The draft statement includes the NRC staff’s preliminary recommendation that there are no environmental impacts that would preclude the NRC from issuing a license for environmental reasons.
Holtec International is planning to build a subterranean fuel storage facility called Hi-Store in southeastern New Mexico.
Holtec International and its partner, the Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance (ELEA), decided to establish the facility on land owned by ELEA in 2015.
Holtec said Hi-Store will provide a significant step on the path to the federal government’s long-standing obligation for disposition of used nuclear fuel by providing a centralised facility for storage of used nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste until such time that a permanent solution is available.
The initial application for the Hi-Store facility includes storage of up to 8,680 tonnes of uranium in commercial used fuel (500 canisters) with future amendments for up to 10,000 storage canisters total.
Holtec said the US has more than 80,000 tonnes of used nuclear fuel in storage and more is being generated at a rate of 2,000 tonnes a year.