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U.S. Senate bill has implications for New Mexico nuclear waste projects

A bill introduced in the U.S. Senate this week could impact future nuclear projects in New Mexico where a private company hopes to build a facility to store some of the most highly-radioactive nuclear waste in the U.S.

U.S. Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Mike Levin (D-CA.) introduced the Nuclear Waste Task Force Act on Sept. 28 which would establish a task force tasked with studying amendments to the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 to remove environmental exceptions for nuclear waste, creating a consent-based program for siting facilities.

If passed and depending on the recommendations of the task force, this bill could prove a roadblock to projects like one proposed by Holtec International to build a temporary storage facility for spent nuclear fuel rods in southeast New Mexico.