The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on 29 July issued its final environmental impact statement on an application by Interim Storage Partners to construct and operate a consolidated interim storage facility (CISF) for used nuclear fuel in Andrews County, Texas. After considering the environmental impacts of the proposed action, the NRC staff recommend granting the proposed licence.

Interim Storage Partners is a joint venture of Waste Control Specialists and Orano CIS, a subsidiary of Orano USA.

If granted, the licence will authorise ISP to construct a facility to store up to 5,000 metric tons of used commercial nuclear fuel as well as Greater-Than-Class C waste for 40 years. ISP plans to expand the facility to a total capacity of 40,000 metric tons. The facility would be built adjacent to the Waste Control Specialists low-level radioactive waste disposal site. NRC published a draft environmental impact statement on the project in May 2020. NRC staff held four public meetings by webinar to present the draft findings and receive public comments. To complete the final document, the staff received and evaluated approximately 2,500 unique comments submitted by nearly 10,600 members of the public.

NRC will provide the final environmental impact statement to the Environmental Protection Agency for filing. Once the EPA publishes in the Federal Register a notice that it has received the document, NRC must wait at least 30 days before issuing a licensing decision.

When it announces its decision, NRC will also publish its final safety evaluation report detailing its technical review of the ISP application.

Currently, fuel from more than 70 shutdown, decommissioned and operating nuclear energy facilities is stored at reactor sites across the USA. ISP’s CISF would offer dry-cask storage at an away-from-reactor site pending disposal at a permanent disposal facility. In addition to ISP's application, the NRC is also reviewing an application from Holtec International for a CISF in Lea County, New Mexico.