Milton R. Young Station

The Milton R. Young Station is a coal-fired electric generating plant located near the town of Center, North Dakota. It consists of two generating units that together produce over 700 megawatts of power. The fuel used at the station is lignite coal mined at the adjacent BNI Coal Ltd. property.

The two units at the facility are commonly known as Young 1 and Young 2. Young 1 is both owned and operated by the Minnkota Power Cooperative and consists of a cyclone-fired boiler that drives a General Electric steam turbine generator. It became operational in 1970 and was joined by Young 2 in 1977. This second generating unit is also coal-fired and consists of a cyclone-type boiler as well, connected to a more powerful Westinghouse steam turbine. This second unit is owned by the Square Butte Electric Cooperative and is operated by Minnkota, which purchases the electricity generated and sends it mainly to various communities in Minnesota.

Recent legislation by the U.S. government has made it possible for settlements to be made by power companies that are not currently meeting maximum emissions standards. The Minnkota Power Cooperative and the Milton R. Young Station have been within these requirements as of late, after having to make changes to the construction of pollutant absorbers and scrubbers at the power station. Despite this, the Institute of Southern Studies ranked the Young Station as the 37th most polluting coal plant in the nation.

Asbestos has long been one of the most commonly used materials in power stations, shipyards, smelting operations and other industrial manufacturing businesses where exposure to high heat is normal. At power plants such as the Milton R. Young Station in North Dakota, asbestos may have been used as a wrap for pipes, mixed with paints and other chemicals to make coatings for wires, and was mixed with dry and wet components before being pressed into boards and tiles. Asbestos fibers are gathered from bauxite mines and are one of the least expensive materials available for use as a heat shield.

As buildings age, asbestos fibers escape from older walls, ceilings and protective clothing, and workers inhale the fibers over months or years.  Asbestosis and mesothelioma are two of the diseases caused by long-term asbestos exposure, and the symptoms of these illnesses often take decades to manifest. Although asbestos is now recognized as dangerous and is being removed from most facilities, past employees may have inhaled these fibers and not yet exhibited symptoms.