The Minnesota House of Representatives on Thursday refused to lift a moratorium on construction of nuclear power plants that has been in place since 1994.
The issue remains alive in the Legislature, though, because the Minnesota Senate voted earlier to lift the ban.
Supporters argue that nuclear power has become safer and that more types of energy production are needed to meet increased needs, especially from sources, like nuclear, that do not contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. Opponents worry that there is no method in place for disposal of nuclear waste. The moratorium has been in place since 1994 when legislators were promised that a permanent national burial site for nuclear wastes was just around the corner, but the issue is still far from being resolved.
The House vote on an amendment to lift the ban was 60-72.
"It is disappointing that government continues to stand in the way of even considering an expansion of nuclear energy. By voting to keep the prohibition, the House failed to stand on the side of common sense," said Rep. Joyce Peppin, R-Rogers, who has long advocated for lifting the moratorium.
Besides its plant in Monticello, Xcel Energy owns and operates Prairie Island in Red Wing, the state's only other nuclear plant.
The utility is working to extend the federal licenses and increase the power produced by both plants, but it has no plans for any additional nuclear facilities.
Mark Brunswick • 651-222-1636