End the nuclear power moratorium

If the state can store waste safely, it should allow new nuclear plants.

Daily Editorial Board

The Minnesota state Senate voted last Thursday to remove MinnesotaâÄôs moratorium on nuclear power plant construction. This is a smart step forward for the state. It could lead to cheaper energy for Minnesotans and reduce the amount of carbon dioxide the stateâÄôs power plants emit.

While nuclear power is one alternative to fossil fuels among many that Minnesota should be pursuing, it is not without its dangers. The toxic waste that nuclear power produces is dangerous and difficult to store. Currently, the bill that the state Senate has passed has no provisions to deal with the waste.

The DFL tried to amend the legislation that the Senate passed to deal with the waste, but the amendment was defeated. Such a provision is absolutely necessary if the House is to pass the bill and if Gov. Mark Dayton is to sign it.

Nuclear power is not a catchall solution to dependence on fossil fuels, but it is a good start. It makes sense to give companies the ability to build nuclear power plants, even if the returns will not be apparent for many years. Most of the nationâÄôs energy plans in the last several decades have lacked foresight and long-term thinking, but opening the door to nuclear power could benefit Minnesota in the long run and wean the state off carbon-emitting fuels.

Provided the state Legislature can agree to some safe way to store the waste from nuclear power plants, lifting the moratorium on them is good for Minnesota. It will help keep the momentum of the alternative energy industry rolling, reduce carbon emissions and potentially lower the price of energy.