Shipments will originate from civilian
nuclear power plants and federal energy facilities
12,600 rail shipments
79,300 truck shipments
Beginning in 2010 or later
Once Congress decides where highly radioactive nuclear waste mostly spent
fuel rods from more than 100 reactors will be stored for ten thousand years, the debate
will focus on the movement of the radioactive materials to one or more storage sites.
For Nebraska, nuclear waste shipments
will occur every day for decades. Many questions surrounding spent nuclear
fuel remain unanswered: Will Yucca Mountain, Nevada, be the permanent site? Will an
interim site be opened to accept waste before 2010?
Will trucks or trains be the primary method of transportation? Even though these
questions remain unanswered, two reports predict
that Nebraska will become one of the top Midwestern
states through which the radioactive waste will travel.
3,000+ Shipments A Year
Nationally, an estimated
92,000 shipments of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive
waste currently stored at sites across the nation will be
shipped over a period of 30 years. The radioactive waste
is currently stored at civilian nuclear power plants and
federal energy facilities, most of which are in the eastern
The only site being studied for permanent waste
disposal is a mountain in the Nevada desert.
Nearly $2 billion has been spent analyzing the
mountain's suitability. The federal government has predicted, if
Yucca Mountain is suitable for storage, a site will not be ready
until 2010 or later.
Opening a temporary site is also a possibility. In
1996, Congress tried to select Yucca Mountain as the temporary as
well as the permanent site for the waste, but failed.
Smack Dab in the Middle
With a waste site in the West and the spent nuclear fuel
in the East, the state's transportation system sits squarely in
Researchers analyzing the projected waste
shipments estimate that 62 percent of the nation's truck shipments of
spent nuclear fuel will cross the state in trucks and 82 percent of
the nation's rail shipments will cross the state, making Nebraska
one of the top Midwestern corridor states for nuclear waste.Illinois
is expected to have 90 percent of the truck shipments use
its highways, but only 77 percent of the rail shipments are likely
to cross its borders.
According to the Nebraska State Patrol which
monitors current waste shipments, only one or two shipments a
month presently cross the state.
Beginning as early as next spring, the number of spent
fuel shipments could begin to increase even though a
permanent storage site has not been picked. About 125 shipments of
spent nuclear fuel from foreign reactors will be made from
Savannah River, South Carolina to Idaho Falls, Idaho beginning in
spring 1998. These shipments were agreed to under the
Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
While the route these shipments will take is undetermined
at this time, the spent fuel will likely be shipped by truck
and Nebraska's interstate highway is a prime candidate. About
ten shipments of foreign nuclear waste will be sent yearly for
Seven Times A Day, Everyday
Congress may try to open the nation's interim nuclear
waste storage site in Nevada as early as 1999. In April, the
Senate passed legislation proposing to do exactly that. The House
of Representatives has just begun consideration of the issue,
but expects the bill, H.R. 1270, to reach the floor of the House
for final action yet this year.
If and when a site opens in Nevada, Nebraska will see a
125-fold to 250-fold increase over current levels of nuclear
A projected 3,000 shipments a year will use the
state's highways and train tracks. Instead of one or two shipments
a month, state troopers may be escorting seven shipments a
day, every day for about 30 years. The train and truck shipments
will course through the state's busiest and least trafficked
When a truck shipment of nuclear warheads slid off an
icy road 40 miles south of Valentine last November,
Nebraskans learned about the special precautions taken when nuclear
materials are involved in an accident. While no one was injured
in the accident and there was no radioactive leakage,
the road was closed for several hours. A special tow
truck from South Sioux City traveled 12 hours in a blinding
snow storm to the accident scene to right the overturned
truck. The towing service was paid $25,000 for its efforts.
It Could Be Worse
Nebraska will be spared an additional 38,000 waste shipments
from eight nuclear weapons production and storage centers headed
for permanent storage at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant
underground salt caverns near Carlsbad, New Mexico.
These shipments are also scheduled to begin next spring.
The nearest weapons production centers are in Ohio and Colorado
and the waste shipments will travel directly south to the New
Mexico storage area.
While state officials have been preparing for the
waste shipments for years, more work remains. Among those
issues left unresolved are training for emergency personnel and
The federal government, under the Nuclear Waste
Policy Act, is obligated to provide states with technical assistance
and funding for nuclear waste shipments being sent to a temporary
or permanent storage facility.
