Concerns over reactor refueling in Saratoga County

News

People in Saratoga County can expect road closures and delays as a naval training site refuels its nuclear reactor this week.  


The first shipment of radioactive material has arrived in Ballston Spa by rail. At the end of the week, a heavy hauler will transport it to the Navy Kesselring site at a speed of just 5 mph

 
Long unused train tracks on Eastern Street have been refurbished to accommodate heavy loads of equipment and nuclear fuel.

 

“Sometimes things happen and sometimes things go wrong,” said father of four Troy Helmer. He’s worried about radioactive material rolling through his residential neighborhood.


“The school is less than a quarter of a mile that way so you have elementary kids in the area,” he said.


It’s all part of a refueling process at the nearby Kesselring site. On this classified government property, naval students study nuclear-powered submarines. The first of six shipments has arrived in Ballston Spa. Soon, it will be carefully transported by truck to the Milton site then spent nuclear fuel will be trucked out. A spokesperson for Kesselring says the Navy has done this process more than 400 times without a hitch. Still, Helmer wishes the public had a say in the matter.


“Have a vote on whether this should go through here, are there other resources or areas it could go through,” he said.


Ballston officials and the Kesselring spokesman say they’ve kept the neighbors informed. Plenty of locals tell News10 ABC they trust the Navy and aren’t fazed by it. But for others, like Gary Colson who lives right down the road from the site, the fear factor remains.


“What if it spills out and you know, contaminates the ground and stuff, our drinking water? That’s a big concern,” he said.

The container will be trucked to the Milton site Thursday or Friday at 9AM and should take two to three hours. There will be road closures and delays. The shipments will continue through 2019.

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