation Contracting will be moving the custom-built 1.611 million-pound trailer holding an “Expired Steamed Generator.”
The maximum speed of the truck is 15 mph.

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