Holtec one step closer to nuclear waste facility license - Albuquerque Journal

Holtec one step closer to nuclear waste facility license

A rendering of the first phase of Holtec International’s proposed consolidated interim storage facility for spent nuclear fuel in southeast New Mexico. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission released a final environmental assessment for the facility on Wednesday. (Courtesy of Holtec International)

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is one step closer to issuing a license to Holtec International for an interim nuclear waste storage facility on private land between Carlsbad and Hobbs.

The agency released a final environmental assessment Wednesday that says the project’s first phase would have minimal impacts on land, oil and gas and livestock operations and public health. 

Holtec is planning an initial $230 million facility under a 40-year license to store spent nuclear fuel in 500 stainless-steel canisters. 

The NRC recommends issuing a license to Holtec based on the environmental review.

Even if an accident happened during transit of the waste, releases of spent nuclear fuel “would not be expected” from the proposed shipments, according to the assessment. 

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management cooperated on the review.

Southeast New Mexico officials praised the announcement as a boon for the region’s energy industry.

“Holtec has been a true partner on this important project, and we look forward to continuing to work together to bring jobs and economic growth to the area,” said Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway.

But Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has strong objections to the facility.

Lujan Grisham accused the NRC of “choosing profit over public interest.” 

“The NRC has unilaterally decided to house the nation’s spent nuclear fuel in New Mexico, despite the fact that our state has not one nuclear power plant within its borders,” she said.

New Mexico is suing the NRC over the project. 

The state alleges that the federal agency is rushing the approval process.  

The U.S. has yet to approve or build a permanent site for the nation’s nuclear waste. 

Holtec would ship waste by rail from nuclear power plants to the 1,000-acre New Mexico site.

The first phase could store up to 8,680 metric tons of uranium. 

A full buildout would cost $2.4 billion and store up to 10,000 canisters.

Texas is also opposed to an interim storage facility in that state.

A bill that failed to pass the state legislature this year would have prevented New Mexico regulators from issuing Holtec permits for industrial wastewater and construction even if the NRC approved the license. 

Lujan Grisham said that New Mexico will not become a nuclear waste “dumping ground.” 

“My message to the state Legislature is clear: deliver a proposal to my desk that protects New Mexico from becoming the de facto home of the country’s spent nuclear fuel and it will have my full support,” the governor said. 

Home » ABQnews Seeker » Holtec one step closer to nuclear waste facility license


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
Apple warns of security flaw for iPhones, iPads and ...
ABQnews Seeker
Apple disclosed serious security vulnerabilities for ... Apple disclosed serious security vulnerabilities for iPhones, iPads and Macs that could potentially allow attackers to take complete control of these devices. Apple released ...
2
APS' continuing issues with HVAC cause health concerns
ABQnews Seeker
District says it has 385 open ... District says it has 385 open work orders related to air-conditioning
3
NM reporter's rally ejection ignites controversy over press access
ABQnews Seeker
Ronchetti campaign claims journalist's publication is ... Ronchetti campaign claims journalist's publication is a left-wing advocacy company
4
Nonprofit helping vets expands to a new location
ABQnews Seeker
Heroes Walk Among Us aims to ... Heroes Walk Among Us aims to get veterans back on their feet
5
Former nonprofit treasurer pleads guilty to embezzlement
ABQnews Seeker
Michelle Luna sentenced to probation, ordered ... Michelle Luna sentenced to probation, ordered to pay restitution to West Central Community Development Group
6
Navajo Nation Council spokesman arrested after relative hurt
ABQnews Seeker
The communications director for the Navajo ... The communications director for the Navajo Nation Council has been arrested for allegedly injuring a relative at his Gallup home, the Gallup Independent reported. ...
7
BlueHalo opens new manufacturing facility in ABQ
ABQnews Seeker
State-of-the-art space will focus on directed ... State-of-the-art space will focus on directed energy and space technology
8
Forest Service reseeding burn scar
ABQnews Seeker
More than 180,000 acres have suffered ... More than 180,000 acres have suffered damage
9
Santa Fe lawyer ordered to appear in Georgia probe
ABQnews Seeker
John Eastman subpoenaed by grand jury ... John Eastman subpoenaed by grand jury investigating 2020 election interference