Saratoga Co. train tracks being updated for future transport of radioactive materials

BALLSTON SPA, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A community is concerned that something could go wrong when radioactive materials are transported through their neighborhood in the near future.

A spokesperson for the Kenneth Kesselring Site said crews started working on the train tracks on Eastern Avenue on Saturday. They’re being updated so they can accommodate heavy shipments that will include some radioactive materials.

“We had heard some things that there was transport of materials, etc.,” Joe Acee said. “I kind of lost track of that through the years.”

In the 10 years since Acee and his wife, Lori, have lived on Eastern Avenue, they’ve always seen the train tracks, but they’ve never seen them in use.

“I’ve seen repair work, but I’ve never seen a train actually go over the tracks,” Lori said.

But that will change in 2018 with a project at the Kesselring site in West Milton. The research facility is where U.S. naval nuclear operators get hands-on training. It’s also home to two nuclear reactors.

The site, however, is in need of an overhaul. To do that, it will be transporting equipment by the railroad through the Acee’s neighborhood and then by trailers.

Some will contain radioactive materials.

“You don’t want anything bad to happen,” Joe said. “It obviously could be a health hazard for the village.”

Lori isn’t as worried after reading a letter from the village.

“It seemed like they were taking some, you know, thorough steps to make sure that it was a very safe procedure,” she said.

The spokesperson for Kesselring said the shipments are done safely, and the site has never had any injuries or leaks. Local first responders are also prepared.

The director for Saratoga County Emergency Services said they’ve been working with them and the site. He’s confident the transports will go as planned.

Joe hopes so, too.

“That kind of material, they have to put it somewhere and it has to be transported, so it’s just unfortunate it had to be in our town,” he said.

The work on the rail tracks is expected to be done by January. Shipments on the tracks to and from Kesselring will happen from Spring 2018 to Summer 2020.

There will be 12 shipments in total.

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