Prairie Island Indian Community Supports Yucca Mountain Recommendation
Tribe Urges President Bush and Congress to Authorize Facility and Begin
Removing Nuclear Waste From Near Its Reservation As Soon As Possible
PRAIRIE ISLAND, Minn., Jan. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- The Prairie Island Indian Community today declared its support for Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham's recommendation of Yucca Mountain as the permanent national repository for spent nuclear fuel. Prairie Island is the closest community in the nation to an existing, temporary nuclear waste storage site. "The Secretary's recommendation is an important step toward one day removing the nuclear waste from near our reservation and lessoning the nuclear threat to our community," said Prairie Island Tribal Council President Audrey Kohnen. "We hope President Bush and Congress agree with the Secretary's decision and allow the project to move forward quickly. "We also urge our Minnesota Congressional delegation to act in the best interest of our community and the state of Minnesota by supporting Yucca Mountain." Xcel Energy's nuclear waste storage site is located just 600 yards from the Prairie Island Indian Community. Adding to the tribe's concern, in the event of an accident, there is only one permanent evacuation route off Prairie Island, and it's frequently blocked by train activity and subject to flooding. The tribe has been fighting to have the nuclear waste removed from Prairie Island since 1994 when the state of Minnesota first allowed Xcel Energy to store the nuclear waste near its reservation. Officials from Prairie Island have visited Yucca Mountain on several occasions to learn about the facility and witness the work that is being done there to determine the site's suitability. "We recognize this is a very difficult issue and we respect the viewpoints of those who don't share our position on Yucca Mountain," said Kohnen. "We did not ask for a nuclear neighbor, and we know the people of Nevada have not asked for one either. But we believe that storing nuclear waste in a remote, militarily secure location, in a facility designed for permanent storage is a better solution than leaving it where it sits, virtually unguarded and only yards away from vulnerable communities such as ours." Currently, dry-cask storage units of nuclear waste sit just outside Prairie Island's reservation. Additional casks will be filled within the next few years for a total of 17. The tribe believes the recent acts of terrorism increase the need to remove the nuclear waste from Prairie Island. The nuclear waste storage casks on Prairie Island sit only yards away from the Mississippi River, on a flood plain. The tribe is concerned that an accident or an act of terrorism could potentially devastate its community and communities all along the Mississippi River, from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. If approved, Yucca Mountain isn't expected to open until 2012. The Prairie Island Indian Community is a federally recognized Indian Nation, located 50 minutes southeast of Minneapolis/St. Paul along the Mississippi River. MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT - Click Here http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X91862332
SOURCE Prairie Island Indian Community
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