Some states that are likely to see dramatic increases
in radioactive waste shipments are imposing state permit and
fee requirements, in part, to finance emergency personnel
training and security costs. Nebraska's legislature has not passed
any laws requiring permits or fees associated with these shipments.
Stay tuned. The nuclear waste story has many facets that
the Quarterly will be examining in future issues.
Leaving the busy highway and leisurely driving through
any Nebraska town will confirm what most housing experts
already know: homes are built to last many decades, and most do.
According to a state government report, nearly a third of the homes
in the Nebraska were built 60 years ago or longer.
Decisions made at the time a home is built, can have decades-long
ramifications. One of the rationales behind energy efficient mortgages
is that it is far less expensive to build a home to use energy more
efficiently than try to add the energy saving features after a home
Lower Bills, Bigger House
Another energy efficient mortgage concept is that people who own
a home that uses energy wisely can afford to pay more on the mortgage
because their utility bills are lower.
National lenders such as Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and the Veterans
Administration have offered energy efficient mortgages for several
years. These mortgages offer more liberal income-to-debt and
loan-to-value ratios, but have not been widely used by homebuyers.
Last summer, the Energy Office, in cooperation with the state's
lenders, began offering energy efficient mortgages with a difference:
the more energy efficient the home, the more the interest rate on the
mortgage loan is reduced, up to a maximum of 1 percent.
The mortgage loan fund is capitalized with $2 million in oil overcharge
funds. Oil overcharge funds are a result of various court actions against
oil companies that overcharged their customers during the period of federal
energy price controls from 1973 to 1981.
The Lucky Few
In less than a year and with almost no marketing, the agency has financed
43 homes totaling $4.6 million with energy efficient mortgages. Another
20-30 homes are likely to be financed with the original oil overcharge
funds. “We had originally hoped to finance 300 homes with these
mortgages,” John Osterman of the Energy Office said. “We
underestimated the number of new homeowners willing to build a home that
is 30 percent above current energy codes.” Osterman said
more of the agency's funds are used when homebuyers select
the most energy efficient option.
Loan repayments from the first mortgages will allow the agency
to finance additional homes in the future. The Energy Office
projects 5-15 homes a year could be financed with the mortgages.
“Unfortunately, the number of homes financed is minuscule
compared to the 4,500 built yearly in Nebraska,” Osterman
said. “The Energy Office has proved there is a
large demand for energy efficient homes.”
The Energy Office purchases 5, 10, or 20 percent of
the permanent mortgage at no interest on qualifying homes,
based on the efficiency level the homebuyer plans to meet.
The efficiency level selected can reduce the mortgage loan rate
by 1/4, 1/2, or 1% respectively.
For more information about energy efficient mortgages, contact
John Osterman in the Energy Office.
Whether viewed as an environmental effort, a jobs creation
undertaking, housing rejuvenation, or just plain “saving
Nebraskans hard-earned dollars,” Dollar and Energy Saving
Loans will continue to generate benefits for the state and
its citizens for decades to come. Since the loan funds
“recycle,” these loans can continue to be offered
to Nebraskans forever.
15,000th Loan in 1998
The loans became available to Nebraskans in mid-1990. Since
that time, more than 13,000 projects have been financed,
92 percent of the projects in the homes of Nebraskans. To
date, more than $80 million in projects have been financed
with these low-interest loans. Each year, about 1,700 new
loans finance projects totaling $10.8 million. Of this amount,
nearly $10 million is spent on residential improvements,
making this the state's largest, albeit narrowly focused
on energy efficiency, housing rehabilitation effort.
Clean Air Effort
When viewed from an environmental standpoint, the loans may
represent the state's largest, on-going commitment to greenhouse
gas emissions reductions. Greenhouse gases carbon dioxide,
sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxides and particulates are responsible for
air pollution, acid rain, and global warming. Each year, the
improvements made with the loans account for reductions of
40,000 tons of carbon dioxide, 142,500 pounds of sulfur dioxide
and nearly one-quarter of a million pounds of nitrous oxides.
Putting some of the carbon dioxide reductions into context, in
seven years the agency's loans have resulted in the equivalent
of removing 9,516 vehicles from the state's roads.
Jobs and Money in Nebraskans’ Hands
Through June 1997, the loans have created the equivalent of
1,416 jobs, primarily among heating and cooling contractors
and remodeling industries all across the state.
The savings earned by Nebraskans who used the loans to
finance improvements in their homes came in two ways:
savings from reductions in energy use and savings from
lowered financing costs. Since 1990, the dollars saved
by Nebraskans from reduced energy use total $16.9 million
and the savings from the reduced financing costs total
Editor’s Note: This is the third
in a periodic series on energy milestones in Nebraska.
