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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Prairie Island seeks nuclear wast disposal

From the web edition of Indian Country Today.

Prairie Island seeks nuclear waste disposal
Posted: March 07, 2006
by: David Melmer / Indian Country Today

WELCH, Minn. - The Prairie Island Sioux Community continues its search for a location to dump nuclear waste that sits in dry casks just yards from the community.

Since 1994, when the casks were first placed on a dock at the Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant (then owned by Northern States Power Co.), the community has objected, gone to court and eventually worked out compromises with the state Legislature and NSP. Yet the dry casks remain, unwelcome and a threat to thousands of lives.

The Prairie Island tribal council has visited the Yucca Mountain facility before, but recently revisited it for the second time in four years to see what progress has been made. The on-again, off-again site that is under construction to house all of the nation's nuclear waste will take more years to complete than the Prairie Island people anticipated. Tribal council members told Indian Country Today that the facility may not be complete until 2025. (The site was originally slated for completion in 2010; later, 2015.)

The site's opening has been delayed because of federal budget cuts and litigation over environmental issues. The Yucca Mountain site is also strongly opposed by some Western Shoshone who call it a human rights violation and have appealed to the United Nations for intervention.

The Prairie Island Sioux Community will continue to fight to remove the nuclear waste, even through numerous setbacks, said Victoria Winfrey, tribal vice president.

''Native land could be permanently marred by the nation's failed waste policy,'' she said.
Full article

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