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An energy equipment company has taken steps toward opening a long-term storage facility for spent nuclear fuel in southeastern New Mexico.

The Hobbs News-Sun reports Holtec International has submitted a letter of intent to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission about its bid to open a $5 billion Consolidated Interim Storage Facility in Lea County. Hobbs Mayor Sam Cobb says the formal notice to the NRC is the latest development in a years-long process.

Holtec is proposing a long-term facility that could have a lifespan of 100 years. Company officials have said they anticipate initial licensing for the first 40 years. The company’s letter to the NRC says it hopes to submit a site-specific license application by the end of November.