Holtec Nuclear Waste Storage Proposal

Read the Sierra Club's finalized recommendations on nuclear-waste management here.

Read New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas' lawsuit objecting to the Holtec proposal. 

As has been predicted for 40 years, nuclear waste is now a major national problem. Across the country, as aging reactors begin to shut down, the unsolvable question of what to do with 70,000-plus tons of high-level radioactive spent fuel remains an environmental and political debate. Promises by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Department of Energy have led nowhere. There is no national repository nor any credible plan to begin creating one.

Instead, the government is proposing dumping high level radioactive garbage on one or two areas of the country that have had no voice in the process, on sites that appear unsuitable, and on communities who don't want it. Both New Mexico and Texas have been targeted to be interim dumps for this waste, with no exit strategy or any plans to ever remove it.

The Sierra Club has long opposed Consolidated (or Centralized) Interim Storage for many reasons. Transportation risks aside (and they are many), any attempt to assemble large amounts of spent fuel in one location without any plan for permanent disposal simply invites – and almost guarantees – that these sites will become defacto permanent dumps, or worse, open the door to those wanting to reprocess spent fuel, one of the dirtiest and most expensive processes on earth.

Both the New Mexico and Texas chapters have passed resolutions opposing the use of their states as "interim" dumps for spent fuel. The Nuclear Free campaign (www.sierraclub/nuclear-free) is supporting our efforts to fight all attempts to drag thousands of tons of some of the most dangerous materials in the world across our aging infracture, through our cities, town and farms, and dump it on communities who don't agree to be sacrifice zones for nuclear waste.

Holtec International has submitted a plan to store this radioactive nuclear-reactor waste for as long as 120 years at a site between Hobbs and Carlsbad. Opponents are concerned about the health, safety, transportation, financial, and environmental-justice aspects of storing high-level radioactive waste that would impact thousands of generations to come. More than 10,000 rail cars would haul risky waste, rumbling through or near major cities in New Mexico, in a process that would take 20 years. In the last five years, there have been seven train accidents in New Mexico, including trains derailing and/or wrecks.

Rio Grande Sierra Club volunteers have helped organize residents near the proposed site and along rail routes across the state, and our attorneys are working to stop this proposal at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. We must stop this dangerous proposal.

Now is the time for action!

Please contribute to the Rio Grande Chapter effort to stop Holtec's nuclear dump. Your donation goes straight to the Holtec campaign, including our attorney fees and grassroots organizing in southeast New Mexico. 

If you prefer to make a C3 tax-deductible donation, make your check payable to "Sierra Club Foundation," and note on your check "Stop Holtec, Rio Grande Chapter" and mail to:

Stop Holtec
Sierra Club Foundation, Rio Grande Chapter
2215 Lead Avenue SE
Albuquerque, NM 87106

Details of Holtec's application to the NRC is here. More information can be found at NoNuclearWaste.org

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New Mexico Can Act to Prevent Ill-Advised Profit Scheme

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The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is scheduled in early 2023 to grant Holtec International a license to ‘temporarily’ store high-level nuclear waste near Carlsbad. Federal law requires a permanent disposal site to be identified before any interim site is established, but ... Read More

Opposed by Texas, border nuke site still gets NRC permit

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The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved the WCS/ISP high-level “temporary” storage for used fuel rods from commercial nuclear reactors. These fuel cores remain extremely radioactive for a million years, despite objections from both Texas and New Mexico governors. This site ... Read More

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Some people call it economic diversity for Lea County, N.M. I recall the days when I would see a calm and dry desert scene common in this area, with cows and the occasional coyote or rabbit. Now I see red ... Read More

Holtec Nuclear Waste Storage Proposal
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