More time sought for public input on nuclear fuel proposal


FILE – In this April 29, 2015, file photo, an illustration depicts a planned interim storage facility for spent nuclear fuel in southeastern New Mexico as officials announce plans to pursue the project during a news conference at the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History in Albuquerque, N.M. Federal regulators are recommending licensing a proposed multibillion-dollar complex in southern New Mexico that would temporarily store spent fuel from commercial nuclear reactors around the United States. But the preliminary recommendation of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is making waves with critics who say the agency did not look closely enough at potential conflicts with locating the facility in the heart of one of the nation’s busiest oil and gas basins. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan, File)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – Members of New Mexico’s congressional delegation are requesting that federal regulators extend the public comment period for an environmental review related to a multibillion-dollar complex that would store spent nuclear fuel from commercial power plants around the United States.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission recently issued a preliminary recommendation, favoring approval of a license for Holtec International to build the facility in southeastern New Mexico.

The comment period is set at 60 days, but the New Mexico congressional leaders say that should be extended and any public meetings delayed given the health emergency that has resulted from the new coronavirus.

“The proposal to store high-level nuclear waste has prompted a great deal of public interest across New Mexico,” they wrote in a letter sent Friday to the commission chairman. “The concerns are driven in part by the prospect that any temporary storage facility will remain in the state indefinitely while a pathway for permanent disposal for high-level radioactive waste is identified.”

It wasn’t immediately clear if the commission would entertain the request, as the federal government is moving ahead with numerous rule-makings and comment periods involving other government projects.


Scroll to top