Centralized Storage

With the scientifically unsound proposed Yucca Mountain radioactive waste dump now canceled, the danger of "interim" storage threatens. This means that radioactive waste could be "temporarily" parked in open air lots, vulnerable to accident and attack, while a new repository site is sought.


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U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland expresses opposition to Holtec CISF in NM

See her letter to the U.S. Energy Secretary and U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman, here.

U.S. Representative Deb Haaland (Democrat-New Mexico-1st District) is one of the first two Native American women ever elected to the U.S. Congress, on Election Day in November 2018.

Rep. Haaland's letter came on the same day as New Mexico State Land Commissioner expressed her opposition to Holtec International, against the proposed consolidated interim storage facility (CISF) for highly radioactive irradiated nuclear fuel.

And on June 7th, NM's governor also wrote the Department of Energy and NRC, clearly communicating that the state does not consent to becoming the country's de facto permanent surface storage site for high-level radioactive waste.


New Mexico Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard: Holtec Int’l Misrepresentations Raise Serious Safety Concerns for Proposed Nuclear Storage Facility


June 19, 2019


Angie Poss, Assistant Commissioner of Communications


Commissioner Garcia Richard: Holtec Int’l Misrepresentations Raise Serious Safety Concerns for Proposed Nuclear Storage Facility

No Restrictions on Oil, Gas and Mining Activities At Proposed Site

SANTA FE, NM – Today Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard sent the attached letter to Holtec International President and CEO, Krishna Singh. The letter outlines a number of concerns regarding Holtec’s proposal for a nuclear storage facility in Lea County - specifically safety concerns that have not been addressed and misrepresentations made by the company in its filings with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The surface and mineral estate are split in ownership at the proposed location, with the Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance, LLC owning the surface land and the State Land Office owning the mineral estate.

The proposed nuclear storage site is located in the middle of the Permian Basin, one of the world’s most productive oil and gas regions.  Nearly 2,500 oil, gas, and mineral wells or sites are operated by 54 different businesses or entities within a 10 mile radius of the proposed site. Locating an interim nuclear storage site above active oil, gas, and mining operations raises serious safety concerns.

Holtec has falsely claimed to have secured agreements from oil and gas operators at or around the site to restrict these activities, specifically assuring the NRC that oil and gas drilling will only occur at depths greater than 5,000 feet.  However, there are no such agreements containing these restrictions in place with oil and gas lessees at the site or the State Land Office.  One agreement has been made with Intrepid Mining, LLC, a potash mining company, but that agreement has not been approved, as required by lease terms, by the State Land Office. 

Given the State Land Office’s mineral ownership of the land and the lack of restrictions on mineral development at the site, any claim that activities at the site have been restricted is incorrect. Holtec’s submissions to the NRC, including the company’s Facility Environmental Report and Safety Analysis Report, include statements that have the potential, intended or not, to mislead federal regulators as they consider the safety implications of the proposal. 

Commissioner Garcia Richard released the following statement regarding the letter and the Holtec proposal:

“This is not the right site for high-level nuclear storage. Holtec has only provided bits and pieces of information, and what they have provided has been incomplete and at times misleading. We are talking about storing over 120,000 metric tons of nuclear waste in an extremely active oil field without a clear picture of the potential hazards of that combination. For example, I’m not aware of any studies demonstrating the safety of fracking beneath a nuclear storage site. There is no guarantee that high-level nuclear waste can be safely transported to and through New Mexico. There is no guarantee that there won’t be a hazardous interaction between the storage site and nearby oil, gas, and mining activities. There is no guarantee that this site will truly be ‘interim’ and won’t become the permanent dumping ground for our nation’s nuclear waste. I understand that we need to find a storage solution, but not in the middle of an active oil field, not from a company that is misrepresenting facts and unwilling to answer questions, not on our state trust lands.”


Three-judge panel of U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia grants NRC's motion, dismisses Beyond Nuclear's appeal against CISFs -- FOR NOW...

See the three-judge panel's ORDER, here.

In essence, the court has deferred to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), for the time being.

What this means is, both the Holtec, NM, and the Waste Control Specialists, TX, consolidated interim storage facility (CISF) licensing proceedings must run their entire course at NRC, before the court will recognize that all administrative remedies have been exhausted.

Beyond Nuclear will pursue its legal objections in those NRC licensing proceedings. But as soon as final licensing decisions have been made at NRC, Beyond Nuclear will renew its appeals in the federal courts.


Spent Fuel Storage in New Mexico ‘Unacceptable,’ Governor Says


" can't have economic activity in a radioactive dead zone."

As reported by InsideSources, in an article entitled "Opposition Grows to New Mexico High-Level Nuclear Waste Site."

The article quotes Beyond Nuclear:

Kevin Kamps, radioactive waste specialist at Beyond Nuclear, a nonprofit group that has been one of the leaders in the fight against the site, said environmental groups have partnered with oil and gas companies and agricultural businesspeople — who are in opposition to the Holtec proposal — “because you can’t have economic activity in a radioactive dead zone.”

“Our major concern is that it could become de facto permanent surface storage,” Kamps told Inside Sources. “There is no guarantee that Yucca Mountain will ever open. So New Mexico could be stuck with this waste forever.”

Both Kamps and the governor said since there is no permanent site, over time it is likely the casks holding SNF will lose integrity and require repackaging.