There are two ways to look at the proposal to license an interim storage facility in southeast New Mexico for the nation’s spent nuclear fuel from power plants:
• New Mexico, a poor minority-majority state, is once again destined to be the dumping ground for dangerous items no other state will take, and those items will be vulnerable to train wrecks, container leaks and terrorist attacks.
• Or New Mexico, a state with a high level of nuclear expertise and experience, is once again partnering with a company that has a decadeslong track record in the industry and is a leader when it comes to safety and security.
After five public meetings in recent weeks regarding the Holtec International plan for a new $2.4 billion underground storage site halfway between Hobbs and Carlsbad, there’s no reason to not go firmly with the latter.
The region from just east of Carlsbad north toward Hobbs and south to Eunice is known informally as the nuclear triangle for a reason. There’s the WIPP storage facility, the $4 billion Urenco USA uranium enrichment plant, as well as a planned spent-fuel storage facility run by Waste Control Specialists and French firm AREVA Inc. just across the Texas state line.