Radioactive Cargo on Indiana Big Rigs May Have More State Regulation – But is This a Good Thing?

Radioactive Cargo on Indiana Big Rigs May Have More State Regulation – But is This a Good Thing?

Right now, the Indiana legislature is working on legislation that — if it makes it through the House (it’s passed in the Senate) and gets Governor Mitch Daniels’ signature — would increase the state regulation of radioactive materials that are carried on Indiana roadways everyday.

Radioactive Materials Are Carried By Semis Along Indiana Roadways

That’s right:  as you drive home tonight, or along the interstate this weekend with your family, ponder the big rigs and semis driving the roads with you.  Think about their cargo — it could be radioactive material.

Glow in the dark, fast beeps on the Geiger counter, RADIOACTIVE NUCLEAR WASTE, right next to you as you both cruise along at 65 mph.  Sounds like a sci-fi/horror movie just waiting to happen, doesn’t it?

What Will the Proposed Law Do About Radioactive Truck Cargo?

Assuming that the legislation makes its way into law without significant alteration, Indiana would (1) increase fees on the truckers who are carrying this stuff and (2) up the regulatory requirements for hauling this dangerous material on Indiana’s public roads.

Trucking companies wanting to move radioactive material (i.e., nuclear waste) through Indiana would have to get a permit in advance, telling the State’s Homeland Security Department exactly what they planned to do. The trucking company would have to report not only what was being hauled, but when it was being moved and the routes that the trucker expected to take through the Indiana countryside.

How much more in fees? For trucks, there would be a fee of $2500/first cask of nuclear waste and $3000/all additional casks. Right now, Indiana’s fee is $1000/cask of nuke waste.

Sounds pretty cost-prohibitive, right? Maybe. Failure to obtain the proper permit could result in a maximum $1,000 fine. You do the math.

Assuming that this bill becomes law (and it probably will), then lots of different law enforcement folk should be watching out for these dangerous trucks: not only the Indiana State Police, but local cops as well as state motor carrier inspectors should be making inspections of the big rigs to verify compliance.

What happens if a wily trucker is found zipping through Indiana with a bunch of radioactive cargo that hasn’t been properly reported? Well, there are the fines, of course. And, the law would allow the big rigs to be detained for a bit or even legally seized and impounded.

Which is just what we want, right? To seize and HOLD radioactive materials in Indiana when we catch these guys? Right? Really??????

And, let’s ponder another possibility too: let’s hope that all those records of exactly where and when these Nuke Trucks are going through Indiana are kept very, very safe — as in, Top Secret — because there’s already concerns about terrorist attacks using radioactive material moving through urban financial centers. Let’s hope that the legislatures are considering this aspect of their new regulatory mandate, too.

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