RadWaste Monitor Vol. 17 No. 14
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RadWaste Monitor
Article 2 of 5
April 05, 2024

After Texas case, Fifth Circuit also throws out Holtec license for New Mexico interim storage

By Dan Leone

A federal court late last week vacated Holtec International’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission license to store spent nuclear fuel in New Mexico.

Holtec’s license, granted in May 2023, got caught up in a decision by the U.S Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission may not license storage of commercial spent fuel away from the reactors that generated it.

Holtec was not involved with that case, filed by Texas in 2021, but “Texas v. NRC dictates the outcome here,” the Fifth Circuit wrote in the March 27 order that threw out Holtec’s license.

The Fifth Circuit tossed the license at the behest of mineral rights groups Fasken Land and Minerals, Ltd. and Permian Basin Land and Royalty Owners, who filed a petition about the proposed New Mexico site in the Texas case.

The unpublished order was distributed by a representative of a public relations firm who offered to connect the Exchange Monitor with Fasken’s legal team.

The NRC wanted the mineral rights groups’ petition transferred to the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, where the commission, Fasken and others are involved in a separate lawsuit about the proposed Holtec site, but the Fifth Circuit denied that request in last week’s unpublished order.

New Mexico itself tried to get the Holtec license tossed in a lawsuit filed with the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, but it lost the case in 2023.

Texas and New Mexico each have passed laws outlawing the transportation and storage of spent nuclear fuel in their territories.

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