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More public comment allowed on proposed nuclear waste site


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The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has scheduled additional public meetings in New Mexico regarding a proposal to build a site in Lea County to store unused nuclear fuel.

The commission also has extended the public comment period by about a month, from May 29 to July 30.

The public meetings will occur in Gallup and Albuquerque. During the meetings, people can speak for three to five minutes, depending on the number wishing to participate. The NRC also will give an overview of the project and the current application review process.

The Gallup meeting will occur Monday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Gallup Downtown Conference Center, 204 W. Coal Ave. The Albuquerque meeting will be held Tuesday, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., in the Southeast Ballroom of Crowne Plaza, 1901 University Blvd., N.E.

The upcoming meetings follow an April 25 webinar and call-in and public meetings in April in Roswell, Hobbs and Carlsbad.

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The meetings are intended to determine what issues the public wants the commission to consider as it evaluates the proposal by the Lea-Eddy County Energy and Holtec International, based in New Jersey, to construct an underground storage facility halfway between Carlsbad and Hobbs to store 500 to 10,000 canisters — about 8,680 metric tons to 174,000 metric tons — of used nuclear fuel and related hardware on an “interim” basis until a permanent depository is constructed. The waste would be from nuclear utility plants and would be shipped to New Mexico by railway and trucks.

The commission also has extended the public comment period to July 30, as announced in a Wednesday notice in the Federal Register. The public can submit emails to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission at Holtec-CISFEIS@nrc.gov or can mail letters to May Ma, Office of Administration, Mail Stop TWFN-7-A60M, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, D.C. 20555-0001.

Forty-seven comments have been received so far, according to the Federal Register website.

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