Opinion: Not all of New Mexico is against nuclear

February 11, 2022, 6:49AMANS Nuclear Cafe

The way in which some New Mexico lawmakers are ganging up against Holtec International’s plans to build a consolidated interim storage site for spent nuclear fuel makes it seem that everyone in the state is against the project, no matter that the benefits would far outweigh any risks.

But, as a recent editorial in the Albuquerque Journal illustrates, the communities of southeastern New Mexico, where the facility would be located, are firmly behind the project. They are, after all, well versed in nuclear technology and cognizant of the economic and social benefits it would bring.

New Mexico lawmakers push bills to thwart spent fuel storage in state

February 8, 2022, 9:30AMRadwaste Solutions
A rendering of Holtec International's interim spent fuel repository. (Image: Holtec International)

An article published on the Carlsbad Current-Argus news site on February 5 presents the wide gap between lawmakers in New Mexico on either side of the issue of temporary storage of spent nuclear fuel in the state.

The article noted that two identical bills—Senate Bill 54 and House Bill 127, which advanced in legislative committees last week—would block a spent fuel storage facility in New Mexico by prohibiting state agencies from issuing permits for such a facility.

New Mexico denies authorization extension for WIPP utility shaft

November 30, 2020, 3:00PMRadwaste Solutions

Construction of a new utility shaft at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant transuranic waste repository may be put on hold after the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) denied a request by the Department of Energy and its contractor to extend state authorization of the project. The shaft is part of WIPP’s Safety Significant Confinement Ventilation System, a $300-million project intended to allow simultaneous mining and waste emplacement activities in the geologic repository by increasing ventilation to the underground.

The NMED in April 2020 approved a request by the DOE and WIPP operator Nuclear Waste Partnership (NWP) for temporary authorization to begin construction of the utility shaft while the state reviews a modification to WIPP’s permit allowing the addition to the repository. That authorization expired on October 24, and the DOE and NWP asked for an extension of the authorization for an additional 180 days while the permit modification process continues.

Uranium mining settlement could fund new cleanup industry

October 29, 2020, 7:24AMANS Nuclear Cafe

The Santa Fe New Mexican, in its October 24 edition, reported on a study by the University of New Mexico’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research that found that the state could use money from a nearly $1- billion federal mining settlement to create a new industry around the cleanup of abandoned uranium mines in the Southwest.