Holtec International and New Mexico’s Building and Construction Trade Council Forge Agreement for Building the Nation’s First Consolidated Interim Storage Facility

Holtec International and the New Mexico Building and Construction Trade Council (Council) have agreed to establish a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) to provide workers and craftsmen to construct the HI-STORE Consolidated Interim Storage Facility (CISF) in Lea County, New Mexico. Under the terms of the Commitment Agreement, Holtec will award the construction work for the HI-STORE CISF exclusively to a general contractor who agrees to implement the terms of the PLA.

This Agreement between the Council and Holtec establishes the framework for labor-management cooperation and for fulfilling Holtec’s long-standing and abiding commitment to diversity by extending the opportunity for gainful employment without regard to ethnicity or gender. 

“This project deserves the best construction workers the state has to offer. We are proud to provide a steady and reliable source of skilled laborers who will ensure that the facility is of world-class quality,” said Brian Condit, Executive Director of New Mexico Building and Construction Trades Council.

The HI-STORE CISF is a significant step on the path to resolve the nation’s continuing used nuclear fuel storage challenge by providing a supremely safe, secure, retrievable and centralized facility for storage of used nuclear fuel on an interim basis. The license application for the HI-STORE CISF was submitted to the USNRC on March 31, 2017 and was accepted by the Commission in February 2018 (USNRC Docket No. 72-1051). Once licensed and funded, the HI-STORE CISF will be constructed in Lea County between the cities of Carlsbad and Hobbs. The used fuel, presently stored at different nuclear plant sites, will be aggregated and stored in Holtec’s belowground system known as HI-STORM UMAX.  The HI-STORE CISF will provide the ability to readily extract the used fuel canisters and ship them to a permanent repository as soon as it is available. 

HI-STORE CISF will be located on a small part of a thousand acres of undeveloped land in Southeast New Mexico owned by the Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance (ELEA), an incorporated four-entity consortium (cities of Hobbs and Carlsbad and the counties of Eddy and Lea), with the charter to attract safe and environmentally friendly industries that will create well-paying jobs in the region.  

“We are gratified by the overwhelming community support that led us to accept ELEA’s invitation to come to New Mexico. The Agreement with the Council further cements the local contribution to the project and ensures that the local communities and the State of New Mexico will greatly benefit from it. This project is important for economic development of the Southeast region of New Mexico and this agreement demonstrates our long-term commitment to the region and New Mexico,” says Joy Russell, Senior Vice-President and Chief Strategy Officer.

Holtec International and its partner, the Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance (ELEA) expect the NRC to decide on the license for the HI-STORE CISF in 2021; construction could start soon after the NRC license is granted. Speaking on the prospects of a beneficial industry integration, ELEA’s Chairman Mr. John Heaton said, “The HI-STORE CISF will be built by New Mexico’s workers boosting local incomes that will feed back into improving our local infrastructure. We expect the construction effort to build the facility to occur over roughly ten years and to inject over 1 billion dollars into the local economy. This project has zero impact on the oil and gas industry in our area. The micro-seismic effects from drilling and fracking underneath the site for hydrocarbons that are one to two miles beneath the surface will have no impact on the surface or the project. We look forward to working closely with the oil and gas industry to assure them we in no way impede their oil and gas recovery.”

Readers can learn more about the HI-STORE CISF project by visiting the Frequently Asked Questions page on our website: https://holtecinternational.com/communications-and-outreach/faqs/.

Written by Amy Grant

Amy Grant is a graphic designer and web developer. She is the founder of the Southwark Historical Society, a volunteer based group that studies the Southwark Historical District located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.