NRC and Prairie Island Indian Community sign memorandum of understanding

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Prairie Island Indian Community (PIIC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) outlining the path forward to work together to review the potential environmental impacts of renewing the spent fuel storage facility license at the Prairie Island nuclear plant in Minnesota.

The plant is located near Red Wing, adjacent to the PIIC reservation.

The MOU describes the roles and responsibilities of both the NRC and the PIIC. The NRC will lead the environmental review and retains final authority over whether to renew the storage facility license. The Prairie Island Indian Community will be a cooperating agency throughout the environmental review process. The MOU recognizes the community’s special expertise and access to information regarding historic and archeological resources, socioeconomics, land use and environmental justice. The NRC will give extra weight to the community’s comments in those areas.

The agency will give the Prairie Island Indian Community copies of technical reports, data and other pertinent information, allowing tribal officials to share their special expertise on environmental issues of concern.

Mark Satorius, director of the NRC’s Office of Federal and State Materials and Environmental Management Programs, and PIIC Tribal Council President Johnny Johnson signed the MOU.

“This agreement is unique and marks a significant step in NRC’s effort to enhance government-to-government consultations with federally recognized Native American tribes,” Satorius said. “The MOU is an important tool to ensure efficient and effective communication between the NRC and the tribe during the environmental review.”