Holtec Gets Final License for Used Nuclear Fuel Storage

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has issued the final license to build and operate the HI-STORE Consolidated Interim Storage Facility (CISF) to Holtec International on the land provided by the Eddy Lea Energy Alliance (ELEA), a regional economic development authority in Southeast New Mexico. This license is the culmination of an eight-year process to bring a safe, secure, temporary and retrievable private facility to store used nuclear fuel and high level waste.

The HI-STORE facility is the first in the world to deploy a below-ground storage system for consolidated interim storage although several U.S. plants (notably Callaway and SONGS) have been using this technology accruing great benefits in terms of dramatically reduced radiation dose, ultimate protection from incident hazards (such as a crashing aircraft or airborne missiles) and its negligible environmental impact. The subterranean HI-STORM UMAX storage system is so environmentally unobtrusive that all industrial activities such as fracking, drilling, and potash mining in the area can continue without obstruction and, as stated in the final environmental impact study, construction of the proposed CISF would not have an effect on oil and gas operations regardless of drilling method.

It should be noted that Holtec has served as the dry storage technology provider for two other interim storage facilities in the past: the first for the Private Fuel Storage initiative in Skull Valley, Utah, which received the final license from the NRC in 2006, and the second for Ukraine’s National Nuclear Energy Generating Company, Energoatom, in Ukraine. The latter has been constructed and awaiting the cessation of Ukraine-Russia war to begin operations.

Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.

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