A recent editorial from the Albuquerque Journal’s editorial board ripped opponents of Holtec International’s safe temporary spent fuel storage facility a new one.
This week, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) granted a license to Holtec International for the multi-billion-dollar interim storage facility in Eddy and Lea Counties.
Democrat politicians whined and bellyached about the move, erroneously claiming the safe fuel storage facility would make New Mexico a “dumping ground” of spent “nuclear waste,” among other melodramatic rhetoric.
The Democrats in New Mexico’s congressional delegation and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Attorney General Raúl Torrez complained about it.
The board wrote that these whining Democrats didn’t “offer any alternatives for the storage of spent commercial nuclear fuel.”
It wrote that despite Democrats referencing S.B. 53 passed during the 2023 Legislative Session despite bipartisan opposition, Holtec will challenge the law trying to stymie the company’s operations, and it “will likely win.”
It continued, “Sen. Martin Heinrich said in a separate statement Tuesday no regulatory commission “should be using interim standards to approve indefinite storage” until there is a permanent repository for spent nuclear fuel. Fair point. But Heinrich, the rest of the state’s delegation, the governor and the AG conveniently do not mention the U.S. lacks a permanent storage site because their fellow Democrat, the late Sen. Harry Reid, blocked the truly permanent storage site in Yucca Mountain after Congress quite literally sank $15 billion of taxpayer money into what is now the most expensive, empty parking garage in America. So there is nowhere to transfer more than 70,000 metric tons of used reactor fuel from commercial power plants at 73 sites across 39 states — even though U.S. law requires one. How about enforcing that law?”
The board concluded with the following:
Heinrich ended his statement: “New Mexicans didn’t sign up for this.”
Except many have. Give Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway or Hobbs Mayor Sam Cobb a call. They’ll fill you in on the Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance that southeastern New Mexico leaders formed in 2006 and the thousand acres of remote cattle grazing land ELEA bought expressly for Holtec between Carlsbad and Hobbs. And then there are the nuclear experts who work in our three national labs and at WIPP and Urenco.
It’s time for state leaders to put their politics aside, recognize the science and the scary fact we have spent nuclear waste sitting on water tables across the country, and support the bridge carbon-neutral nuclear power offers. And it’s time for our delegation in D.C. to move beyond cheap partisan sound bites and actually do something about safely storing nuclear waste.
Now that the Holtec International project is a go, there is nothing the seething Democrats can do about the facility that will provide safe interim storage while bringing billions of dollars in investment to New Mexico.