In light of Japan’s Fukushima disaster, the future of nuclear power is a topic of debate whenever alternative power sources are discussed. Whether you are for nuclear power or against it, one legacy of this technology will be the great lengths that governments and power companies must go to dispose of the spent fuel and other byproducts.
The San Onofre nuclear power station replaced its steam generator several years ago, but only now is it able to move the old generator to a secure disposal facility. The generator must be moved in four parts. Each section is roughly 50-feet long and 15 feet in diameter and requires a transportation method of epic proportions. The trailer specifically constructed for this move is 400-feet long, nearly 17-feet high and it will take three weeks to make the 830-mile trip from San Onofre to its Utah disposal site.
For safety and security reasons, the routes for the trips are undisclosed, though the first leg snakes its way through San Bernardino and Riverside counties. The generator parts will travel at night for minimal traffic, accompanied by California Highway Patrol.
The whole rig weighs in at 700,000 pounds and can only travel at a maximum speed of 25 miles per hour. Though the generator is irradiated, standing next to the rig for an hour will only expose you to the same amount of radiation as a dentist’s x-ray.
An official from Southern California Edison says this special package could be the largest load ever to be moved such a distance distance. As our nation’s nuclear powerplants age, motorists may see more impressive sights like this in the coming year.