Licensing board denies reopening Holtec CISF license proceeding

September 8, 2020, 8:07AMRadwaste Solutions

A licensing board of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued an order last week denying calls to reopen proceedings against Holtec International’s application to construct and operate a consolidated interim storage site for used nuclear fuel in southeastern New Mexico.

Fasken Land and Minerals, an oil and gas company based in Midland, Texas, along with Permian Basin Land and Royalty Owners, an association of oil and gas producers and royalty owners (collectively called Fasken), filed motions with the NRC Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) seeking to reopen the record and submit an amended late contention against Holtec’s license application.

The details: In denying the motion to reopen the case, the ASLB said that Fasken failed to carry the “intentionally heavy burden on parties seeking to reopen the record.” The ASLB likewise said that Fasken failed to convince the board that its latest contention, that the ownership of mineral rights beneath the proposed site “is based on new, previously unavailable information that differs materially from information that was previously available.”

Background: Holtec submitted its application to the NRC for the interim storage facility on March 30, 2017, and the ASLB was established in 2018 to hear petitions against the application that were filed by Fasken and other organizations, including the Sierra Club, Beyond Nuclear, and Nuclear Energy Information Service, among others.

In May 2019, the ASLB denied all hearing requests by the petitioners. That order was affirmed, for the most part, earlier this year by the NRC commissioners, which sent four contentions filed by the Sierra Club back to the ASLB for further consideration, along with Fasken’s latest contention. In June, the ASLB ruled that Sierra Club’s remanded contentions were not admissible.

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