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Coalition Defends Interventions against Holtec's NM High-Level Radioactive Waste Mega-Dump
by Kevin Kamps (kevin [at]
Friday Jan 18th, 2019 5:33 PM
The infamous company Tetra Tech, which falsified soil sample data re: radioactive contamination at Hunters Point in the Bay Area of CA, has played a major role in the environmental assessment of a site in southeastern New Mexico. Holtec International is targeting a Hispanic area for a mega-dump for 173,600 metric tons of highly radioactive irradiated nuclear fuel. High-risk shipments there would impact most states.
Press Advisory, For Immediate Release, January 18, 2019

Contact: Legal counsel for Beyond Nuclear -- Diane Curran; Harmon, Curran, Spielberg + Eisenberg, LLP; 240-393-9285; dcurran [at] & Mindy Goldstein; Turner Environmental Law Clinic, Emory University School of Law; 404-727-3432; mindy.goldstein [at]

Kevin Kamps, Radioactive Waste Specialist, Beyond Nuclear, (240) 462-3216, kevin [at]

Legal counsel for Sierra Club -- Wally Taylor, 319-350-5807, wtaylor784 [at]

Legal counsel for Don't Waste Michigan, Nuclear Issues Study Group, et al. -- Terry Lodge, (419) 205-7084, tjlodge50 [at]

Leona Morgan, Nuclear Issues Study Group, 505-879-8547, protectnewmexico [at]

Michael Keegan, Don’t Waste Michigan, (734) 770-1441, mkeeganj [at]

Coalition Defends Interventions against Holtec/ELEA

Forever Deadly High-Level Radioactive Waste Mega-Dump

Targeted at Southeastern New Mexico

Environmental Press Conference Jan. 22;

NRC Hearings on Trial Issues Begin Jan. 23 in Albuquerque

WHO: Environmental, and environmental justice (EJ), groups (and their legal counsel) opposing the Holtec/ELEA consolidated interim storage facility (CISF) in NM, as official parties in the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) proceeding, include: Alliance for Environmental Strategies (Nancy Simmons, Albuquerque, NM), Beyond Nuclear (Diane Curran, Washington, D.C.; Mindy Goldstein, Turner Environmental Law Clinic, Emory University, Atlanta, GA); Sierra Club (Wally Taylor, Sierra Club Nuclear-Free Campaign, Cedar Rapids, IA); and a seven-group coalition including Don’t Waste Michigan, Citizens for Alternatives to Chemical Contamination (MI), Public Citizen (TX and DC), San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace (CA), Nuclear Energy Information Service (IL), Citizens’ Environmental Coalition (NY), and Nuclear Issues Study Group (NM) (Terry Lodge, Toledo, OH).

WHAT: Environmental coalition press conference -- 3:30 MST, Tuesday, Jan. 22, at the State Bar of New Mexico (“Modrall Room”), 5121 Masthead Street NE, Albuquerque, New Mexico – to address U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) oral argument pre-hearings, to be held in Albuquerque, re: the Holtec/ELEA license application to construct and operate a CISF for 173,600 metric tons of commercial irradiated nuclear fuel and other highly radioactive waste, targeted at southeastern New Mexico. (That quantity is 2.5 times the amount targeted at Yucca Mountain, Nevada for permanent burial.)

WHERE: The location of the environmental coalition press conference on Tues., Jan. 22 will be at the State Bar of New Mexico (“Modrall Room”), 5121 Masthead Street NE, Albuquerque, New Mexico. (The oral argument pre-hearings of the NRC ASLB will be at the same location, in the auditorium, on Wed., Jan. 23 and likely Thurs., Jan. 24. The NRC ASLB has made available listen-only, call-in phone lines, for taking in the proceedings: The telephone number is 1-888-790-1895 and the passcode is 5046496).

WHEN: The time of the environmental coalition press conference will be 3:30pm MST, Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019. (The NRC ASLB hearings will begin Wed., Jan. 23, 2019, at 9:00 am MST, and will continue on Thursday, January 24, 2019, as needed.)

WHY: The environmental coalition first filed their petitions to intervene, and requests for hearing, in opposition to the Holtec/ELEA CISF proposal, on Sept. 14, 2018. 40 technical and legal contentions of opposition, many backed up by expert witness testimony, range from environmental justice violations, to lack of legal authorization for such a CISF, and a broad range of concerns regarding public health, safety, security, and the environment. (For the complete list of legal contentions, please see the OVERVIEW, below).

A comprehensive Summary of Holtec/ELEA CISF Licensing Application Proceeding is posted at the top of Beyond Nuclear’s CENTRALIZED STORAGE website section.


Overview of Environmental Coalition Contentions Opposing Holtec/ELEA’s CISF, and the NRC ASLB Licensing Proceeding:

As detailed in the environmental coalition filings, the dozens of contentions filed on September 14, 2018 include the following categories (some of the contentions were raised by multiple intervenors; the total number of contentions filed adds up to 40+):

(1) impacts on Native American and other historic and pre-historic properties on the site;

(2) insufficient assurances of financing for construction, operation, and decommissioning;

(3) underestimation of so-called “low-level” radioactive waste volumes that would be generated;

(4) improper reliance on NRC generic Environmental Impact Statement presumptions;

(5) natural gas fracking and potash mining beneath the site;

(6) cumulative risks of future reprocessing (plutonium extraction);

(7) the public health threat from the “Start Clean/Stay Clean” philosophy’s risks of shipping damaged, leaking, or contaminated casks back to the atomic reactor of origin;

(8) incomplete and inadequate disclosure of transportation routes (road, rail, and waterway), and inadequate analyses of the substantial risks of these shipments through most states, over decades;

(9) inconsistent predicted lengths for “interim storage” period, from 40 to 100, 120, or even 300 years, timeframes that could dangerously exceed the design and surface life of the containers;

(10) unmet safety and security risk analyses for the scale of transport and storage proposed;

(11) troubling geological formations and conditions beneath the site;

(12) no compelling purpose and need for the CISF;

(13) risk of the CISF becoming a de facto permanent surface storage “parking lot dump”;

(14) Holtec’s improper reliance on the Blue Ribbon Commission for America’s Nuclear Future’s 2012 Final Report;

(15) earthquake risks at the site;

(16) impacts on endangered and threatened species, such as the dunes sagebrush lizard;

(17) questionable credibility of sub-contractors used in the preparation of the license application, reflected in the poor quality of the submitted documents, and charges of major fraud against Tetra Tech related to a massive radioactive contamination incident in San Francisco, CA;

(18) thermal concerns associated with corrosion of the containers;

(19) groundwater and brine concerns at the site, including threats of radioactive contamination reaching area drinking and irrigation water aquifers downstream;

(20) risks of high burnup irradiated nuclear fuel degradation and failure.

The NRC ASLB oral argument pre-hearings on January 23-24, 2019 in Albuquerque will address "standing and contention admissibility."

A comprehensive Summary of Holtec/ELEA CISF Licensing Application Proceeding is posted at the top of Beyond Nuclear’s CENTRALIZED STORAGE website section.

Kevin Kamps
Radioactive Waste Specialist
Beyond Nuclear
7304 Carroll Avenue, #182
Takoma Park, Maryland 20912

Cell: (240) 462-3216

kevin [at]

Beyond Nuclear aims to educate and activate the public about the connections between nuclear power and nuclear weapons and the need to abolish both to safeguard our future. Beyond Nuclear advocates for an energy future that is sustainable, benign and democratic.

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