Minnesota Historical Society M-Flame Logo

Home / Library / History Topics / Nuclear Power Protests



Nuclear Power Plant Protests

Prarie Island Nuclear Generating Plant. Location no. MG6.3 p26Since the 1970s, activists in Minnesota have been protesting against the three nuclear reactors operated by NSP/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.


  • "Good Nukes, Almost Good Enough," written and documented by Shean Bjoralt, George Crocker, Bruce Drew; directed by George Crocker; produced by Kevin Petajan.
    Lake Elmo, Minn.: Prairie Island Coalition, c1998.
    This video questions the safety of nuclear power plants such as the Prairie Island reactors and nuclear waste storage facility in Minnesota. It focuses on five problems created by society's dependence on nuclear energy: broken reactor components, routine nuclear emissions, no safe way to manage nuclear waste, nuclear racism, and bad nuclear economics.
    MHS call number: Videotape no. 767 (in the AV Collection; 1 videocassette).
  • Nuclear Power and The Public, edited by Harry Foreman.
    Minneapolis, Minn.: University of Minnesota Press, c1970.
    MHS Call number: TK 1078 .N83.
  • Nuclear Power in Minnesota: The Illusory Bargain, by Jane Chinowsky and Tim Niles.
    Minneapolis, Minn.: Minnesota Public Interest Research Group, 1976.
    MHS call Number: TK 1344 .M6 C4.


  • Coalition to Advocate Public Utility Responsibility Records.
    This archival collection (1970-1977) consists of historical information; correspondence; proxy information, depositions, and other legal papers; and newspaper clippings compiled by Alpha Smaby and documenting her efforts to secure election on behalf of the coalition (CAPUR) to the board of directors of the Northern States Power Company (NSP). Other newspaper clippings (1970-1972) relate to NSP's construction of nuclear power plants in Monticello and Henderson.
    MHS call number: P1742; see the green Manuscripts Notebooks for a detailed list of boxes and locator numbers (there are 2 boxes of material).
  • Joyce M. Brady Papers.
    This archival collection documents her involvement with nuclear power opposition groups and other activist organizations.
    MHS call number: Alpha; see the green Manuscripts Notebooks—filed alphabetically under Brady, Joyce M.—for more details (there is only 1 box of material).
  • 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. There is information on the construction and operation of nuclear plants at Becker, Henderson, and Prairie Island in Minnesota and in Tyrone, Wisconsin, and of a coal storage facility at Pig's Eye Island, St. Paul. The stories detail opposition to the plants, their construction, and give considerable information on various aspects of nuclear energy including pollution, waste storage, and human cost as opposed to economic gain. There is also information on natural gas, solar energy, utility rates, and the effects of nuclear plants on rural life.
    MHS call number: See the green Manuscripts Alpha Notebooks—filed alphabetically under Meter, Kenneth—for more details (there is only 1 box of material).
  • Minnesota Committee for Environmental Information Organization Records.
    This archival collection (1968-1975) consists of minutes of directors' and annual meetings, financial and membership files, correspondence and memoranda, and printed materials documenting the activities of a voluntary organization formed in 1968 to collect and disseminate data on environmental concerns. Minutes and subject files reveal the scope of the Committee's environmental concerns in Minnesota and nationwide. There is information on nuclear power and the environment, water and air pollution, radioactive wastes, lead poisoning, nuclear and other contamination of the St. Croix and Mississippi rivers and of Lake Superior. The records also document the Committee's close association with several government agencies: Minnesota State Planning Agency, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, and the Minnesota-Wisconsin Boundary Area Commission.
    MHS call number: P1718; see the green Manuscripts Notebooks for a detailed list of boxes and locator numbers (there are 6 boxes of material, but not all relate to this topic).
  • Minnesota Environmental Control Citizens Association Newsletters.
    Newsletters and membership appeals (1969-1974) of this environmental citizens' action group, also known as MECCA, organized in St. Paul in 1968. Its activities include research and evaluation of pollution problems, legislative lobbying, publicity and educational programs, and monitoring meetings and hearings on environmental issues.
    MHS call number: M244; see the green Manuscripts Notebooks for more details (there is 1 reel of microfilm).
    Microfilm may be borrowed on Interlibrary Loan.
  • Prairie Island Coalition Against Nuclear Storage Newsletters.
    The newsletter title varies over time (1990s).
    MHS call number: Microfilm no. 2065.
    Microfilm may be borrowed on Interlibrary Loan.
  • Newspapers that may be useful for this topic:
    • Minneapolis Star-Tribune (an index for articles published after 1970 is located in the Hubbs Microfilm Room)
    • St. Paul Pioneer Press Dispatch (an index for articles published in 1967 or after is located in the Hubbs Microfilm Room)
  • Visual Resources Database subjects that may be useful for this topic:
  • Check the library catalog for other materials.