All the Democrat (D) government politicians in Santa Fe NM have written letters and op-ed’s to oppose the Holtec HI-STORE CISF (consolidated interim storage facility) project here in Southeast New Mexico for various reason. However, there is one factor that has been ignored and that is what happens if it not built in New Mexico. Well, it will probably be built in Andrews County, Texas (R) just across the state line from URENCO Enrichment Plant minutes outside of Eunice, NM.
The first thing you have to ask is ‘why’ would we allow a multi-billion dollar business that wants to locate in NM be forced to go to another location like West Texas. All the risk will still apply to NM without any of the monetary benefits. Orano USA is the US arm of the Areva International Group headquartered in Paris, France. Not only would we be forcing a US company, Holtec, out of NM, we would also be letting a foreign company to financially manage the WCS/Orano TX (waste control specialist) site and all the stored nuclear fuel rods. This stuff was made in America and should be managed by an American company.
Both groups, Holtec/ELEA (NM-D) and WCS/Orano (TX-R), are in the process of getting an initial 40 year NRC license to stage solid stored nuclear fuel rods (also contains some blended high level radioactive isotopes) at these sites on an interim bases that could last up to 300 years (times billions of dollars per year). That is when the radioactive isotopes would have decayed to a benign non-threating solid uranium mineral.
Holtec and Orano are also in the nuclear power plant decommissioning business as well and both need an interim location for the stored nuclear fuel rods to complete the decommissioning and decontamination process.
As I see it, NM has three choices to address the Holtec HI-STORE CISF project. 1) do nothing and let Texas take the business and revenue, 2) build the HI-STORE CISF to handle all the US unused stored nuclear fuel rods or, 3) work with Texas and share the responsibility and revenue of managing the US unused stored nuclear fuel rods. For me personally, #1 is not an option.