Minnesota Edges Closer to Ending Moratorium on Nuclear Power

Published July 1, 2009

The Minnesota Senate gave bipartisan approval to a bill that would lift a 15-year-old ban on the construction of new nuclear power plants in the state.

The bill was narrowly defeated, 70-62, in the House, but the result marked strong progress in a longstanding effort to return nuclear power to Minnesota’s energy portfolio.

State Sen. Mike Jungbauer (R-East Bethel), one of the original proponents of the provision, praised the Senate for acting.

“I was pleased to see so many of my fellow senators on the other side of the aisle support this amendment,” Jungbauer said. “Now we can move forward and have a real discussion about the future of nuclear power in this state.”

No Carbon Emissions

Jungbauer first introduced legislation two years ago to lift the ban. He said the strong support for the measure in the Democrat-controlled Senate showed his colleagues recognize the excellent safety record of nuclear power. In addition, he noted, nuclear power is absolutely necessary for the state to meet its carbon dioxide emission reduction goals in a relatively affordable manner.

“If we are insistent on reducing our carbon footprint, nuclear power has to be part of the equation. After all, it has zero carbon emissions,” Jungbauer said.

Jungbauer added, “The federal government has secured the funding and promised us that [the] Yucca Mountain [nuclear waste depository in Nevada] will come on line. We need to hold our federal officials to that commitment. In addition, the reprocessing of spent fuel rods as well as the use of third-generation, advanced nuclear power reactors will help shed the Three Mile Island mentality that so many people still have.”

Penny Rodriguez ([email protected]) writes from Parrish, Florida.