Gov. Lujan Grisham: ‘I will use every tool in my toolbox’ to block nuclear waste storage in New Mexico

Lujan Grisham also signed a law this year that prohibits the issuance of state permits for the construction or operation of a disposal facility for spent fuel or high-level waste unless the state has consented and a permanent repository is in operation.

The U.S. currently has no permanent repository for the radioactive waste from the fleet of nuclear power plants that provide about one-fifth of the nation’s electricity. The Biden administration, the Energy Department’s national labs and several companies are working to deploy a new generation of small modular reactors that would take the place of the aging fleet of large reactors.

Holtec has said the timeline for the interim storage project “is still to be determined,” but said it believes the project is still viable.

On Thursday, Lujan Grisham said she supported advanced energy technologies and acknowledged the U.S. should be “a little bit more open-minded” about what technologies fuel the clean energy transition. But she criticized the federal government and Holtec’s process for weighing the risks of nuclear waste storage within her state.

Lujan Grisham added that New Mexico will help the country solve its nuclear waste problem, “but we won’t be burdened by going it alone unequivocally.”