“Terrible Terry” and the Birth of Oil Refining
For more than forty years, Nebraska's only oil refinery processed
Wyoming crude oil into retail products such as gasoline and
tractor fuel for sale here and in adjacent states. The
refinery's origins were humble and based on necessity.
Legendary entrepreneur and former state senator
Terry Carpenter opened a single service station
selling cut-rate gasoline in the late 1920s in Scottsbluff.
Carpenter later expanded his operation to a chain of
fifteen stations in Nebraska and beyond.
The Scottsbluff refinery was built during the
1930s by Carpenter to supply gasoline to his stations.
Capitalizing on a nickname bestowed on him by the
Omaha World Herald, the gasoline was marketed under the
trademark, "Terrible Terry."
Competition from Co-ops
Throughout the 1930s, petroleum refining and
retailing was changing dramatically in the region. Not
only was Carpenter's operation growing, but the
consumers' cooperative movement was gaining momentum.
In 1929, six local cooperative associations in
Missouri, Kansas and Colorado decided to pool their
petroleum product orders as well as orders for other
farm supplies to obtain lower prices. With $3,000 on
hand, Consumers Cooperative Association was born.
By the end of Consumers' first year, the
Association had 22 members and sales of $309,891. In the next
ten years, Consumers grew to 259 owner-cooperatives
and produced more than 200 products.
In 1940, Consumers entered the petroleum
refinery business. The 70-mile long oil gathering pipeline
terminated at a refinery in Phillipsburg, Kansas. The
nation's first cooperatively-owned refinery used 3,500 barrels
of crude oil daily, but was inadequate to meet the needs
of Consumers' growing business.
Carpenter Sells Out
A year later, Consumers purchased the 1,500
barrel Scottsbluff refinery from Carpenter for $1 million.
Later, Consumers doubled the capacity of the refinery
and operated it until 1982, when the refinery closed.
By the 1980s the era of the small refinery had
passed, especially those located far from the oil fields.
After closing, the refinery was dismantled and
most of it moved elsewhere. However, several storage
tanks were purchased by Panhandle Co-op in Scottsbluff.
From Rags to Riches and Oil to Pigs
And what became of Consumers Cooperative
Association? In 1966, Consumers changed its name to
Farmland Industries. At its 50th anniversary in 1979,
Consumers now Farmland had become one of the
nation's largest farmer-owned cooperatives, with its pork
processing subsidiary, Farmland Foods, emerging as one of
the nation's leading meat companies.
Petroleum remains one of Farmland's major
business lines and the company is one of the state's major
petroleum product suppliers.
As the Mars Sojourner rover amply demonstrated, future success
in many areas could rest on combining low-tech with high-tech to find
the most practical and cost-effective solution.
Find Out More
Low- and high-tech could also be the future of electricity
generation for some living in rural areas.
Researchers have predicted that in a few years biomass
or renewable organic matter such as forest residues and
agricultural crops and wastes will power fuel cells that
These biomass fuel cell proponents will be at a workshop,
September 30 and October 1 at Arbor Day Lodge in Nebraska
A fuel cell is a device that converts the chemical energy of
fuel directly into electricity. The fuel cell does not burn
the fuel and does not need to produce steam. Using a fuel
cell option, steam can be produced as part of a cogeneration
system. The fuel cell uses an electro-chemical process that
causes hydrogen atoms to give up their electrons.
Fuel cells have already produced power and heat for dispersed
generation using indigenous biomass and waste-derived fuels.
These power plants can provide energy on-site while reducing
energy costs. Fuel cells also use highly efficient power
generation technology that is environmentally clean since
biomass is the “fuel.”
A Power Plant in the Heartland?
The workshop organizers' goal is to provide attendees with
the status and economics of biomass fuel cell power plant
technology and identify possible partners in building a rural biomass fuel
The Electric Power Research Institute workshop is sponsored
by the U.S. Department of Energy's Western Regional Biomass
Energy Program and Nebraska Energy Office.
For more information about the workshop, contact Jean Ku
at Energy Research Corporation, phone 203-825-6215, or
Email Jeff Graef,
in the Energy Office.
Workshop at a Glance
Perspectives from federal energy and ag agencies, ethanol and
corn producers and environmental interests
Fuel cell technology
Feedstock and rural development issues
On the farm
Domestic and foreign markets
Finding a project and supporters
The business plan
Commercializing fuel cells
What is next?
