Environmentalists and nuclear watchdog groups are lining up against plans to build a multibillion-dollar storage facility in southeastern New Mexico for spent nuclear fuel from commercial reactors around the United States.
Attorneys for several groups began making oral arguments before a panel with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission during a hearing Thursday in Albuquerque. The organizations include the Sierra Club and Maryland-based Beyond Nuclear.
The panel will determine which groups have standing and which objections will be considered as part of the case.
New Jersey-based Holtec International has applied for a license to construct the facility about 35 miles (56 kilometers) east of Carlsbad. It would be capable of storing as much as 173,000 metric tons of high-level radioactive waste.
Opponents have concerns about the project’s legality, the safety of transporting the fuel and potential environmental effects.