A company specializing in nuclear waste storage wants to build a new disposal site on cattle grazing land some 35 miles east of Carlsbad.
Holtec International, whose corporate offices are based in Camden, New Jersey, says the project is intended as an interim storage site for the nation’s spent fuel, and is hoping to secure a 40-year lease from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to make the facility a reality.
According to documents filed with that commission, Holtec would store just under 8,700 tons of spent fuel received from nuclear reactors around the country.
That waste would be stored in an initial 500 specially-built underground canisters.
Although Holtec has emphasized the temporary nature of the facility, the site, according to sources, could eventually contain as many as 10,000 canisters storing around 120,000 tons of spent nuclear fuel.
The project has won the backing of New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, but is opposed by various environmental and watch dog groups concerned about the transportation of the spent fuels to the site, as well as potential leaks at the facility itself.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has conducted several public input meetings in southeast New Mexico regarding Holtec’s application, with plans to end its public comment period on May 31.
By Garry Boulard
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