Environmental Impact Statement for the Holtec International's License Application for a Consolidated Interim Storage Facility for Spent Nuclear Fuel in Lea County, New Mexico – Final Report (NUREG-2237, Initial Report)

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Publication Information

Manuscript Completed: July 2022
Date Published: July 2022

Prepared by:
U.S Nuclear Regulatory Commission

U.S. Bureau of Land Management
Carlsbad Field Office
Carlsbad, New Mexico

Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555-0001

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The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) prepared this environmental impact statement (EIS) as part of its environmental review of the Holtec International (Holtec) license application to construct and operate a consolidated interim storage facility (CISF) for spent nuclear fuel (SNF) and Greater-Than-Class C waste, along with a small quantity of mixed oxide fuel. The proposed CISF would be located in southeast New Mexico at a site located approximately halfway between the cities of Carlsbad and Hobbs, New Mexico. This EIS includes the NRC staff's evaluation of the environmental impacts of the proposed action and the No-Action alternative. The proposed action is the issuance of an NRC license authorizing the initial phase (Phase 1) of the project to store up to 8,680 metric tons of uranium (MTUs) [9,568 short tons] in 500 canisters for a license period of 40 years. Holtec plans to subsequently request amendments to the license to store an additional 500 canisters for each of 19 expansion phases of the proposed CISF (a total of 20 phases), to be completed over the course of 20 years, and to expand the proposed facility to eventually store up to 10,000 canisters of SNF.

Holtec's expansion of the proposed project (i.e., Phases 2-20) is not part of the proposed action currently pending before the agency. However, as a matter of discretion, the NRC staff considered these expansion phases in its description of the affected environment and impact determinations in this EIS, where appropriate, when the environmental impacts of the potential future expansion can be determined so as to conduct a bounded analysis for the proposed ;CISF project. For the bounding analysis, the NRC staff assumes the storage of up to 10,000 canisters of SNF.

Based on its environmental review, the NRC staff recommendation is issuance of a license to Holtec authorizing the initial phase of the project, subject to the determinations in the staff's safety review of the application. The NRC staff based its recommendation on the following:

  • the environmental report submitted by Holtec

  • the NRC staff's consultation with Federal, State, Tribal, and local government agencies

  • the NRC staff's independent environmental review

  • the NRC staff's consideration of public comments received during the scoping process

  • the NRC staff's consideration of public comments on the draft EIS

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Monday, October 31, 2022