ISP and DOJ/NRC appeal to SCOTUS on TX CISF

Permian Basin Coalition

On June 13, 2024, Interim Storage Partners, LLC (ISP) today appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) regarding its highly radioactive waste consolidated interim storage facility (CISF). ISP faced a 90-day deadline to appeal to SCOTUS, in response to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (New Orleans) ruling last March that vacated the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s license approval to construct and operate the CISF in west Texas.

See ISP’s Writ for Cert. here. See ISP’s Appendix here.

Fasken Land and Minerals, Ltd./Permian Basin Land and Royalty Owners, and the State of Texas, won the 5th Circuit ruling from a three-judge panel in August 2023. ISP, as well as NRC, then appealed en banc to the entire 5th Circuit Court. In March, the 5th Circuit en banc sustained the three-judge panel’s ruling, by a 9 to 7 vote.

On March 27th, the 5th Circuit likewise vacated the NRC license for Holtec International’s CISF in New Mexico. Holtec and NRC have 90 days, till June 27th, to appeal to SCOTUS.

The two CISFs are just 40-some miles apart, on either side of the New Mexico/Texas border.

Although Beyond Nuclear, and allied environmental appellants (including Sierra Club, as well as Don’t Waste Michigan et al., a national grassroots environmental coalition), are not parties directly in the 5th Circuit cases on ISP’s and Holtec’s CISFs, we are official parties with legal standing in parallel and effectively identical appeals before the D.C. Circuit Court.

In January 2023, a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court ruled against appeals opposing ISP’s NRC license, brought by our environmental coalition, as well as Fasken/PBLRO.

We are currently awaiting a ruling by another three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit regarding our appeals against NRC’s license approval for Holtec’s CISF. Oral arguments in that case were heard on March 5th.

To justify their use of the word “interim” in CISF, both ISP and Holtec have simply assumed, in their license applications (LA), that Yucca Mountain, Nevada will ultimately someday serve as the permanent national repository for highly radioactive waste disposal. NRC approved both LAs, including their assumption of a Yucca Mountain dump on Western Shoshone land.

But NRC is supposed to be the neutral, objective, unbiased “judge” of the Yucca Mountain dump license application. Apparently NRC has already made up its mind, even before the licensing proceeding has taken place. The State of Nevada, as well as multiple Western Shoshone entities, have established legal standing in opposition to the Yucca Mountain dump in the yet to begin, long suspended, and effectively cancelled NRC licensing proceeding.

Beyond Nuclear has challenged both CISFs at every opportunity, beginning in 2016. But we also challenged the very concept of CISFs, at every single meeting and public comment opportunity of the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future from March 2010 to January 2012.

In fact, Beyond Nuclear’s founding in 2007 already saw us actively opposing the NRC license approval for a CISF, proposed by Private Fuel Storage, LLC, at the Skull Valley Goshutes Indian Reservation in Utah. Despite NRC’s license approval, that dump too has effectively been blocked. Ground has never been broken.


The next day, on June 14, 2024, the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission jointly appealed to SCOTUS, seeking to overturn the 5th Circuit’s rulings, as well. Here is the DOJ/NRC writ for cert.


By June 27, 2024, Holtec had also appealed to SCOTUS, as announced on Holtec’s website.

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