DOE Seeks Licensing Approval for Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Storage Site

169 million Americans currently live near temporary nuclear waste storage


Jun 05, 2008, 01:00 ET from Prairie Island Indian Community

    RED WING, Minn., June 5 /PRNewswire/ -- A Minnesota Indian tribe is
 again echoing the need for a national nuclear waste repository following
 the formal license application to build an underground storage facility at
 Yucca Mountain. High-level, radioactive nuclear waste from the nation's
 nuclear power plants is currently accumulating at 'temporary' storage sites
 in 39 different states.
     Located just 600 yards from 24 large containment units of highly
 radioactive spent nuclear fuel, the Prairie Island Indian Community in Red
 Wing, Minn. is among the closest communities in the country to a temporary
 waste site. According to the Department of Energy, there are 125 of these
 facilities throughout the United States and more than 169 million Americans
 reside within 75 miles of them.
     "The recent filing with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is an
 important step forward in establishing a permanent storage facility for the
 nation's nuclear waste," said Prairie Island Tribal Council President Ron
 Johnson. "We urge Congress to commit to a national storage solution and
 continue funding this vital effort."
     Developing a safe, permanent storage facility for spent nuclear fuel is
 critical to the health and welfare of the millions of Americans currently
 living near temporary storage sites and the federal government is required
 by the National Nuclear Waste Storage Act to establish an underground
     "Prairie Island believes the federal government must deliver on its
 promise to move the nation's nuclear waste to a safe, secure facility
 before it embraces the apparent nuclear power renaissance and turns to
 nuclear power as a preferred energy source for this country," said Johnson.
 "Until a permanent storage site is developed, it is irresponsible to
 consider building new nuclear power plants."
     About Prairie Island
     Prairie Island is located in southeastern Minnesota along the banks of
 the Mississippi River, approximately 50 miles from the Twin Cities of
 Minneapolis and St. Paul. Twin nuclear reactors and two dozen large cement
 nuclear waste storage casks sit just 600 yards from Prairie Island tribal
 homes. As many as 35 additional casks will be added in the coming years.
 The only evacuation route off the Prairie Island is frequently blocked by
 passing trains. The tribe has been fighting to have the nuclear waste
 removed since 1994 when the state of Minnesota first allowed Xcel Energy to
 store the waste near its reservation.

SOURCE Prairie Island Indian Community