Keynote speakers and others sessions as well as meals
are also scheduled.
The Nebraska Energy Quarterly features questions
asked about 6% Dollar & Energy Saving Loans.
Loan forms may be obtained from participating lenders or the
Loans to date: 13,063 for $62.4 million
Questions and Answers...
6% Dollar & Energy Saving Loans
Why is there a special form (Form 2 Roofing)
for insulation added to the attic?
Form 2 Roofing is only used when a ceiling or attic
insulation project requires repair or replacement of a leaking
roof. Typically, adding insulation to an attic or roof does not
include roof repairs. However, it the roof leaks, the new
insulation must be protected from water damage. Form 2 Roofing
asks how that will be accomplished.
If the insulation project does not involve roof repairs, then use
standard Form 2 and describe the project on line 13.
Why is insurance information required on Form 2
If the leaks in the roof were caused by an insured casualty, such
as a hail or windstorm, and the borrower is collecting damages,
then the amount of the insurance payment must be deducted from the
loan amount. Loan funds can only be used to pay the borrower's
actual, out-of-pocket expenses.
“Whole Unit R-values” for
replacement windows or glass doors must now be listed on Form 2,
Line 7. What are these values and why are they important?
From the beginning, any double-paned window could be financed with
a Dollar and Energy Saving Loan. Many of the replacement windows were
not significantly more energy-efficient than the windows being replaced,
which undermined the purpose of the loans.
Starting January 1, 1997, replacement windows must meet a minimum
performance criterion just like insulation and heating and cooling
equipment. Since windows are assembled of several different components
(glass, sash, and frame) the insulating ability of the entire
unit, called the “R-value,” is now the measurement
standard for the loans. Some manufacturers only list the
center-of-the-glass R-value. For the borrower to receive a loan, the
“whole unit R-value” must be at least 2.5.
Windows that have a 2.5 R-value or higher represent the top 25
percent of all windows manufactured. The National Fenestration
Rating Council or NFRC has established test and certification programs
to prove the R-value of windows. The easiest way to demonstrate that a
particular window meets the minimum loan standard is to include a Council
test report or its equivalent along with the application and bid.
I'm replacing a door. Form 2, Line 14 lists minimum R-values
for doors and door systems. Do doors have R-values, too?
Yes, the National Fenestration Rating Council also tests and
certifies doors for R-values. Some pre-hung doors are sold as
a system which includes the door, frame and lites glass areas
above, beside or within the door. To be financed with a loan,
door systems must have an R-value for the entire assembly of at
least 4.0. If an insulated slab door is sold separately, it will
not have a Council rating, so the door must have an R-value of
8.0 to be financed with a loan.
Glass doors, such as sliding doors or patio doors, must meet
the whole-unit R-value of at least 2.5 on line 7, Form 2.
That's an ad most members of a state group trying to
find ways to build more affordable houses in Nebraska would like
to see. The reality, however, is quite different.
According to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund
Advisory Committee, that advertised brand-new home for a first
time buyer in Nebraska would typically cost between $80,000
and $95,000. The family buying the house would need to
earn $12.50 to $14.50 an hour to be able to afford the home.
Yet, the four fastest-growth employment sectors only paid
hourly wages of $5.61 to $12. The Committee concluded the cost
of construction of single family homes is rising faster than wages.
In August, the Wall Street Journal reported a blistering
7.6 percent rise in wages and salaries for the second quarter of
1997 in the region that includes Nebraska. But, the article
also pointed out wages in the region are generally lower than
in other states. For example, while U.S. average hourly wages
in July for manufacturing workers exceeded $12 per hour,
wages for similar workers in Nebraska were less.
Average sales prices of single family homes in the state
run even higher $105,000 to $134,000. To stay below
the recommended 30 percent gross income limit for house
and utility payments, people buying average priced homes
in Nebraska would have to earn between $18-$22 an hour.
It is the Committee's task to couple housing needs
with current and new financial resources to dramatically increase
the level of affordable housing in the state. This year, The
Legislature redirected $4 million a year for the next six years
from state tax funds to increase the availability of new
One in Four Pay More
“Affordable housing” means that homeowners pay no
more than 30 percent of their gross income for rent and utilities
for safe, sanitary and decent housing. Energy costs such as
heating, cooling, lighting, supplying water and other resources need
to be included in housing costs because of their long-term impacts.
