Court curbs licenses to store nuclear waste

A federal court ruled today that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission can no longer license or re-license any power plant until it examines the effects of long-term storage of onsite nuclear waste.

The US Court of Appeals said the NRC must first take into account any public health and environmental safety concerns regarding long-term, onsite nuclear waste storage.

Among those who brought the lawsuit were members of the Prairie Island Indian Community, which is just blocks away from Xcel Energy's Prairie Island nuclear plant in Red Wing, Minn.

Phil Mahowald, general counsel for the tribe, says the courts show there is a real safety concern surrounding nuclear waste.

"Unfortunately, it appears that the community's concerns have validated and realized as we're now another 20 years, 30 years down the road and we're no closer to a solution to our nation's nuclear waste problem."

Xcel also operates a nuclear power plant in Monticello, northwest of the Twin Cities.

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