Public Comments Needed by September 22nd about Holtec Proposal

Tuesday, September 22nd is the last day to submit your comments to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) about the Holtec International proposal to store all of the nation’s high-level radioactive spent fuel from commercial nuclear power plants in New Mexico.  The proposed Holtec site is located half way between Carlsbad and Hobbs, and 16 miles north of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.  Comments are needed about the draft environmental impact statement (DEIS)., scroll down to Environmental Impact Statement.  A one-page sample comment letter you can use comes from Southwest Research and Information Center and is available at here in two formats: HOLTEC DEIS sample letter 9-17-20 WORD and HOLTEC DEIS sample letter 9-17-20 PDF

To learn more about the proposal, visit the Nuclear Issues Study Group’s Facebook page to view its “We Are Not a Wasteland” web series.  Episode One is about “Unpacking Holtec’s Proposal.”

Among the major shortcoming of the proposal are that Holtec says that it wants to use the site for 120 years.  But the DEIS limits its analysis of environmental impacts to 40 years, which is clearly inadequate and not technically credible.  Since NRC has found that high-level radioactive waste can safely remain where it is for at least 120 years, that is a wiser choice for the next 40 years than packaging the waste and shipping it by rail through dozens of states – mostly in the eastern half of the nation – to New Mexico.  Since there is no permanent disposal site, it is likely that the waste at the Holtec site would never leave.

The DEIS omits discussion of Holtec’s plan to have the federal government own and pay for waste transportation which is not legal under current law.  Holtec has stated that it is lobbying Congress to change the law.  The NRC is not supposed to engage in lobbying, even though the federal agency does appear to support such a change in the law by encouraging the Holtec plan.

Because Holtec wanted NRC to hurry and issue a license to operate the facility, the NRC did not keep its promise to hold five in-person meetings in New Mexico.  Instead, it held inadequate and technologically challenged virtual meetings.

New Mexico Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich wrote to NRC stating, “[t]here is no compelling public interest reason to justify this rush to replace meetings with virtual webinars, and this decision gives the Commission the appearance of valuing the preferences of a for-profit company looking to store highly dangerous nuclear waste over that of the public and their elected representatives.”

New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham opposes the Holtec project because it “poses significant and unacceptable risks to New Mexicans, our environment and our economy.”  NM Governor Holtec Ltr 060719

  1. TONIGHT Thursday, September 17, 2020 at 6 pm MDT – YOU’RE INVITED to an online ZOOM letter-writing party to HALT HOLTEC! Grab a drink and snacks and join us!  We’ll show you an easy way to take action. Together we can prevent environmental injustice and protect our health and safety!  And say hello to friends along the way. The link is

Looking forward to seeing you!  Karen Hadden

SEED Coalition

For more information at


  1. Tuesday, September 22nd – Public Comments are due to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) about the proposed Holtec facility for ALL the nuclear plutonium fuel rods from nuclear power plants in the U.S. The proposed facility is located 16 miles north of the WIPP site, east of Carlsbad, NM.   Sample public comment letter at  Email your comments to:

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  • Please do not allow this…The permian basin would-be ruined if there is a leak. We must ( our county) be self sufficient. Yes, more ways are on the horizon for power but a back up plan is ALWAYS necessary for our country to remain strong and self sufficient.

    Enemies could bomb that area and a waste land would follow.
    It’s obvious that there are world powers who want us out of the way.
    Please, please don’t allow this.
    America must be secure for the generations to come.
    Thank You

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