Morning Briefing - May 04, 2020
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May 04, 2020

NRC Staff Backs Licensing for Second Spent-Fuel Storage Site

By ExchangeMonitor

Staff at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has offered initial support for licensing a facility in West Texas for temporary storage of spent fuel from nuclear power plants.

The recommendation is included in a draft version of the environmental impact statement for Interim Storage Partners’ planned consolidated interim storage facility (CISF) in Andrews County. The document was posted to the NRC website Monday.

“The NRC staff preliminarily recommend that, unless safety issues mandate otherwise, the proposed license be issued to ISP to construct and operate a CISF at the proposed location to temporarily store up to 5,000 [metric tons] of SNF for a licensing period of 40 years,” according to the draft.

Agency staff used similar language in preliminarily recommending license approval in a March draft environmental impact statement for a spent-fuel facility planned by Holtec International in southeastern New Mexico.

Interim Storage Partners is a joint venture of Orano USA and Waste Control Specialists. Its facility would be built on the Waste Control Specialists disposal complex, along the Texas border with New Mexico.

While the initial license would cover 5,000 metric tons for four decades, the operation could be expanded to storage of up to 40,000 metric tons of used fuel for 120 years. Staff said it considered the expansion, “where appropriate,” in evaluating the facility’s environmental effects.

The NRC said Monday it expects to complete the environmental impact statement in a year, following a public comment period and public meetings. The decision on the license application would be made shortly afterward.