This morning was a quick Public Utilities Commission rubber stamp of Xcel Energy’s application for additional casks at Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant, declaring the application “complete.” It’s being forwarded to Office of Administrative Hearings for a contested case hearing. The Prehearing Conference is already scheduled for May 13!

Meanwhile, notice is out for the EIS Scoping “Meeting” NEXT WEEK, April 24th & 25th!

Here are all the documents that go with it, lots of busy work for the next 6 days. The most important one is the Scoping Environmental Assessment Worksheet:

What strikes me about this, well, two things, one, that this application is NOW when they don’t “need” additional storage until 2033; and two, that if the Public Utilities Commission grants this Certificate of Need, we’re locked in until 2053-2054, with all the waste that will be generated through that time, and all the waste from decommissioning, which includes what’s in the reactors at that time, AND all the associated radioactive stuff, and there’s a lot of that. Where will that go? And when? I think the term now, rather than “temporary,” is indeterminate. And not only the waste, but there’s also the cost… in additional to costs of the casks and maintenance, because there are also casks that need to be “replaced,” and where and what that will entail, and again, that radioactive junkyard.

Oh, what a mess. And in addition to that, the timing problem looms large, because things CHANGE. For example, Xcel alludes to planning/hoping to “move” nuclear waste to an “interim” storage facility in either Texas or New Mexico, ones that could/would accept the type of casks they’re using. But things change… a while ago, the one in Texas was found unconstitutional:

Federal appeals court blocks plan to ship nuclear waste to West Texas

From the article:

That decision in August 2023 effectively killed the proposal by Interim Storage Partners to house used nuclear fuel from power plants across the U.S. at the existing Andrews County waste facility, on the Texas-New Mexico border.

West Texas nuclear waste plan remains blocked after federal appeals court ruling

… federal appeals court “killed the proposal,” and so much for that, which leaves New Mexico:

Law to ban high-level nuclear waste storage facility effective June

That law is Senate Bill 53. And just last month:

Court blocks proposed Holtec International nuclear waste site in New Mexico

From the article:

The ISP license was vacated in August 2023 by Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Louisiana which on March 27 found Holtec’s license was “materially identical” and should also be vacated for the same reasons. In both cases, the court found the NRC “lacked statutory authority” to issue the licenses under the Atomic Energy Act.

So now what? Is Xcel’s reliance on “interim” storage realistic? With “interim storage” in flux, is it reasonable, rational, to move forward with additional storage of nuclear waste that will sit at Prairie Island forever?!?! Particularly where they don’t need it until 2033? Makes no sense to me!

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