The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said it is considering a private company’s application to build a nuclear waste site.
Holtec International wants a 40-year license to store up to 8,680 metric tons of nuclear waste at a facility in southeastern New Mexico. It would be an interim storage site, so the nuclear fuel would have to be moved out at some point.
If built, the site would be the first nuclear waste storage facility in the United States other than the nuclear plants and other locations themselves.
Congress directed the government in the 1980s to build a permanent storage facility at Yucca Mountain in Nevada, but that has been delayed due to opposition from Nevadans and others.
“In docketing the application, the NRC has determined the application is sufficiently complete for the staff to begin its detailed safety, security and environmental reviews,” the NRC said in a Thursday statement, specifying that accepting the application does not mean it has been approved.
The NRC plans to wrap up its review by July 2020. It will examine numerous questions related to the safety, security and environmental impacts of the proposal.
Waste Control Specialists applied in 2015 for its own nuclear waste site in western Texas, but suspended its application last year due to financial problems.