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Xcel's Nuclear Waste

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Looks like Xcel will have to ask the Minnesota Legislature for permission to expand its temporary nuclear waste storage at its Monticello facility.

The Pioneer Press is reporting that Xcel's plans for temporary storage in Utah may fall apart.

The Interior Department last week rejected a lease Xcel and other utilities had signed with the Skull Valley Band of Goshutes to store waste on its reservation. It's still unclear whether an appeal will be filed, but Xcel said Wednesday it would not help pay for one.

The lease would have allowed Minneapolis-based Xcel and seven other utilities to ship up to 44,000 tons of nuclear waste to Goshute land southwest of Salt Lake City, where it would be stored for up to 50 years or until a permanent federal repository is available, either at Yucca Mountain in Nevada or elsewhere.

Xcel operates 2 nuclear power plants in Minnesota. When it needed increased storage capacity at Prairie Island recently, the legislature granted it in return for increased investments in renewable energy.

This will likely provide another opportunity to force Xcel to further increase those investments. I hope they word the legislation more clearly though in order to ensure Xcel is not able to weasel out of the intended commitments.