NRC pushes back safety review of Holtec’s interim storage site

March 30, 2021, 12:00PMRadwaste Solutions

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has delayed the release of a safety report for Holtec International’s HI-STORE consolidated interim storage facility proposed for New Mexico, claiming it needs additional information to complete its review of the license application. The NRC previously said it would complete its safety review and publish a safety evaluation report for the spent fuel storage facility by May.

In a letter to Holtec licensing manager Kimberly Manzione, made public on March 29, the NRC said that its staff has identified a number of outstanding requests it made to the company for additional information that remain unanswered or incomplete. Without the information, the NRC said, its staff is unable to complete a full safety and security review. The NRC said that it will send Holtec another set of questions regarding the facility within the month and will issue a revised schedule for its safety review after it receives and processes the company’s responses.

The safety review is one of two analyses (along with the environmental review) the NRC conducts in licensing nuclear facilities. The NRC released a draft environmental impact statement for the HI-STORE facility in March of last year, and a final EIS is currently scheduled to be published by this July. Holtec first submitted an application to build and operate the HI-STORE facility in March 2017.

Remaining safety issues: In its letter to Holtec, the NRC identified the following areas that it said requires “the most substantive supplementation”: 1) analyses and calculations of soil bearing capacity and soil settlement; 2) site flooding hazards analyses; 3) analysis of aircraft crash hazards; 4) building design specifications and hazards analyses for the proposed Canister Transfer Building structure and foundation; and 5) clarifications to the site’s shielding, thermal, and aging management analyses.

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