Prairie Island Indian Community Applauds President Bush's Decision On Yucca Mountain

Feb 15, 2002, 00:00 ET from Prairie Island Indian Community

    PRAIRIE ISLAND, Minn., Feb. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- The Prairie Island Indian
 Community is one step closer to seeing the removal of a stockpile of nuclear
 waste that sits 600 yards from its community with today's decision by
 President Bush to authorize a national storage site at Nevada's Yucca
 Mountain.  Prairie Island is the closest community in the nation to an
 existing, temporary nuclear waste storage site.
     "President Bush has given our community hope that one day this threat will
 be removed from our backyard," said Prairie Island Tribal Council President
 Audrey Kohnen. "We know that the fight is far from won, but we are encouraged
 by this action and will remain steadfast in our attempt to rid our community
 of this nuclear nightmare."
     Last month, Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham recommended to President Bush
 that he authorize Yucca Mountain as the permanent national repository for
 spent nuclear fuel.   Nevada's governor is expected to reject Bush's approval,
 which will send the issue to Congress for a final vote. If approved, Yucca
 Mountain isn't expected to open until 2012.
     "We hope that the Minnesota's delegation and the rest of Congress will
 agree with us that storing nuclear waste in a single, militarily secure
 location is better than spreading it out across the country, and certainly
 better than storing it 600 yards from our homes," said Kohnen. "For more than
 25 years, we've been asking that our community's health and safety concerns be
 addressed. This is one of the first steps we can celebrate."
     Xcel Energy's Prairie Island nuclear power plant began operating in 1973.
 In 1994, Minnesota authorized Xcel Energy to store up to 17 casks of nuclear
 waste adjacent to the reservation.
     The Prairie Island Indian Community is a federally recognized Indian
 Nation, located 50 minutes southeast of Minneapolis/St. Paul along the
 Mississippi River.
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SOURCE Prairie Island Indian Community