DFL Congressman Tim Walz and GOP Congressman Erik Paulsen sent Gov. Mark Dayton a letter today urging him to sign a bill that would repeal the state's ban on building new nuclear plants. In the letter, the two congressman argue that nuclear power needs to be part of the state's energy future.
The letter cites a survey saying that 70 percent of Americans favor nuclear energy and on average a nuclear plant created 1,400 to 1,800 high-paying jobs during construction and 400 to 700 jobs once the plant is in operation. It also states that Minnesota's two nuclear plant helped the state avoid releasing 13 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.
"Repealing this antiquated public policy would allow the state to consider a range of factors in reaching decisions on building new nuclear plants, such as used nuclear fuel management and the financial impact on ratepayers," the letter states.
Walz and Paulsen also argue that scrapping the ban would help bring attention to the nuclear waste issue and allow for a "robust debate." Click here to Download Paulsen-Walz Letter to Dayton
Dayton has said he will only support lifting the ban if it will not create additional nuclear waste, includes protections for ratepayers and prohibits reprocessing the spent nuclear fuel to make weapons-grade plutonium.
Both the House and Senate approved bills lifting the ban. A conference committee is working to hash out the differences between the two bills. The measure would then come back for a final vote before the House and Senate before heading to Dayton's desk.