Senate votes to lift ban on nuclear power

Senate votes to lift ban on nuclear power

Image courtesy of mandj98 on Flickr
State legislators took steps yesterday to lift a 15-year ban on the development of nuclear power plants in Minnesota. Now it's up to the House to decide.

As the economy falters, everybody's looking to save a buck. Why not build another Chernobyl, right here in Minnesota? Minnesota already has two nuclear power plants -- in Red Wing and Monticello. Both are owned by Xcel Energy.

Sen. Steve Dille (R-Dassel) introduced the amendment to lift the ban, arguing that nuclear power is needed because it's cheap, according to the Star Tribune. Here's more from the Strib:

Those in favor of removing the moratorium said that Minnesota needs to be open to the possibility of new nuclear plants, especially since the alternative of coal-fired power produces carbon dioxide emissions that cause global warming.

Those against, of course, say this form of power puts people at risk. Nuclear energy is relatively cheap, and advocates say it can be safe. Nuclear folks are always talking about that, like on this Nuclear Energy Institute Web site.

And alternative energy can be expensive, as the Matthew Wald of the New York Times points out:

Windmills and solar panel arrays have become symbols of America's growing interest in alternative energy. Yet as Congress begins debating new rules to restrict carbon dioxide emissions and promote electricity produced from renewable sources, an underlying question is how much more Americans will be willing to pay to harness the wind and the sun.

Curbing carbon dioxide emissions -- a central part of tackling climate change -- will almost certainly raise electricity prices, experts say. And increasing the nation's reliance on renewable energy will in itself raise costs.

Just one more thing for the state -- and the nation -- to think about as it looks for ways to cut costs. For now at least, the Minnesota House is opposed. Last week, representatives rejected a a similar bill in the House.

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