Sen. Jeff Steinborn Questions Proposed Lea County Nuclear Waste Site

Jul 18, 2018

Credit Sen. Jeff Steinborn

The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission is considering a proposal from Holtec International to build a temporary nuclear waste storage facility near Hobbs in Lea County in southeastern New Mexico.

Holtec International has applied for an initial 40-year license for the facility. If approved, the site would hold 500 canisters filled with 8,680 metric tons of spent uranium fuel used in nuclear reactors across the United States. That amount could increase to 10,000 canisters storing up to 100,000 metric tons of nuclear waste after a series of planned expansions.

Doña Ana County Democratic Sen. Jeff Steinborn chairs the state legislature's Radioactive and Hazardous Materials Committeee, which oversees the safety of the proposal.

Steinborn recently spoke with Michael Hernandez about the lack of information he's received from Gov. Susana Martinez's Office and other state agencies regarding safety measures, infrastructure capabilities and logistical concerns. Steinborn's recent KRWG commentary can be read here.

There has been a series of public meetings held over the proposal. The next meeting will take place in Hobbs July 19 at the Center of Recreational Excellence at 9 a.m. The public comment period ends July 30. Comments may be emailed to

Las Cruces City Council has scheduled a special meeting July 23 to approve a resolution opposing the proposal.