The Holtec U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) nuclear regulatory panel has spoken. None of the contentions by any of the intervenors was admitted. Not even a pretense of allowing public participation. No one — Sierra Club, Beyond Nuclear, Fasken, AFES, transportation intervenors — was allowed any contentions.
Atomic Safety and Licensing Board winks at acknowledged violations of federal law
TAKOMA PARK, MD and Southeastern NM —
In an astounding ruling today, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) acknowledged that an application by Holtec International/Eddy-Lea [Counties] Energy Alliance to store 173,600 metric tons of highly radioactive irradiated nuclear fuel in southeastern New Mexico violates federal law, but nevertheless dismissed Beyond Nuclear’s legal challenge on the ground that Holtec could be depended on not to implement the unlawful provision if the license were granted.
Sierra Club press release: Federal nuclear regulatory panel rejects all objections to proposed New Mexico nuclear dump
Federal nuclear regulatory panel rejects all objections to proposed New Mexico nuclear dump
On Tuesday, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced that its Atomic Safety and Licensing Board had rejected every objection made by intervenors challenging Holtec International’s application to build a storage facility for high-level nuclear waste in southeast New Mexico.
Among the requests the panel refused to consider was the objection raised by Sierra Club that U.S. law clearly prohibits nuclear waste being moved to interim facilities before a permanent storage site has been identified. No such permanent sites exist in the U.S.
“This ‘interim’ storage facility could well become a permanent repository without the protections of a permanent repository,” Sierra Club attorney Wally Taylor said in response to Tuesday’s ruling. “Now it is up to the people and public officials in New Mexico to protect New Mexicans from this boondoggle.”
BY SCOTT TURNER / JOURNAL STAFF WRITER
Opponents of a proposed interim nuclear fuel storage facility in southeast New Mexico are vowing to appeal a Nuclear Regulatory Commission board decision Tuesday that denied them an evidentiary hearing.
The NRC Atomic Safety and Licensing Board denied requests by several petitioners to conduct a hearing challenging Holtec International’s license application to construct and operate a consolidated interim storage facility for spent nuclear fuel in Lea County.
“This decision is a perfect example and a lesson for the citizens of New Mexico and the United States of how the NRC process is shamelessly designed to prevent the public from participating,” Sierra Club attorney Wally Taylor said in a news release.
The three-judge board held oral arguments in Albuquerque in January on the standing of the various petitioners and the admissibility of their proposed contentions under NRC regulations.
While the judges agreed that some of the six petitioners met the qualifications for standing, they concluded the nearly 50 contentions raised were not admissible for an evidentiary hearing.