|CLEAN, AFFORDABLE AND RELIABLE ENERGY FOR MINNESOTA’S FUTURE|
(St. Paul) After 17 years of exclusion, nuclear energy will be considered as an option upon the step taken by the Senate Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications Committee today. The committee voted to pass Senate File 4, which will enable a discussion on the future of nuclear energy in Minnesota. “This is a great stride forward for citizens, business owners and job creators,” said the bill’s chief author, Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch (R- Buffalo).
"It is time to allow clean, affordable and reliable new nuclear power plants to be considered when we look at how Minnesota's future energy needs will be met," Senator Koch told the committee Thursday. “To be clear: Deciding to repeal the prohibition is not a decision to construct a new nuclear power plant in Minnesota. Lifting the ban would, however, allow our electricity providers and our utilities commission to consider all options.”
Senator Koch added: “Lifting the nuclear moratorium isn’t the end answer to Minnesota’s energy future, but it would add to the growing number of options we can consider as part of a comprehensive energy policy. Entrepreneurs seeking to invest, expand, or start a business in Minnesota need to be assured of our state’s ability to deliver base load power.”
State law currently prohibits the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission from approving a Certificate of Need for constructing a new nuclear power plant. The bill passed the Minnesota Senate with solid bipartisan support in 2009, and the issue of nuclear power has growing support from both major parties in Congress and the Obama administration.
Among those who testified with Senator Koch in favor of the bill this week were from the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, business groups involved in the nuclear energy industry and a variety of building trade representatives.
A new nuclear facility would also mean jobs: 700 permanent jobs that pay about a third more than average. Plus, it would create a substantial number of construction jobs and a significant number of positions of support to provide goods and services to that workforce, Koch added.