Nuclear Regulatory Commission - News Release
No: 20-025 May 6, 2020
CONTACT: David McIntyre, 301-415-8200
NRC Seeks Public Comment on Draft Environmental Report for Proposed Spent Fuel Storage Facility in Texas
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is seeking public comment on its draft Environmental Impact Statement for Interim Storage Partners’ application for a license to construct and operate a consolidated spent nuclear fuel storage facility in Andrews County, Texas. After considering the environmental impacts of the proposed action, the NRC staff’s preliminary recommendation is issuance of an NRC license.
In consideration of the COVID-19 public health emergency, NRC staff is providing an extended period for the public to submit comments on the draft EIS. Details on how to submit comments in writing will soon be published in the Federal Register. Publication of that notice will begin the extended public comment period, which will run for 120 days. The NRC staff plans to hold a webinar and several public meetings in the vicinity of Andrews County during the comment period to present the staff’s preliminary findings and receive comments. As the COVID-19 public health emergency evolves, the NRC staff will continue to re-evaluate its plans for engaging the public. Further information on the meetings will be included in a separate Federal Register notice and on the NRC’s Public Meetings webpage.
ISP has requested a license to store approximately 5,000 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel at the proposed site. Future expansion phases, if later approved by the NRC, would allow the storage of up to 40,000 metric tons. The storage canisters would be transported to the site by rail from operating, decommissioning, and decommissioned commercial nuclear power plants around the country.
The NRC draft EIS assesses the environmental impacts of the entire project, including construction, operation, transportation, and decommissioning. During development of the draft EIS, staff looked at the impacts to land use, geology and soils, surface waters and wetlands, groundwater, ecological resources, historic and cultural resources, environmental justice and several other areas. A short “reader’s guide” summarizing the report is also available.
NRC staff will review the public comments and prepare the final EIS in a document scheduled to be published in May 2021. The NRC staff also plans to complete a parallel safety review of the ISP application and publish a Safety Evaluation Report in May 2021. A decision on whether to grant ISP a license would follow thereafter.