By Scott Turner | Albuquerque Journal
Opponents of a proposed interim nuclear fuel storage facility in southeast New Mexico are vowing to appeal a Nuclear Regulatory Commission board decision Tuesday that denied them an evidentiary hearing.
The NRC Atomic Safety and Licensing Board denied requests by several petitioners to conduct a hearing challenging Holtec International’s license application to construct and operate a consolidated interim storage facility for spent nuclear fuel in Lea County.
“This decision is a perfect example and a lesson for the citizens of New Mexico and the United States of how the NRC process is shamelessly designed to prevent the public from participating,” Sierra Club attorney Wally Taylor said in a news release.
The three-judge board held oral arguments in Albuquerque in January on the standing of the various petitioners and the admissibility of their proposed contentions under NRC regulations.
While the judges agreed that some of the six petitioners met the qualifications for standing, they concluded the nearly 50 contentions raised were not admissible for an evidentiary hearing.