Public comment is being sought for a proposed environmental impact statement (EIS) for Holtec International’s application for a license to construct and operate a consolidated spent nuclear fuel storage facility in Lea County, NM.

The draft report from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) found the environmental impacts of the project would not preclude granting Holtec a license.

Holtec proposes to store 500 canisters holding approximately 8,680 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel and eventually to store up to 10,000 canisters. The canisters would be transported by rail from operating decommissioning, and decommissioned commercial nuclear power plants around the country.

The NRC’s EIS assesses the environmental impacts of the entire project, from construction to decommissioning.

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The report looked at the impacts to land use, transportation, geology and soils, surface waters and wetlands, groundwater, ecological resources, historic and cultural resources, environmental justice and several other areas.

NRC staff is planning several public meetings in New Mexico during the comment period. Dates and venues for those meetings will be included in a separate Federal Register notice and on the NRC’s Public Meetings webpage.

NRC staff will review the public comments and prepare the final EIS. That document is scheduled to be published in March 2021. A parallel technical safety review of the application is scheduled to be completed with a Safety Evaluation Report to be published also in March 2021. A decision on whether to grant the license would follow thereafter.

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