NRC to weigh Indian views on nuclear waste

The tribal community sits very close to the plant
The Prairie Island Indian Community sits just a few blocks from the nuclear plant.
MPR Photo/Steve Mullis

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has agreed to hear the Prairie Island Indian Community's concerns about extending the license for a nearby nuclear waste storage facility.

Xcel Energy is able to store nuclear waste at the Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant since there is no national waste repository. The company's license expires this week, and Xcel has applied to extend on-site nuclear storage for 40 years.

The Prairie Island Indian Community's general counsel, Phil Mahowald, said he will tell the Nuclear Regulatory Commission at a November hearing that it needs to find a permanent solution.

"The regulations dealing with spent nuclear fuel have really become detached from reality," Mahowald said. "The end result is you're going to have 2,500 tons of nuclear waste stranded on Prairie Island indefinitely."

In a statement, Xcel Energy said it is also interested in holding the federal government accountable for removing used nuclear fuel. The company says it welcomes the community's participation.

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