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Nuclear Power Plants: Development & Controversy: Overview

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Minnesota. Attorney General. Energy Division: Administrative hearings files, 1980-1981.
Pleadings, correspondence, interrogatories, and testimony concerning Northern States Power Company’s certificate of need application to increase the storage capacity of the spent fuel pool at Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Facility.
MNHS call number: See the finding aid in the library (Attorney General: Energy Division). 
Minnesota Attorney General Environmental Protection Division: Nuclear Waste Disposal and Regulation Files, 1969-1987.
Subject files and publications dealing with nuclear waste disposal and regulation in Minnesota, particularly the Prairie Island and Monticello nuclear reactors. 
MNHS call numberDigital Finding Aid

Prairie Island Coalition Against Nuclear Storage Newsletters.
The newsletter title varies over time (1990s).
MNHS call number: Microfilm 2065

Pamphlets Relating to Nuclear Power Plants in Minnesota
Contains pamphlets and printed ephemera relating to the use of nuclear power to generate electricity, particularly Northern States Power Company’s nuclear generating plants at Monticello and Prairie Island, radioactive waste disposal, and safety measures and training.
MNHS call number: TK1344
Newspaper Clippings Regarding Northern States Power Company, 1970-1974, collected by Kenneth Meter.
Photocopied clippings from Minnesota and national sources regarding nuclear power activities and opposition. 
MNHS call number: See the finding aid in the library  (Meter, Kenneth).


Nuclear Power has been a controversial issue in Minnesota since the 1960s when building began on the Northern States Power (NSP) Monticello and Prairie Island nuclear power plants.  

Since the early 1970s, activists in Minnesota have been protesting against the nuclear reactors operated by NSP (now Xcel Energy). While energy industry representatives say that nuclear power is a safe and economical alternative to coal, environmental activists counter that nuclear plants are prone to technological failures, that they are disproportionately located on Indian reservations or in minority communities, and that long-term storage of nuclear waste affects nearby communities in the form of higher cancer rates.

The issue was brought to the public's attention again in 1991 when NSP applied to increase the amount of spent fuel storage space at the Prairie Island site.  Many activists fought against the additional storage stating that it would damage the environment and ecosystem of the Mississippi River.  

In 1994 the Minnesota Legislature enacted a moratorium on new power plants. The issue of nuclear power is an example of the conflict between meeting the energy needs of the ever growing Twin Cities and protecting the environment for future generations. 

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