RED WING, Minn., Feb. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- As "Super Tuesday" approaches,
an Indian tribe in Minnesota is urging voters to consider the candidates'
positions on solving the nation's nuclear waste disposal problem before
they cast their ballots. High-level, radioactive nuclear waste from the
nation's nuclear power plants is currently accumulating at 'temporary'
storage sites in 39 different states, including 18 of the 24 states holding
primaries or caucuses on Tuesday.
A number of presidential candidates have voiced their opposition to the
proposed national nuclear waste repository at Nevada's Yucca Mountain, but
offered no alternate to solve the nation's nuclear waste problem.
According to the Department of Energy, there are 125 temporary nuclear
waste storage sites throughout the United States, with more than 169
million Americans living within 75 miles of one of these temporary
facilities. Among the closest communities in the country to a temporary
nuclear waste site, the Prairie Island Indian Community is located just 600
yards from 24 large containment units of highly radioactive spent nuclear
"Developing a safe, permanent storage facility for spent nuclear fuel
is critical to the health and welfare of the millions of Americans who
currently live near temporary storage sites," said Prairie Island Tribal
Council President, Ron Johnson. "The federal government must fulfill its
obligation to the American people and solve this problem."
Twenty-five years after Congress passed the National Nuclear Waste
Storage Act and mandated the establishment of an underground repository,
the future of the nation's nuclear waste disposal program remains in doubt.
To date, more than $28 billion has been contributed by American ratepayers
to the national Nuclear Waste Fund without result.
"Leaving the nation's nuclear waste in temporary locations near
communities like ours is not an acceptable answer nor is it good
leadership," said Johnson. "This is a critical issue that the country's
next president must deal with -- we can't bury our heads in the sand, we
"Until or unless the federal government solves its nuclear waste
problem, it is simply irresponsible to allow the construction of new
nuclear power plants anywhere in the United States," added Johnson.
In January Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) introduced legislation that
would establish a phased licensing approach to the Yucca Mountain project.
The Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2008 would kick-start the
project, now nearly 20 years behind schedule, with provisions including the
submittal of the license application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission
by June 30, 2008.
States Currently Housing Nuclear Waste
Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida,
Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine,
Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri,
Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina,
Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas,
Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin
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