By Associated Press - Wednesday, April 13, 2016

HOBBS, N.M. (AP) - An energy equipment company has taken steps toward opening a long-term storage facility for spent nuclear fuel in southeastern New Mexico.

Holtec International has submitted a letter of intent to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission about its bid to open a $5 billion Consolidated Interim Storage Facility in Lea County, The News-Sun reported.

Holtec is proposing a long-term facility that could have a lifespan of 100 years. Company officials have said they anticipate initial licensing for the first 40 years.

The company’s letter to the NRC says it hopes to submit a site-specific license application by the end of November.

Hobbs Mayor Sam Cobb says the formal notice to the NRC is the latest development in a yearslong process. Cobb is a member of the Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance board, a group of four southeastern New Mexico governments that is selling the 1,000 acres of land in western Lea County and Eddy County that Holtec has its eye on.

The alliance includes the city of Hobbs, Lea County, Eddy County and the city of Carlsbad.

The alliance has entered a tentative agreement to sell the land to Holtec that is contingent upon Holtec receiving the NRC license.

Both houses of the New Mexico Legislature have also passed non-binding measures supporting the alliance’s effort to establish an interim storage site for spent nuclear fuel in the area.

Carlsbad Economic Development Director John Waters said he hasn’t heard any opposition to the deal yet.

“It’s been fairly well-supported by all the governing bodies so far, but they’ve got to go through the official process,” he said.


Information from: Hobbs News-Sun,

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