NRC Holds Holtec Hearing in Albuquerque on January 23rd for the World’s Largest Proposed Radioactive Waste Dump


  • New Hearing Location: State Bar of New Mexico
  • A call-in number to listen to the hearing
  • Tuesday, Jan. 22 at 3:30 pm Press Conference at State Bar

Next Wednesday, the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) will hold a pre-hearing about the standing and sufficiency of the hearing requests made by the Parties challenging Holtec International’s application for a consolidated interim storage facility for commercial high-level radioactive waste in southeast New Mexico.

Listen-only, call-in numbers have been provided by the ASLB, so those unable to attend in person can still take in the proceedings:  the telephone number is 1-888-790-1895, and the passcode is 5046496.

The proposed dump would be the world’s largest.  It would be 2.5 times larger than the proposed Yucca Mountain dump in Nevada; and four times larger than the proposed Private Fuel Storage facility at Skull Valley in Utah.

The public hearing will begin at 9 am on Wednesday, January 23rd, and, will continue as necessary, on Thursday, January 24th.  Because of the government shutdown, the hearing will be held at a new location – at the State Bar of New Mexico, 5121 Masthead Street, Northeast, in Albuquerque.

Although no opportunity for public comment will be provided, please attend to support those challenging the license application.

The Parties challenging the application include environmental and environmental justice organizations from California, Illinois, Michigan, New Mexico, New York, Texas, and Washington, DC.  Together the groups filed over 40 objections, or contentions, in NRC speak.  The objections include challenging the NRC for illegally considering the license application.  A summary of proceedings is available at

Beyond Nuclear, a Washington, DC non-governmental organization, and other Parties argue that the federal Nuclear Waste Policy Act does not allow the U.S. Department of Energy to take title, or ownership, to the waste at a privately owned and operated interim storage facility, such as Holtec.  This is only allowed at a permanent repository, which is not available.

The Board will hear oral argument from the attorneys for the Parties.  The Board has established the following order:  counsel for Beyond Nuclear ; counsel for the Sierra Club ;  counsel for Alliance for Environmental Strategies ; counsel for seven groups:  Don’t Waste Michigan , Citizens’ Environmental Coalition , Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination , Nuclear Energy Information Service , Public Citizen, Inc. , San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace , and Albuquerque-based Nuclear Issues Study Group ; counsel for NAC International, Inc., a direct competitor of Holtec ; counsel for Fasken Land and Minerals, and Permian Basin Land and Royalty Owners; counsel for Holtec International ; and counsel for the NRC Staff.

The afternoon before the hearing, on Tuesday, January 22nd, beginning at 3:30 pm, representatives from the groups and their attorneys will hold a press conference at the State Bar of New Mexico.  The public is invited to attend.

Speakers from New Mexico include Rose Gardner and Noel Marquez, of the Alliance for Environmental Strategies, and their lawyer, Nancy Simmons.  Leona Morgan, of the Nuclear Issues Study Group, based in Albuquerque, which is part of a seven-group coalition, will speak along with the coalition’s lawyer, Terry Lodge, of Toledo, Ohio.

Other speakers include lawyers Diane Curran and Mindy Goldstein, who are representing Beyond Nuclear; and Wally Taylor, representing the Sierra Club’s Nuclear-Free Campaign.

The proposed Holtec site is located half way between Carlsbad and Hobbs, along U.S. 62/180, 15 miles north of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.

If approved, barges, trains, and trucks would transport high-level radioactive waste from commercial nuclear power reactors across the country to converge in southeast NM.  Transportation maps are available at:

The Board reserved time for comments from a representative of each of the following local government petitioners who support the dump:  Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance ; the City of Carlsbad ; Lea County ; Eddy County ; and the City of Hobbs .

…how to participate in the 60-day New Mexico Legislature?

1.  CCNS recommends that you become familiar with the New Mexico legislature website at
You can find the names and contact information for your legislators.  Please contact them about your concerns and recommendations about pending bills.
You can learn about when the House and Senate will reconvene.

You can read the House and Senate agendas for each day and watch the committee hearings.

2.  There are a number of groups providing information about the legislative session.  You can sign up for alerts.
Conservation Voters New Mexico at

Retake Our Democracy at
Please let us know if you have recommendations for other groups – we’ll post them next week.



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