Senators and Citizens Protest NRC Failure to Meet Its Public Meeting Commitments for Holtec Comments

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is processing the license application for Holtec’s proposed Consolidated Interim Storage Facility.  Holtec, a for-profit corporation, proposes building a facility for all of the nation’s commercial high-level irradiated nuclear fuel in Lea County 16 miles north of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.  Before the pandemic, the NRC had committed to receiving pubic comments on the draft Environmental Impact Statement for the facility at five in-person meetings held around the state.  Now, with the need for social distancing, the NRC plans to replace in-person meetings with four public online webinars, scheduled for August 20th, NRC 8-20-20 Holtec Hrg, which is behind us, as well as on Tuesday and Wednesday, August 25th NRC 8-25-20 HOLTEC HRG and 26th NRC 8-26-20 HOLTEC HRG and Wednesday, September 2nd NRC 9-2-20 HOLTEC HRG.  NRC also will not extend the comment period beyond the current date of Tuesday, September 22nd.

Both the New Mexico Senators and the public have registered opposition to replacing in-person hearings with webinars.  A coalition of citizens’ groups urges individuals who make comments at the NRC webinars to say, “I’m making these comments under protest because the comment period should be extended until after the Public Health Emergency ends; the hearings must occur in-person at site locations in New Mexico; and the New Mexico’s Congressional Delegation or staff be included to verify the validity of the hearing format.”  Those who wish to protest might also say, “Every state in the nation has clearly said ‘no’ to hosting a storage site for this waste.  The People of New Mexico also say ‘no.’”

In a joint letter to the NRC dated August 18th, Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, say, “The health and safety of New Mexicans as well as their ability to participate in a process that will ultimately impact them is much greater than the needs of any corporation seeking to have expeditious closure on its application.”  The Senators observe, “[T]here are no legal or statutory deadlines requiring the Commission to rush to complete this review by any certain time.”  UDALL & HEINRICH – NRC Virtual Meetings – (8-18-20)

The Senators go on to argue that, “[T]his 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.”

Finally, the Senators ask the Commission to delay their decision on the license application, “[U]ntil such time as the pandemic is under control enough that the Commission is able to safely and effectively live up to its commitment of in-person meetings in New Mexico.”

1.  Fri. Aug. 21st through Th. Aug. 27th at 6 pm MDT – free screenings of the newly restored “Dark Circle,” created 40 years ago.


It is a “terrifying and moving documentary about the catastrophic power of nuclear energy” and the manufacture of nuclear weapons at the Rocky Flats Plant, west of Denver, Colorado.  Directed by Judy Irving, Chris Beaver and Ruth Landy.  Don’t miss this opportunity to view this important documentary.  Is this what LANL is, or could become with the proposed increase in plutonium pit production?


2.  Wed. August 26th – 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment that ensured the right to vote could not be denied based on gender.

To view the Proclamation in its entirety, click Proclamation Women’s Suffrage Month August 2020

To celebrate, check out the following events:


Sun. Aug. 23 at 2 pm sharp:  A Car Parade in Santa Fe – Meet in PERA parking lot across from Capitol. Proceed north on Santa Fe Trail toward Plaza. Take right on San Francisco, left on Cathedral Place, left on Palace, right on Lincoln past City Hall, left at Federal Court Building, left on Grant Avenue passing Santa Fe County Administrative Complex on the right and Nina Otero Warren’s House at 135 Grant. Honk twice and then return to the PERA parking lot.


Tues. Aug. 18 – Wed. Aug. 26:  100 Years Celebration – Centennial Online Event Honoring Women’s Right to Vote, a week-long virtual celebration.  The event, sponsored by the State of New Mexico, the City of Albuquerque, and the NM League of Women Voters, will feature a multitude of virtual activities and entertainment including poetry, music, photos, and history about women, by women.  The program will be broadcast on GOV-TV (Channel 16) and ABQ Special Events will broadcast the event on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. You’ll be introduced to a Suffragist daily throughout the celebrations and be able to play games while learning about the Women’s Suffrage Movement.


3.  Sun. Aug. 30th – deadline to submit your origami crane with a Message of Peace to the National Park Service. The cranes will be placed into a time capsule and opened in 2045 – the 100th year since the first atomic bombings.


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