The Advisory Committee reported that “nearly one in
four Nebraskans pay more than 30 percent of their gross income
for rent and utilities...resulting in serious housing cost burdens
for some residents...”
Not only is the cost of housing and utilities a
factor, but so are wages. If the occupant's income is less
than 80 percent of the region's median income or
middle income range, then residents may have difficulty
affording other items such as health care costs and quality
At the Governor's Housing Summit earlier this
year, the Energy Office said building an energy efficient
home costs $3,000-$4,000 more than standard construction.
However, that same home will save
30-40 percent on heating costs and 15-20 percent
on electricity bills.
Pocketing $400-$500 A Year
Using 1992-1995 average fuel prices, the savings from an
energy efficient home would be $416-$555 annually, recovering
the cost of the investment in about seven years. Using winter
1996-97 prices, the annual savings would have been higher,
Making similar improvements in an existing home
can reap nearly identical savings. An Energy Office
evaluation found that installing a 90+ percent efficient
furnace instead of an 80+ percent efficient furnace saves
an additional $64 annually using winter 1996-1997 fuel prices.
The additional cost of the more efficient furnace is only
about $400. The cost of the improvements will be recovered
in less than seven years, far less than the 20-30 years the
furnace will last.
The state's Economic Development Department is spearheading
the affordable housing effort with the Nebraska Investment
Throughout the fall and early winter, the agencies
expect to meet with Nebraskans across the state to
develop rules on how the affordable housing trust fund
will be spent.
March 1998 is the earliest projection for the funding
becoming available for specific projects.
For more information about affordable housing, contact
Hendricks at the Department of Economic Development
at 402-471-3111 or 800-426-6505.
Some Nebraskans looking for new homes have an option when
they find the house they want to purchase is just out of reach
"The Weatherization Energy Efficient Mortgage is not for
everyone," Pete Davis of the Energy Office said, "but
for a few people,
it can make a big difference. The concept behind these mortgages
is that energy saving improvements are made to the home so utility
be substantially reduced. That way, the new homeowners will have an
easier time of making the mortgage payments."
The below market rate weatherization mortgages typically
finance improvements such as attic and wall insulation, new
furnaces, caulking and weatherstripping.
Weatherization mortgages are available to only those who have
"Getting a weatherization mortgage is very simple,"
Davis said. "First, the lender verifies a person's income,
then conducts an energy audit of the home the borrower wants
to buy and finally makes recommendations on ways to reduce
For more information about weatherization mortgages, contact
Pete Davis in the Energy Office.
To save our environment, Earth Dog needs the help of some
Introduced by the Department of Energy, Earth Dog is the
name of a fun, furry, global, cartoon crusader, who educates
children about problems facing our environment and gets them
involved in creating solutions.
Earth Dog, an environmentally concerned canine, needs creative
kids to solve Earth's problems.
Enter a Contest
Students can help Earth Dog by entering a contest in which
they create new cartoon adventures.
To enter, pick an environmental problem and research it.
Explain to Earth Dog how it developed (in 250 to 700 words)
and make up a way Earth Dog can help solve the problem.
Winners can earn cash prizes, get their stories published
on the Internet and win their school Internet terminals
from Web TV, one of the contest's sponsors. Twenty winners
will be selected.
Deadline to enter the contest is November 30, 1997.
The 21-member Governors’ Ethanol Coalition opened a web
site to broaden the public's understanding of ethanol
The Coalition is bipartisan organization with representatives
from 20 states and one territory as well as Sweden and Brazil.
The group was formed by Nebraska Governor Nelson in 1991 to
increase the use of ethanol, decrease the nation's dependence
on imported energy resources, improve the environment and
stimulate the national economy.
Visitors to the web site will find a list of the gubernatorial
members, their representatives, recent publications including
the Ethanol Alert (a quarterly publication for policymakers and
advocates) , Ethanol Source (a sporadically-published,
one-pager for policymakers and journalists), reports from the
organization and others, news releases, calendar of events
and links to state, regional, national and international ethanol
In accordance with the American Disabilities Act,
the state will provide reasonable accommodation to persons
with disabilities. If you need reasonable accommodation to
participate in any program or activity listed in this
publication, please contact the Energy Office at 402-471-2186
to coordinate arrangements. Upon request, this publication
may be available in alternative formats.
This material was prepared with the support of the U.S.
Department of Energy (DOE) Grant No. DE-FG47-92CE60410.
However, any opinions, findings, conclusions, or
recommendations expressed herein are those of the author
and do not necessarily reflect the views of DOE.