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Appeals Court upholds Xcel expansion

The Minnesota Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld Xcel Energy's request to expand operations at the Prairie Island nuclear plant, dismissing objections raised by the Prairie Island Indian Community.

The court's finding supports the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission's decision to approve Xcel's request.

Late last year, the PUC found Xcel had adequately demonstrated there was a need for the expansion. It will allow the company to increase the plant's electrical generating capacity by an additional 164 megawatts and to add 35 dry casks, to be used for the storage of nuclear waste.

A spokesperson for the Prairie Island Indian Community did not immediately respond to a call placed by the R-E.

Attorneys for the Prairie Island Indian Community have argued, among others points of contention, that the expansion poses safety and environmental concerns for the surrounding community.