On March 31, 2017, the NRC will receive Holtec’s application submittal on the HI-STORE CIS, marking a historic day for the nuclear power industry. The application comprises a complete package of documents, including the Safety Analysis Report and the Environmental report on the HI-STORE CIS. “This submittal speaks to the superb dedication, competence and commitment of our 33-specialist team, led by Program Manager, Dr. Fred Bidrawn, and Licensing Manager, Ms. Kim Manzione,” announced Program Director, Ed Mayer, a decorated naval warrior who took over the HI-STORE program in 2015 after retiring from the Navy. HI-STORE CIS is the name of Holtec’s self-funded consolidated interim storage facility, which is being hosted by a coalition of counties and cities incorporated as ELEA, LLC in southeastern New Mexico.
We applaud Entergy’s November 8, 2016 announcement to accelerate the decommissioning of Vermont Yankee by several decades. This pioneering move by Entergy should be a pace setter for the nuclear industry and welcome news for the people of Vermont. We are proud that this expedited decommissioning will be possible, in part, because of Holtec’s introduction of the industry’s first nanotechnology-derived fuel basket (Metamic-HT) a decade ago (in 2006), which makes it possible to safely transfer two-year old used fuel to dry storage in full accord with the NRC’s guidance and regulations. Accelerated defueling of the reactor vessel and the fuel pool equates to the expedited start of decommissioning of a retiring plant. Entergy’s announcement means that decommissioning does not need to be preceded by decades of SAFSTOR (wet storage in the fuel pool) with its cost and schedule uncertainty, and the sad silhouette of a deceased nuclear plant does not need to loom over the landscape for decades.
We are pleased to report that the State of New Mexico has approved the land sale option allowing Holtec International to purchase 1,000 acres of land from the Eddy Lea Energy Alliance (ELEA). The land acquisition option paves the way for Holtec to build a Consolidated Interim Storage Facility (CISF) in Southeast New Mexico, which has been named HI-STORE. The New Mexico State Board of Finance (SBoF), led by Governor Susana Martinez, overwhelmingly supported the CISF project by approving the land purchase option. The SBoF is charged with the responsibility of approving property sales by any political subdivision in the state of New Mexico, as well as approving any financial or business investments by the State. The members of the SBoF are keenly aware of the role that HI-STORE might play to solve the Nation’s used fuel storage problem and diversify the economy in Southeast New Mexico. The land deal is a major milestone for the Holtec International-ELEA Team and a huge step in assuring Holtec that the Company’s agreement with ELEA to purchase the property is secure.