The license allows the company to receive, possess, transfer and store 500 canisters that can hold nearly 8,700 metric tonnes of spent nuclear fuel, and unified into a single standardised HI-STORM UMAX system


Holtec secures NRC license for HI-STORE CISF. (Credit: Lukáš Lehotský on Unsplash)

Holtec International has secured the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) license to build and operate a temporary facility to store nuclear waste from power plants, in New Mexico, US.

The new facility, dubbed HI-STORE Consolidated Interim Storage Facility (CISF), will be built on the land owned by Eddy Lea Energy Alliance (ELEA), a regional development authority.

The license allows the company to receive, possess, transfer and store 500 canisters, capable of holding nearly 8,700 metric tonnes of spent nuclear fuel.

HI-STORE CISF will unify all different storage canisters in a single standardised HI-STORM UMAX system, to simplify the operations and aging management activities.

The strength-welded and hermetically closed canisters will prevent the release of radioactive material under the most adverse accident scenarios, said the company.

Holtec director of licensing Kim Manzione said: “Our heartfelt thanks go out to the dedicated NRC staff whose diligent and critical reviews of the license application and detailed interactions with our licensing team has resulted in a solid body of work that undergirds the regulatory basis for the license configured to safeguard public health and safety in full measure.”

Holtec president and CEO Kris Singh said: “The licensing of HI-STORE CISF should be viewed as the triumph of private perseverance in the service of public purpose.

“We thank the nuclear-savvy communities of the Southeast New Mexico region and their visionary leaders who have welcomed us to bring our technologies to create environmentally benign and well-paying jobs, and help diversify the region’s economy thus fostering a stable industrial base.”

Holtec said that the NRC license is a result of its eight years of efforts to build a safe, secure, temporary private facility to store used spent nuclear fuel in the country.

It follows the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) final approval in July last year, which confirmed that the HI-STORE CISF is not associated with any environmental impacts.

The final EIS also confirmed that the new facility will pose no adverse impacts to other enterprises in the area including oil and gas, potash, ranching, and farming.

HI-STORE CISF will provide additional economic benefits to the region, including an advanced manufacturing facility, technology development centre and training centre, said Holtec.

HI-STORE CISF program director, retired US Navy Captain Ed Mayer said: “Thanks to the local support, we have persevered for the past eight years to license HI-STORE in spite of variable enthusiasm from the State’s authorities.

“The project has the ability to allow Southeast New Mexico to diversify its economy, generate some 400 jobs, infusing ~$3bn investment in the area.

“Holtec and ELEA are proud to have worked together to eliminate the most formidable barrier to the renaissance of nuclear energy that our country faces today.”