Democrat New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and New Mexico Attorney General Raúl Torrez issued a joint statement angered over the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) decision to grant a license to Holtec International for an interim storage facility for spent nuclear fuel located on land in Eddy and Lea Counties in New Mexico’s extreme southeastern corner.
“This decision by the NRC – which has been made despite the grave concerns of the state and the legislature over the project’s potential impacts to health, safety and the economy – is incredibly disappointing,” the two Democrats said.
“It also undermines the NRC’s alleged commitment to meaningful engagement with stakeholders, as it appears our concerns were wholly ignored and went unaddressed by Holtec and the NRC,” they wrote, despite the lengthy process Holtec took to receive approvals and work with state and local stakeholders.
The two politicians claimed they “will not stop our fight,” claiming the new interim facility would turn the state into a “nuclear dumping ground.” The project previously got a positive environmental impact statement from the NRC.
These safe fuel rods, housed in secure casks, would be transported by rail to the facility on train shipments specifically for storage. The project would account for over 350 new jobs.
The casks are immune to hurricanes, floods, tornados, earthquakes, and even the impact of a plane crash. There would be no adverse effect on wildlife nor on groundwater, no radiological consequences in the event of a fire, and an inconspicuous design.
“Earlier this year, the state Legislature passed and the governor signed Senate Bill 53, which will impose new, more robust state licensing requirements for this project before any construction may begin. In the meantime, we are evaluating available legal recourse and will take any action necessary to make sure that ground is never broken on this ‘interim’ facility in New Mexico,” the two Democrats’ offices wrote in the joint statement.
It is immediately unclear what “actions” the politicians seek to take, which would be bucking federal regulatory agencies — something they do not have the power to regulate.